Arsenal in the 70s, part 3. The Golden Treble

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

By Tony Attwood

Thus Arsenal had finished 1970 in a solid position in the league, still in the Fairs Cup, and of course ready for the opening of another run at the FA Cup.

2 January 1971: Arsenal were to play Yeovil in Cup for first time in 3rd round, but the match was postponed.

6 January 1971: Yeovil 0 Arsenal 3.  FA Cup 3rd round in the first Double season.  The Yeovil chairman was reported in the papers saying, “McLintock’s too old and Wilson’s too slow” and predicted a 4-1 victory to Yeovil on a field that offered barely a blade of grass amidst the mud.  After the game Bob Wilson thanked the chairman for his comments saying it put him in just the right frame of mind for the event.  The Daily Express wrote about Arsenal “chasing the treble” but in reality it just felt good to have avoided a classic cup upset.  The Yeovil chairman retorted that it was just the fact that Arsenal used big forwards that made the difference, seeming to suggest that this was a somewhat underhand thing to do.

In the end it was a classic Arsenal victory: Radford, Kennedy, Radford got the goals.  Enough to get through but without exerting anyone too much.

And indeed Arsenal did go on  to win the treble – but not the treble the Express had in mind.

On 9 January 1971 it was back to the league with the 24th league game of the season.  The result, Arsenal 2 WHU 0.  Graham and Kennedy scored.  The win left Arsenal just one point behind Leeds and with a better goal average, having trailed Leeds in that department at the end of each month since the season started.  Better, Leeds lost 1-2 to Tottenham.  Rarely has a Tottenham victory felt so sweet.

But then came disaster on 16 January as Arsenal lost away to Huddersfield 2-1.   Going into the game Huddersfield were in 16th place in the league having lost two and drawn four of their last six games and with only four home wins out of 12 matches all season.  Indeed they had only averaged one goal a game at home through the season, and yet on this day, against Arsenal they doubled their normal scoreline.   Kennedy scored for Arsenal but it was Arsenal’s first defeat in 14 games.  It is extraordinary to think how different the routes of the two clubs have been since then.

Arsenal had a while to mull over the implications of that defeat as the next weekend was designated as the time for playing the games in the fourth round of the FA Cup.  Thus on 23 January 1971 the fourth round tie ended Portsmouth 1 Arsenal 1.  In a game that was given a five star rating by the press, this time the “blame” for Arsenal’s survival was placed on Bob Wilson as Portsmouth’s management subsequently expressed their hope that Wilson couldn’t possibly play at well again.  But the reality was that Arsenal dominated much of the game, Portsmouth cleared off the line twice and only came good towards the end.  

26 January 1971: The journey to the Double was held up by a waterlogged pitch for the 4th round cup replay against Portsmouth.

30 January 1971: The 26th league game ended Liverpool 2 Arsenal 0, making it one win in four for Arsenal.    The defeat left Arsenal five points behind Leeds as the 14 match unbeaten run following the 0-5 drubbing by Stoke already seemed a distant memory.  Even the fact that the self-same 14 match run included 11 wins seemed to be forgotten.  Tales of doom, talk of “bottling it” and “throwing it away” and a return to the notion that London clubs couldn’t hack it, dominated the press.

And in one sense they had some justification.  After all Arsenal had come 12th last season, been knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round and ditto for the League Cup.  OK we had just won our first European trophy, but that it was now decided, wasn’t a real trophy (seemingly because, at least in the mind of the popular press, these European competitions allowed foreign clubs to play, and as we all knew, foreigners didn’t really know how to play football.  Newcastle had won it the year before and they were now a run of the mill mid-table team.) A one trophy wonder who got lucky, that was Arsenal.

Liverpool scored in the 3rd minute of the first half and 5th minute of the second.  And that, according to those in the know, was that for another year.

Many of us in the south retained our hope but the undeniable fact was that on January 30, a defeat away to Liverpool it was, leaving the table looking like this…

Five points behind with two games in hand.

On 1 February the result was Arsenal 3 Portsmouth 2 in the FA Cup 4th round replay.  Portsmouth took an early lead, but then Charlie George scored his first goal since March the previous year by collecting the ball in his own half, running straight to the goal and shooting for 20 yards.  He was well and truly back.  Simpson added a second with a diagonal shot from an Armstrong corner, but it took a Storey penalty five minutes from time to round the evening off.  Except that it wasn’t quite the end.  George Ley hit Pat Rice in the 88th minute, Brian Bromley tried to hold his over-extended team mate back and was duly sent off for his pains by the ref!  Times don’t seem to change.

Next we had Arsenal 1 Manchester C 0 on 6 February.  After just one victory in the last four league games Arsenal returned to form in this, the 27th League match.  Radford got the goal as Leeds however lost 0-1 to Liverpool and so were having their own bad run just after Arsenal had had their’s.  Arsenal were now only 3 points behind Leeds with one game in hand but with a fractionally worse goal average.

After another week of bad weather and subsequent postponements, 17 February 1971 took us back to the FA Cup and second successive game playing Man City 1 Arsenal 2 this time in round 5.  Charlie George, having scored against Portsmouth now got both goals to take Arsenal forward.  Cue headlines of “Charlie is me darling” in the ever repetitive press.  

For the first goal, the City keeper Corrigan (for reasons that will not become clear at this point) decided to carry the ball about five yards outside his area.  Charlie scored from the free kick.  The second, five minutes after half time was described by the Daily Express as “one of the greatest goals scored at Maine Road for many a year”.  Armstrong passed, Charlie accelerated, the defence was left standing, and the ball was slotted past the keeper.

Next, on 20 February Arsenal beat Ipswich 3-2 in the league. George, Radford and McLintock scored.  39,822 came to the game, showing the uncertainty among supporters (who had perhaps been reading too many newspapers, or watching the still Liverpool and Leeds dominated Match of the Day) was still there.  But Arsenal had just won two league games in a row (albeit two league games at home), and so positive feelings ruled once more.  But then fate took another twist in league match 29…

27 February:  Derby 2 Arsenal 0.   Three defeats in the last five games once again cast major doubts over Arsenal’s attempt to win the league and gave the media lots to prattle about, with Arsenal now seven points behind Leeds, and a worse goal difference.  True there were two games in hand, but even winning those would still leave Arsenal only on 46 points.  Further slippage was needed by Leeds.

After 3 defeats in the previous 5, no one was quite sure what Arsenal would deliver in March, but a 0-3 away victory on 2 March to Wolverhampton in League match 30 made everyone think again.  And well they might have thought again for it turned out that this match was the first a run of nine consecutive wins, five of which were played without conceding a goal.

But before taking matters forward, there was the little detail of the FA Cup.  Arsenal had just been Wolverhampton 0-3 away, with Wolverhampton lying fourth in the first division.   And Leicester were a second division club, although one destined to win that division at the end of the season and gain promotion back to the first after two seasons out.

At the moment of this game they were third in the league, just one point away from the leaders, but with two wins, two draws and two defeats in the last six.  It was anticipated that they would attack Arsenal at Filbert Street, and then if they scored, try and hold onto the lead.

42,000 turned up on 6 March for the game, and not too much happened (except for one classic Wilson diving save at the feet of Fern in the 69th minute).   But then in the 88th minute Dick Glover saw the ball coming towards him, two yards out and with the goal beckoning.  He swung a boot – and missed the ball completely.  So as with Portsmouth in the previous round, a replay was needed, the game ending 0-0.

Normally at this time, replays were held within a matter of days.  Delays for the police to make the streets safe and check their diaries had not been invented, and few of the games were all ticket.  However on this occasion Arsenal now had the small matter of the Fairs Cup fourth round to consider and on 9 March  Arsenal beat FC Koln 2-1 in the first leg of the tie.  The crowd was 40,007. 

The following Saturday Arsenal were away to Crystal Palace – the team that had knocked Arsenal out of the League Cup earlier in the season.  But Crystal Palace after early promise now stood 14th in the table with four defeats in the last six, and here the form guide was accurate as it finished Crystal Palace 0 Arsenal 2.  Four wins in five restored the faith that this might just be Arsenal’s year, although Leeds remained six points ahead and Arsenal only have two games in hand.  Graham and Sammels got the goals.

Next it was back to the FA Cup as Arsenal saw off Leicester at Highbury 1-0.   “Wembley ahead by George” was a common headline, as in the games against Portsmouth and Man City in the cup, Charlie George scored.  Leicester attacked constantly, and Shilton in goal was at his best for the odd moments when Arsenal launched a counter, and indeed Leicester did get the ball in the net, only to be ruled offside.  The players protested long and hard – and perhaps used too much emotional energy on that protest, for after that Arsenal took control.   57,433 came to the game – the highest crowd of the season thus far.

20 March 1971: Arsenal 1 Blackpool 0.  Five wins in six gave Arsenal renewed hope of winning the league but with Leeds continuing to win there were also doubters. The crowd was a modest (given what was happening), 37,372.  

And the pressure was utterly unrelenting for three days later Arsenal were in West Germany where they were defeat 1-0 by FC Koln 1 Arsenal 0 in the Fairs Cup 4th round 2nd leg in front of 50,000 spectators.  The result left the score overall at 2-2, and Arsenal went out on the away goals rule.  Thus the holders were out, and Arsenal were left with just two competitions to fight for.  No more thoughts of the treble – at least for the moment.

Without a pause for breath Arsenal were back into the FA Cup, facing the one team that had humiliated Arsenal during this extraordinary season: Stoke City, and on 27 March Arsenal drew 2-2 at Hillsborough in the semi final against them.  Having drawn games in the 4th and 6th round Arsenal seemed to be working their way to the final the hard way,

And wouldn’t you know it.  Suddenly Charlie was not the flavour of the month any more accused by the media of being “extravagant” and “careless”.    As for the team, they were in “urgent need of raising their game” and were “desperately seeking striking power.”  Man of the Match was Storey who scored both, including a penalty in the dying seconds of the game, during the taking of which Bob Wilson went down on his hands and knees facing away from the goal, not bearing to look.

After the match Bertie Mee gave a rare insight into the dressing room atmosphere, revealing that during half time the players talked the game through saying “there was no reason to be beaten by two silly goals,” which Stoke had scored in the first half.  One was a crazy spinning rebound off Storey and the other was a poor back pass from Charlie George.

Such were the topics of the contemporary reports, but what most records of this remarkable season forget to mention at this point is that on this day the league match that was scheduled was Tottenham v Arsenal.  Because of this cup game, and the need for a replay, the scheduled match was moved to the end of the season – a decision that led to the eternally famous final match at White Hart Lane.  Storey scored both goals – one a penalty.

Inevitably, after a few weeks of praise earlier in the season, the press commentaries were turning ever more against Arsenal at this time, calling their football “feeble” and basically wishing Leeds to win the league and Stoke or Liverpool to win the cup.

But contrary to Fleet Street’s wishes, four days later on 31 March Arsenal reached the F.A. Cup Final by beating Stoke City 2-0 in the semi-final replay with goals from Graham and Kennedy.  It was the first of these (a superb header from Graham on 13 minutes) which set everything on its rightful path.  Then in the first minute of the second half John Radford put through a pass worthy of Ozil, taking five defenders out of the game at once and Kennedy ran on to side foot into the net.  The result took Arsenal to their first Cup Final in 19 years.

And so March ended with Arsenal having played two European games, four FA Cup games and three league games, which left them out of the Fairs Cup, in the FA Cup final, and second in the league six points behind Leeds and three games in hand with a fractionally better goal average.

But if nine games in 31 days was an exhausting month a quick look at the schedule showed was almost as bad with a ludicrous eight league games in 30 days.

And so the run-in started on 3 April 1971 as 62,087 – the highest of the season – watched Kennedy score both goals in  Arsenal 2 Chelsea 0.  This was League match 33.  

On 6 April 1971 it was Arsenal 1 Coventry 0.  The game was won with Ray Kennedy’s 25th goal of the season.  But perhaps surprisingly only 37,029 showed up.   Seemingly they still didn’t believe.

Meanwhile with Leeds not playing the table showed Arsenal were just now four points behind with two games in hand – the first time Arsenal were in this position since mid-January.  Arsenal’s goal difference was 0.03 goals better than Leeds.

On 10 April the result was Southampton 1 Arsenal 2.  Radford and McLintock scored in League match 35.   Meanwhile Leeds drew away to Newcastle meaning Arsenal were now three points behind Leeds but still with two games in hand.  Hope noticeably rose.

Two days later Leeds visited Huddersfield (who had given Arsenal a surprising dent to their aspirations earlier in the year) and drew 0-0.  It gave all the encouragement Arsenal needed as the following day Arsenal took full advantage of the situation beating Nottingham Forest 0-3.  McLintock scored for the second match running, with Kennedy and George finishing off the match.  The result left Arsenal two points behind Leeds, with two games in hand. 

While Leeds had not had Arsenal’s adventure in the FA Cup (losing to Colchester Utd – who ended the season 6th in the 4th division – in round 5, in the biggest cup upset of the season), they were still in the Fairs Cup, as were Liverpool.  The two teams were drawn together in the semi-final and on April 14 the first leg ended Liverpool 0 Leeds 1.

So everything was prepared for the next round in the league on 17 April.  At Highbury the score was Arsenal 1 Newcastle 0 with Charlie George scoring in the 71st minute.   Meanwhile, perhaps as a result of the Fairs Cup exertions  Leeds lost 1-2 at home to 15th placed West Brom.  It left Arsenal top, equal on points with Leeds but with a goal average 0.34 better, and two games in hand.

The celebrations started, but they were, inevitably, premature.  A season that had this many turns, was hardly likely to give any team an easy run in.

On Tuesday 20 April Arsenal beat Burnley 1-0 with Charlie George scoring to give the club their 9th straight league win (during which run only one goal was conceded), with this one being achieved with McNab and Storey absent preparing to play for England!  Arsenal went two points ahead of Leeds who avoided playing during the internationals, while Burnley were relegated in the 38th league game of the season.

The following day 21 April 1971: Peter Storey made his international debut for England in the game against Greece.  He played 19 times for his country between this date and his final game in 1973.

On 24 April normal service was resumed with both Arsenal and Leeds playing.  Leeds beat Southampton 3-0 at Elland Road while Arsenal drew 2-2 with West Brom (who had so recently beaten Leeds) at the Hawthorns.  McLintock, now in a fine run of goalscoring, got yet another goal, the other was an own goal.  It was also the last game for Jon Sammels appearing as a substitute for Pat Rice.  

And so everything was poised for the meeting of Leeds and Arsenal on 26 April.  The league table now had a different look…

With a game in hand everything was in Arsenal’s favour.  Indeed Arsenal had five wins and a draw in their last six while Leeds had two defeats, two wins, and two draws.  Leeds had already been beaten three times at home in the league, so the omens seemed all to point Arsenal’s way.  Even if a win could not be achieved, a draw would do.

And a draw it looked likely to be with the teams locked at 0-0 on 90 minutes.

But then with Jackie Charlton clearly offside he took the ball and shot in injury time.  The shot hit the post, ran along the line as Charlton ran into McNab, clearly fouling him to prevent him from clearing the ball, and the ball went in.  With Arsenal players outraged both by the off-side and the foul on McNab the police came onto the pitch and led the ref away.  

The newspapers had a field day about the players’ lack of discipline, but as usual no one would mention the fact that either the referee was stunningly incompetent or else there was something darker going on.

Arsenal still had the title in their grasp, being one point behind Leeds with one game in hand but it felt like a horrible omen.

On 1 May 1971 Arsenal played Stoke and beat them 1-0, with Eddie Kelly, who had come on as a substitute for Storey, scoring only his second goal of the season.  55,011 came to the game.  Leeds meanwhile beat Nottingham Forest 2-0.

The results left Arsenal one point behind Leeds with one game in hand and a goal average of 0.01 goals better than Leeds.   A 0-0 draw or an Arsenal win in the final match would win the League, but not a scoring draw.  

Although Leeds could only sit and watch, they had their own issues to consider – for a 0-0 draw with Liverpool on April 28, two days after the notorious defeat of Arsenal, had taken Leeds through to the Fairs Cup final, which was to be played over two legs on May 28 and June 3.

In another of those coincidences that seemed to bedeck this season the final league match against Tottenham came exactly 19 years to the day after another very famous game – the 1952 cup final.  The omen however was not good for this match – Arsenal’s last cup final until 1971 was lost 0-1 to Newcastle.

A better omen, and another coincidence hardly noted at the time or later was that this was 78 years to the day after the formation of Woolwich Arsenal FC.  It turned out to be quite a nice birthday party.

And so, as everyone knows, on 3 May 1971, Arsenal beat Tottenham 0-1 at White Hart Lane to win the league, with Kennedy scoring two minutes from time heading in an Armstrong cross.  In fact the goal was irrelevant, for a 0-0 draw would have also given Arsenal the title.  Had Tottenham equalised however Leeds would have won the league.

One other matter that is sometimes forgotten except by those who were there is that this was not an all ticket match, even though the date had been set some time ahead.  Quite why it wasn’t all ticket, when it was clear from the end of March onwards that Arsenal might well either be winning the league or celebrating having already won the league, has never been revealed.  But the lack of care and consideration for supporters that was the foundation of the way football was run in the 1960s and 1970s probably meant that even if anyone did think, they didn’t bother to act.

Because of the lack of all-ticket arrangements at Tottenham, it is believed that although officially there were some 51,992 in the ground, there was probably another 25,000 or so who got in unofficially as entrances were swamped and sometimes broken by fans demanding to get in.  Even then there could have been another 50,000 outside.  Queuing to get in had started at around 6am.

The game also just about stopped traffic in most of north London.  Not just at the Tottenham ground but on the North Circular Road, the Great Cambridge Road, Finsbury Park, across Southgate….  Very little moved from around noon onwards.

In the ground there was a serious crush and it was remarkable that there were not more serious casualties beyond the 18 people who were reported as treated in hospital.   The Arsenal team bus was blocked and the referee too had to abandon his car and get a police escort into the ground.  What happened to his car is not recorded.

Tickets for the stands were being exchanged by touts for up to about £75 or one cup final ticket (this was 1971 and we’ve had a lot of inflation since then!).  27 people were arrested for carrying offensive weapons, insulting behaviour or assault.

In true Liverpool fashion Bill Shanklv added his congratulations to the others that poured upon Arsenal but then utterly spoiled his sportsmanship by then saying that Arsenal would not have it so easy against Liverpool in the cup final at the end of the week. How little he knew either of good manners, decency, or just how determined Arsenal were.

But Liverpool themselves were smarting from having lost in the Fairs Cup semi-final to Leeds, and coming 14 points behind the eventual winners.  Indeed such was the gap that Leeds and Arsenal had carved out at the top of the league as they chased each other through the season that Manchester United in 8th place in the league were nearer a relegation spot than winning the league.

As for Ray Kennedy – in what is also sometimes forgotten was his first full season in the League – his entire experience before this season was a couple of league games last season, two appearances as a substitute in league matches and an appearance as a sub in the first leg of the previous year’s Fairs Cup Final.

Yet in 1970/1 he played 41 of the 42 league games and was top scorer with 19 league goals.

Arsenal had won their first league title since 1953 and won the league with just one point less than the record breaking 66 points achieved in 1931 when Herbert Chapman won Arsenal the league for the first time ever playing the same number of games.

And so on 8 May 1971  Arsenal carried on where they had left off at Tottenham the previous Monday and won the Double for the first time, beating Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup, in extra time.  Kelly and George got the goals – with Charlie George doing his famous on-the-ground celebration that is still shown as part of the prelude to games at the Emirates stadium.

Eddie Kelly’s goal is also of note.  He wasn’t even listed in the programme, coming on for Storey on 65 minutes, and yet scored the first Arsenal goal.  At first it was thought that George Graham had scored, and Kelly even went to Graham to congratulate him, but it turned out that it was Kelly’s goal.  Graham had certainly distracted the keeper, but Kelly got the last touch.  Graham did get the consolation of being named Player of the Final.  Frank McLintock was player of the year having played in 42 league games and all nine FA Cup matches.

As for the game itself, Arsenal missed at least three superb chances in normal time, George, Kennedy and Armstrong all missing out.  And then Liverpool scored first in the second minute of extra time.  Kelly’s goal came ten minutes later and Charlie George won the Double with ten minutes to go.

It was only the second time Arsenal had played in front of 100,000.

The media however were unimpressed, generally calling Arsenal the best of a poor bunch, which hardly reflects the battle between the top two in the league, nor two European trophies being taken by English teams, and a third making one of the Euro semi-finals.   But it was ever thus.  Some 33 years later some of the media had reservations about the Unbeaten Season too.

On 9 May an estimated half a million people are said to have lined the streets to see the Double Winners’ Parade.  Frank McLintock is also said to have fallen asleep on the town hall steps due to some energetic celebrating the night before.

Attending both the Tottenham games and the Cup Final was George Male, whose final match for Arsenal was 23 years previously on 11 May 1948 when the result was Arsenal 8 Grimsby 0.   George was the first ever player in the League to win the championship six times and played 285 times for Arsenal.  

He then became a coach for the club working with the youth and reserve teams, as well as working as a scout, and it was in this role that he discovered Charlie George.  Having joined the club in 1929 he retired from a life in football and a life serving the club he loved, in 1975.   He died in February 1998 aged 87, the last survivor but one of the men who played for Herbert Chapman.  Seven months later Ray Bowden, the final hero of Chapman’s Arsenal died aged 89.   The very last connection with Chapman in the year of the utterly unexpected Double.

On 14 May Arsenal’s Cup Final record, “Good Old Arsenal” entered the top 40 singles charts.  It is perhaps best not to dwell on this too long save to note one rather amusing side-issue.  For many years the Daily Express had bought the rights to produce a song sheet that could be used by fans to sing Abide with Me and their own club song during the Cup Final.

However the newspaper, and its nominated cup final celebrity Jimmy Hill, became very concerned because in the run-up to the final, they felt that there was confusion over what was the “official” Arsenal song for the final that Arsenal fans would sing.  The fact that there might even be such a thing and that the fans were not capable of devising their own song or songs, shows how football had always been run in the past, with the image of the game controlled by the media.  In the end Jimmy Hill announced in the Express that he had taken the decision in consultation with the club and printed what now the official Arsenal song.  No one took a blind bit of notice, and the whole notion of an official fans song sheet ceased after this final.

One week after the cup final, on 15 May John Roberts made his international début.  He only made 56 league starts for Arsenal, but 18 of those were in the first Double season.  The following week Frank McLintock played his ninth and last game for Scotland.  After retiring completely from playing, he joined his old club Leicester City as manager in 1977. However, City went through a spell where they had one win in 26 matches and Frank’s tenure was not a happy one.

Thankfully Arsenal had arranged no end of season tour, or if they did do that they quickly cancelled all the arrangements without us having any record, and with the last few internationals the most memorable of Arsenal season’s ended.

The club was only the fourth in English football history to do the double.  The other clubs were

  • Preston NE 1889
  • Aston Villa 1897
  • Tottenham Hotspur 1961

Since then of course Arsenal have repeated the achievement twice more.

Elsewhere in football, Tottenham gained tiny amount of consolation for their end of season humiliation by winning the league cup, Leeds as we have noted won the Fairs Cup and Chelsea won the Cup Winners Cup.

There was also an oddity this season: the Ford Sporting League.   For this trophy clubs were awarded a point for every goal scored at home and two points for every goal scored away, but lost 5 points if a player was booked and 10 points if a player was sent off.  Points were earned and lost across the league season with all league clubs being part of the event.  However as the 3rd and 4th divisions played more matches only the first 42 league matches for those leagues counted.  Oldham won the league and picked up £70,000 – the equivalent of around £1m in 2015 finances.

In 2015 the Daily Mirror ran an article on the Ford League and endeavoured to work out who would have won it in the 2014/15 season.  And the problem they found was that not a single club would have ended up with a positive score, the winner being Bristol City with -109 points.  That is minus 109.

The problem of course is that while the number of goals hasn’t changed that much, the number of sendings off and bookings has escalated.  In the 1970s they were very rare indeed – now of course we expect three or four yellow cards a game.

However this sponsorship was part of the very first moves into such financing of football by outside agencies, for also on the scene for 1970/1 was the Watney Cup (a knockout competition between the top scoring teams of the previous season who had not won promotion or got into Europe) and the Texaco Cup (in which 16 teams from England and Scotland which had not qualified for Europe took part).  It is a reflection on the times that teams from N Ireland and Ireland were invited, accepted and then withdrew because of political pressures.  As a result this later became the Anglo-Scottish Cup. 

Then, in a move that wasn’t noticed on 11 June 1971 Liam Brady joined Arsenal as apprentice professional from St Kevin’s Boys, aged 15. He turned pro two years later.   

On 23 June  Ex Arsenal man Jimmy Bloomfield became manager of Leicester, who had just been promoted.  After that he went to Orient, and led them to an FA Cup semi-final at Arsenal and later managed Luton, before his tragically early death from cancer.

One week later on 29 June Don Howe left Arsenal having helped guide the club to the Double as first team coach.  He moved on to WBA where he stayed until 1975 before a year at Galatasaray SK after which he returned to Arsenal as manager.

As noted earlier, just 16 players played for Arsenal in the league this season with one of those (Marinello) getting one start and one other, Sammy Nelson, getting two.

The goalscoring had returned big time with Kennedy getting 19, Radford 15 and Graham 11.   George Armstrong was back on the scene as well, playing every single league match and scoring seven.  The other members of the “42” club were Bob Wilson and Frank McLintock.  Rice, Radford and Kennedy each played in 41 games.

Tottenham rather spoiled things by winning the Football Combination (the reserve league) with Arsenal second.  So what is this headline about the “golden treble”?

The fact is that Arsenal also won the Youth Cup in 1971 in a two legged final against Cardiff.  The Arsenal team included some interesting names, although perhaps not as many as we might have imagined…

GK Graham Horn
DF Dave Donaldson
DF Micky Shovelar
MF David Price
DF Brendon Batson
MF Jim de Garis
FW Brian Hornsby
MF Charlie Newton
FW Paul Davis
MF Terry Burton
FW Tony Waring
FW Kevin Kennerley

Terry Burton, who was the captain, didn’t play for Arsenal first team, and after not getting a professional contract in 1971 he joined Folkestone.  But he did return to Arsenal in 2012 as head development coach.  Paul Davis, Brian Hornsby, Brendon Batson, and David Price you will know.

And to complete the record, here are the directors of the club for this memorable season…

Denis Hill-Wood (Chairman), Guy Smith, Robert Bellinger, Stuart McIntyre, Noel Bone, Bob Wall (Secretary).

For details of many other series on this site please see the home page of the Arsenal History Society.


4 Replies to “Arsenal in the 70s, part 3. The Golden Treble”

  1. Once again, thank you for the article Tony.

    I was at the 2-2 draw with WBA and the Leeds 0-1 defeat which followed a few days later. This was a very tense and quite an aggressive match, since Leeds were as dirty as they were skilful. I remember the off-side Jack Charlton goal very well.

    As a footnote, before the final game at WHL, all the papers predicted that we would not win a trophy, never mind the double. Prominent among them was Danny Blanchflower, ex-Spurs captain, in the role which would now be described as a “pundit”. After we won the Cup, he wrote about international matches in prospect and did not mention domestic football.

  2. Whoops. “Since then of course Arsenal have repeated the achievement twice more, in 1996 and 1999.”

  3. Just one caveat about the youth cup team. I think the Paul Davis was not our legendary star of the 80’s (far too early for him) but Paul Davies, younger brother of Ron Davies, of Southampton who was banging on goals for fun at the time. I seem to remember Paul coming on as a sub in a home game against Newcastle a couple of seasons later but don’t know what became of him afterwards.

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