A grown man cries at Highbury; everyone laughs at the Emirates

By Tony Attwood

15 May is one of those days for which I have found a limited number of anniversaries, but among them is a real corker, and a second one that still makes me smile.

And in both cases I was fortunate enough to be at the ground.

The first was on this day in 2004, when Arsenal completed the unbeaten season.  I am not sure I have cried at football matches very often – indeed perhaps this was the only time – but the tears did come as the final whistle blew and I very much felt that in my own small way, as a supporter through the season, I had been a tiny part of the Invincibles campaign.  Mind you the fact that we were 1-0 down at half time to the club bottom of the league probably upped the emotions.

The second was just three years ago with the extraordinary events surrounding the last game of the season.  Tottenham looked certain to pip us in the league and yet they imploded utterly while we serenely sailed through by thrashing Villa, as Newcastle utterly destroyed Tottenham.   As the scores came in through the game we sang “It’s happened again” like we had never sung it before.


15 May 1916: The hated “entertainment tax” was introduced to help pay for the war, the tax raising the cost of entry to football matches by between 50% and 100%.  It was supposed to be withdrawn at the end of the war, but remained until replaced by VAT in 1973.

15 May 1926: SK Slavia Ips Praha (Prague) 1 Arsenal 5 (Buchan, Brain 2, Ramsey, Lee).  For the second consecutive season Arsenal went on a European tour.

15 May 1971: John Roberts made his international début.  He only made 56 league starts for Arsenal, but 18 of those were in the first Double season.

15 May 1979: Arsenal played their one post-season friendly against Lyngby Boldklub  of Denmark.  Macdonald once again played but was substituted, as Arsenal won 4-2.  Gatting, Brady, Price and Rix scored.

15 May 1990: David Seaman purchased from QPR for record fee.  He went on to play 405 league games for Arsenal and continued playing until 2004.

15 May 1993: FA Cup Final, Arsenal 1 – Sheffield W 1.  The second of the season’s  three games against Sheff W at Wembley.  Cup match 17 of the Cup Double season.

15 May 1993: The single “Shouting for the gunners” entered the hit parade.  Remaining copies are not thought to get a high price on the antiques market.

15 May 2004: Arguably the greatest moment in the history of Arsenal.  Arsenal 2 Leicester 1.  The season was unbeaten.  See also the chronology  To their credit Leicester fans stayed to congratulate Arsenal as the team toured the pitch.  Dickov gave Leicester the lead, Henry scored a penalty on 47 minutes, Vieira got the winner on 66 mins.  Arsenal were 30 points ahead of Liverpool in fourth place.

15 May 2016: Arsenal sat third and Tottenham second in the league ahead of the final day’s games, with Tottenham needing just one point (at relegated Newcastle) to secure second and end above Arsenal for the first time since 1995.  Despite Newcastle having a man sent off, Tottenham lost 1-5, while Arsenal beat Villa 4-0 to secure second place, and achieve one of the most unlikely St Totteringham’s Day victories ever.


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