As regular readers of this site will probably be aware, we’re filling the gaps between the end of last season and the start of next season with some great football videos from the past. This evening, we feature Arsenal. One of the great institutions of English football, Arsenal hold a record that will probably never be broken as members of the top division of English football, having been members of it since 1919, but they haven’t always been completely successful during this time.
The years from 1972 to 1989 were pretty barren for Arsenal in the league, but they still put in some great performances during this time and we’ve selected six matches (starting a year earlier, in 1971) from the Arsenal archive. Prior to 1971, it had been nineteen years since Arsenal last appeared at Wembley in an FA Cup Final – their two League Cup final appearances there in 1968 and 1969 against Leeds United are best not mentioned here – and in the semi-final of the 1970/71 FA Cup they played Stoke City at Hillsborough. We then skip almost six years to the end of 1976. Arsenal had spent a club record £330,000 on striker Malcolm McDonald from Newcastle United, and the television cameras were present to see his first match against his old club.
Next up is a match from the start of the following season against a Nottingham Forest team that would end the season as the champions of England, and this is followed up with a home match against West Bromwich Albion from the 1980/81 season. Listen out for the slightly unusual sound of Desmond Lynam commentating on that match for the BBC. Our fifth match is from 1985 and sees Arsenal travel to Stamford Bridge for a match on a pitch resembling a cabbage patch against a Chelsea side that had just returned to the First Division after several seasons away. Last but by no means least, we have a League Cup semi-final match from White Hart Lane in 1987 which saw Arsenal needing a win to book a place at Wembley for the first time in seven years. It’s a match that has long since passed into Arsenal folklore.
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