By Tony Attwood
So, the series on Arsenal in the 70s is ended. But what happened in the 70s overall?
In the 1970s thus Arsenal achieved one championship, two FA Cup wins and a Fairs cup win.
I stated that in my view that at the end of the decade Arsenal needed to replace Brady and find another striker to supplement the work of Sunderland and Stapleton. In fact what happened was that Sammy Nelson who had played 35 league games was replaced by Kenny Sansom. Sansom played 42 league games in 1980/1, and Nelson 1.
On the goal scoring front Stapleton remained top scorer but only with 14. Second highest scorers in the league were Sunderland and Talbot each with 7.
Stapleton lasted one more season, and by 1981/2 was gone leaving Sunderland with 11 goals as the top scorer.
Arsenal ended 1980/1 season in third, seven points behind the winners, Aston Villa. Arsenal won 19 and drew 15 games – changing some of those draws into wins could have given Villa quite a run for their money. Either a new Brady or another centre forward could have done that.
For myself, although there was no doubt that Kenny Sansom was a wonderful footballer, that was not where our greatest need was. Nelson was not an all time superstar, but there were still two other positions that needed sorting: in the creative midfield department, and at centre forward. I don’t believe Nelson would have let us down.
Looking ahead to the 1980s Arsenal achieved this:
- League: One championship, third once, fourth twice. Lowest position 10th..
- FA Cup: One semi-final
- League Cup: One win, one semi-final, one runner up.
- Europe: Uefa Cup twice (once 1st round, once 2nd).
Adding it all together across the two decades of the 70s and 80s our trophies were:
- League: winners twice
- FA Cup: winners twice
- League Cup: winners once
- Fairs Cup: winners once.
That is six trophies across two decades.
Our lowest position was 17th in the league, out of the FA Cup in the third round five times, out of the league cup in the second round three times – in succession. The gap between the two league wins was 18 years.
The greatest victories across the whole era were (in my opinion)
- 1970: The Fairs Cup win across two legs.
- 1978: Tottenham 0 Arsenal 5
- 1989: Liverpool 0 Arsenal 2
Now having completed what turned out to be a mammoth task I want to go back and add just one article – a look back at the 60s and forwards to the 70s, and then I think I’ll give doing a whole sequence of articles on an era a rest at least until I’ve revised the whole 70s sequence and turned it into a book. It’s a bit harder than it probably looks.
We already have the 60s covered with John Sowman’s stunning volume “The Long Sleep” which is available both on Kindle and in printed form. Here are the details…
Arsenal: the long sleep 1953 – 1970; a view from the terrace.
By John Sowman with an introduction by Bob Wilson
Arsenal: The Long Sleep is the definitive detailed account of the seventeen seasons immediately after the record seventh Football League championship win in 1953.
There are full details of this volume, which is available worldwide as a paperback, and via Amazon on Kindle on the Arsenal Books page where there is also a link to sample pages from the book, and details of the other Arsenal books that we have published.
- Arsenal in the 70s part 1: the re-birth of the club. 1969/70
- Arsenal in the 70s part 2: preparing for the impossible. July to December 1970
- Arsenal in the 70s part 3: The Golden Treble
- Arsenal in the 70s part 4: What went so right in 1971, and why did it go wrong?
- Arsenal in the 70s part 5: After the double, double doubts.
- Arsenal in the 70s part 6: The winter of blossoming hope. Nov 71 to Jan 72.
- Arsenal in the 70s part 7: Revival and defeat. Feb 72 to June 72
- Arsenal in the 70s part 8: The lessons learned and the lessons ignored. 1967/73
- Arsenal in the 70s part 9: July to Dec 1972. Indiscipline and invasions.
- Arsenal in the 70s part 10: Being screwed by the league and the prelude to decline
- Arsenal in the 70s part 11: July to Dec 73, the world falls apart and Arsenal sinks.
- Arsenal in the 70s part 12: Jan to June 74. Farewell Bob, hello Liam.
- Arsenal in the 70s part 13: July to Dec 74. Flirting with relegation.
- Arsenal in the 70s part 14: Jan to June 1975 – trying to send Tottenham down
- Arsenal in the 70s part 15. When we thought it couldn’t get worse. July-Dec 1975
- Arsenal in the 70s part 16. Jan to June 1976: the end of Mee
- Arsenal in the 70s part 17: The summer of 76. New manager. New superstar.
- Arsenal in the 70s part 18: July to Dec 1976. Neill takes control
- Arsenal in the 70s part 19: Jan to June 77. Arsenal’s worst run. Jimmy Hill stoops.
- Arsenal in the 70s part 20: July to Dec 77. Signs of recovery.
- Arsenal in the 70s part 21: Jan to June 78. A cup final.
- Arsenal in the 70s part 22: Life without Macdonald.
- Arsenal in the 70s part 23. At last another trophy. Jan to June 1979
- Arsenal in the 70s part 24: July to Dec 1979. One pace on, one back.
- Arsenal in the 70s part 25: Jan to June 1980. Farewell Liam Brady.
If you have found anything in the series helpful, or at least interesting, thanks for reading.