I must preface this article by saying there is no serious element in it at all, other than a pretty cool lesson in modern era Arsenal history and a saunter down Gooner memory lane. This idea first surfaced back in January but in those days I did not have my own blog. I must credit four Gooners, most of you will know on Twitter for this ridiculous idea for more of my ramblings. John Pickford (@TheN5er), Phil Wall (@AngryofN5) and @yogis_warrior for planting the seed that became this blog with a difference, and Andy Wood, (@yorkshiregunner) for suggesting a fresh re-write had merit.What began with a simple question posed by John, who won the league the year you were born and progressed into what was number one in the charts, gave me the idea for this musical journey through my lifetime so far as a supporter of this great club.
So the following charts my lifetime as a Gunner, from my first match to the present day, by matching the highs and the lows with who was topping the UK Top 40. I am personally disappointed that there are not too many personal favourites or classics in there for my tastes, but then we are all different and you may relate to some tracks or artists more than me. We all have songs that signify moments in our life – first girl or boyfriends, marriages, divorces, babies, so here it is, the highs and lows of my Gooner life in UK to 40 number ones.
06/11/1976 – HIGH
First match for 10 year old Dave was at home to Birmingham. A new era at Highbury and the first season without the double winning Bertie Mee. Terry Neill in charge and a club record signingMalcolm Macdonald leading our attack (£333,000, yes a British record in 76) and we won 4-0. Number one was ‘Mississippi’ by Pussycat (I know me neither!)
OMG how old am I?
06/05/1978 – LOW
Arsenal contrive to lose the FA Cup Final, largely in my view to our star man and my hero, Liam Brady, not being fully fit, to the underdogs Ipswich Town 1-0. We can stay upbeat and boogie as ‘Saturday Night Fever’ by the Bee Gees grips the nation.
12/05/1979 – HIGH
The most memorable FA cup Final for years as Alan Sunderland pops up at the far post to turn in Rixy’s cross as we beat Man U 3-2 in the final minute having thrown away a two goal lead. A bright day for Arsenal and ‘Bright Eyes’ by Art Garfunkel, sound track to film Watership Down tops the hit parade.
10/05/1980 – LOW
We somehow manage to lose to a Trevor Brooking header as he stumlbed to tie his shoes laces, the Hammers were in the division below. Consolation was that ‘Geno’ by Dexy’s Midnight Runners, an all time classic, was no.1.
14/05/1980 – LOWER
Cup Winners Cup final to Valencia – lost on penalties after a drab 0-0. Graham Rix and Brady in his last game for the club missed spot kicks and I cried in my living room. Even more depressingly but appropriately given the title was that Irish Crooner Johnny Logan had won Eurovision and kicked Dexy’s off top spot with ‘What’s Another Year?’.
05/04/1987 – MASSIVE HIGH
After 7 years, and you think we have problems now, the wait for the next trophy is over as we defeat Liverpool 2-1 at Wembley in the Littlewoods Cup Final. Remembered as the Charles Nicholas final, as he scored both, but also as it was the first time ever that Ian Rush had scored first for the scousers and they had not gone on to win the match over a more than 6 year period since his debut. I also started going out with my wife the night before I went to Wembley, so a good weekend. The no.1 was a charity single for the Ferry disaster in which many lost their lives. A cover of ‘Let It Be’ by Ferry Aid, a group of top artists.
24/04/1988 – LOW
We return to Wembley the following year to what should have been an easy win in the same final. 2-1 up against Luton, miss a penalty and go on to lose 3-2. I cried on the terraces and think of this as the Gus Caesar final (he makes Djourou look like Beckenbauer) . Theme from ‘S’Express’ by S’Express sat on top of the charts
26/05/1989 – UNPRECEDENTED HIGH
You all know the date. Yes it is my wedding anniversary. We should have walked the league, nearly threw it away and then had to win by two clear goals at Anfield, live on TV, on a Friday night. Thanks to Smudger Smith and Mickey Thomas, history was made. An achievement slightly overshadowed by the shocking events at Hillsborough. And this explains the No.1 – ‘Ferry Cross the Mersey’ sung by Holly Johnson, Paul McCartney and Gerry Marsden to raise money for the victim’s families.
All fans thoughts with victims families always
14/04/91 – BIG LOW
Defeat to the old enemy in the FA CUP Semi Final at Wembley courtesy of Gazza, blows Graham’s shot at the double he achieved as a player. ‘The One and Only’ by Chesney Hawkes. How fitting, a one hit wonder for the one title wonders, even if that one title is not in this Gooner’s living memory!
06/05/91 – HIGH
Liverpool deny us the chance to play and win title by losing to Forest. I went to the party atmosphere last game when we hit six past Coventry. We only lost one match and only because our skipper Adams was in prison and Steve Bould was injured in the first half at Stamford Bridge. Probably the most under rated Arsenal side and in my view matched only by the 2002-04 team. Number one was Cher with ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’ from Mermaids. Nothing to add!
04/04/93 – BIG HIGH
A repeat of ’91 FA Cup Semi with the right result. The Donkey won the Derby. A far post header by Adams secured a final place and we were already in League Cup final. An all time classic by the Bluebells, ‘Young At Heart’, re-released from VW TV ad was topping chart.
18/04/93 – HIGH
For me this was the ‘Magic Man Merson final. A Man of the match display, and a 25-yard ‘worldie’ as he would now call it on Sky, against Sheffield Weds in the League Cup Final. Merson gave us the drinking celebration and Stevie Morrow scored winner and promptly fell off Adams shoulders in post match celebrations and broke his own shoulder. My second trip to Wembley in two weeks and ‘Young At Heart’ still at no.1. I do like the Bluebells.
20/05/93 – LOW TURNING INTO HIGH
The first FA Cup final was so poor it gets no entry. We were bad, Sheffield Weds AGAIN were worse and both teams cancelled each other out. The replay was not much better and Andy Linighan went from squad player to hero, heading in at the end of extra-time. The two cup double had never been done before and ‘All That She Wants’ by Ace of Bass is our chart topper.
04/05/94 – HUGE HIGH
An average team without Ian Wright suspended and a three man central midfield of Paul Davis, Steve Morrow and Ian Selley somehow kept out Asprilla, Brolin and Zola, whilst Smudger scored a pearler. In short it was tactical brilliance by George Graham, who that night invented the holding midfielder. Beautiful Copenhagen and Arsenal were Cup Winners Cup winners against all the odds. I don’t even remember this but ‘The Real Thing’ by Toni di Bart was no.1.
21/02/95 – DEPRESSING LOW
George Graham was sacked, allegedly for taking bungs in transfer dealings. He should have listened to Celine Dion who was at no.1 and telling us to ‘Think Twice’.
10/05/95 – BIGGEST LOW
The same competition and same average team papering over the cracks but astonishingly we reached the final, only to be beaten by an ex-Spurs player lobbing Seaman from the half-way line in injury time. The no.1 was‘Dreamer’ by Living Joy. We were still dreaming and Spurs living the joy. A bad day in a bad year.
03/05/98 – FIRST OF MANY WENGER HIGHS
Arsenal secured their first title in 7 years with a 4-0 victory over Everton. Aare Tony Adams volley capped the day and his celebration is now enshrined in bronze. The good times returned after four bleak years, courtesy of a George Graham back line and an Arsene Wenger inspired midfield and attack. The All Saints were riding high in hit parade with ‘Under the Bridge/Lady Marmalade’.
16/05/98 – HIGH GETS HIGHER
Arsenal secure League and FA Cup double with a Ray Parlour inspired win over Newcastle. Goals came from Marc Overmars and Nicolas Anelka. Dennis Bergkamp injured and still no return for Wrighty in his record breaking season. Christopher Wreh starts the match and sadly Wenger did not use Ian Wright even when the game was won. Also it was the last commentary of the late great Brian Moore, who had uttered the immortal words ‘It’s up for grabs now’ in ’89. ‘Turn Back Time’ by Aqua was no.1.
17/05/2000 –BIG LOW
Knocked out of the Champions League only to then make final of UEFA Cup and lose to Galatasaray on penalties. My most vivid memory was that if Manu Petit had performed in midfield we would have won, but sadly he did not and left in the summer. ‘Don’t Call Me Baby’ by Madison Avenue, was the tune for our failure.
12/05/2001 – SURPRISING LOW
Lost the FA Cup final having dominated the whole game, took the lead with Freddie goal, not given a penalty for a blatant Henchoz handball. Eventually we lost to two classic counter attacking Michael Owen goals. Sucker punch and a new slimmed down non Spice Girl Geri Halliwell with ‘It’s Raining Men’ topped the charts.
04/05/2002 – CLASSIC HIGH
Back in Cardiff a year later and this time victorious with a 2-0 win over Chelsea in the ‘It’s only Ray Parlour’ final. Tim Lovejoy of Soccer AM’s famous quote as Razor picked the ball up outside the area only to curl a classic into the top corner. ‘Freak Like Me’ by the Sugarbabes topped the charts.
08/05/2002 – ULTIMATE HIGH
A wonderful night sees the Gunners win the league with a game to spare beating their rivals on their own patch. Sylvain Wiltord shoots his was into Arsenal folklore. ‘We win the league in Manchester’ I wish it were a classic atop the hit parade but it was ‘Kiss Kiss’ by Holly Valance. She’s more famous now for the Fosters ad and Strictly Come Dancing.
17/05/2003 – HIGH
I enjoyed this one as I stayed overnight in Cardiff after the match. Our third FA Cup Final in three years and a 1-0 win over the Saints thanks for Bobby Pires, Superb for Robert as he had missed the 02 final through injury. For R.Kelly fans ‘Ignition Remix’ was no.1.
25/04/2004 and 15/05/2004 – HIGHER THAN HIGH
Arsenal secure the league title at White Hart Lane with a 2-2 draw, having lead 2-0 and three weeks later finished the season off at home to Leicester with a 2-1 win to go a whole season undefeated. For me the team was more fluent in 2002, but the ‘Invincibles’ will be the team to go down in history. Depressingly across both dates ‘F**k I Don’t Want You Back’ by Eamon stayed at no.1. No I have no recollection of it either, but if it stayed at the top for three Sundays so I guess lots of people appreciated it.
21/05/2005 – HIGH LOW
Our last trophy and whilst history will say we won the FA Cup I am almost ashamed of this one. With no ambition we defended for 120 minutes and barely mounted an attack. Not our finest hour, or 2, but it did not seem to matter at the time when our talismanic captain Patrick Vieira stroked home the decisive spot kick with his last kick for the Gunners. ‘Lonely’ by Akon was sitting pretty at no.1.
07/05/2006 – EMOTIONAL HIGH
Just under 30 years after my first visit to Highbury, ‘The Home of Football’ the visit of Wigan on the last day of the 2005/06 season was my last. I sat and cried in the North Bank where I had stood so often as a kid. Wonderful party after the game made better by the news that Spurs lost at West Ham and we had finished fourth. An appropriate and quality song ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls Barkley signalled our farewell to our spiritual home.
17/05/2006 – HIGH AND LOW
I was one of the lucky ones with my son who made it to the Stade de France for the Champions League Final against Barcelona. So close and yet so far! With eleven on the pitch we would have won and who knows what impetus that would have given our club. Amazing atmosphere, emotional night and devastating for Robert Pires to have to be taken off in his last game. Sorry Wenger it should have been Hleb. Still ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls at no.1.
25/02/2007 – LOW
The kids lost the Carling Cup final against Chelsea 2-1. Two consolations were Theo scoring his fist goal for the club and Diaby knocking out John Terry. ‘Ruby’ by the Kaiser Chiefs topped the charts.
27/02/2011 – ALL TIME LOW
We inexplicably managed to lose to Birmingham City at Wembley in the Carling Cup. Who knows what we might have achieved that season had we lifted the trophy, but losing Fabregas and Theo ahead of the match was crucial. Wenger picked Rosicky in Cesc’s role and left Nasri on the wing. Nasri failed to take top billing, failed to perform and never played well for us again in my book. I think Wenger made Nasri’s mind up, that his future lay elsewhere that day in February. Nice however to finish with a worthy no.1, Bruno Mars’ ‘Just the way you are’.
So that concludes my whistle stop tour through the highs and lows of my time as a Gooner and which well known, or not so well known, pop acts topped the charts to witness the successes and depressing failures.
I hope it brings back a few memories and apologies if I missed anything out. Oh and by the way ‘Paper back Writer’ by the Beatles was No 1 when I was born, so perhaps there is a book in me yet.
Oh and one more thing in case you were wondering
09/01/2012 – You had to be there.
Thierry Henry on his first appearance in his loan back comes on a scores the winner versus Leeds in FA Cup 3rd round and wait for it - Bruno Mars - ”Just The Way You Are (Amazing)” is at No.1, so very fitting.
Until next time thanks for reading.
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