23 December 1978: Brady scores the wonder goal, Tottenham smashed, father happy.

By Tony Attwood

To read about the free Arsenal video collection and about the Arsenal History Society, please see the note at the foot of this article.

23 December 1978: Terry Neill was the manager of Arsenal, and Tottenham were finding their feet again in the first division, having come up from Division 2 at the end of 1977/8 having come third in the second division.

In the side of the newly-promoted were Osswaldo Ardiles and Ricky Villa.   Arsenal’s team was,…

Jennings Rice Walford Price O’leary Young Brady Sunderland Stapleton Rix Gatting

There was nothing much to suggest that Arsenal would romp home; Tottenham had only been in the second division for one year, and by the time of the game they were sitting eighth in League Division One, with Arsenal in fourth, three points ahead of them.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 20 14 3 3 44 9 35 31
2 Everton 19 11 8 0 28 12 16 30
3 West Bromwich Albion 18 11 5 2 36 14 22 27
4 Arsenal 19 9 7 3 30 17 13 25
5 Nottingham Forest 18 8 9 1 20 11 9 25
6 Manchester United 20 9 6 5 29 31 -2 24
7 Coventry City 19 8 6 5 25 27 -2 22
8 Tottenham Hotspur 19 8 6 5 22 28 -6 22

But we all know what happened. Alan Sunderland scored three, Frank Stapleton scored one, and of course there was Brady.  The attendance was 42,273.

At the time of the game, Arsenal had already scored five once that season, beating QPR 5-1 early on.  But there was no real sign in the previous results of either club to indicate that 0-5 was possible.

And indeed after the game, Arsenal slipped back a little.  We lost the next match 1-2 at home to WBA before ending the year with a 3-1 win  at home against Birmingham  A wretched end of the season in which we did not win any of our last five games saw Arsenal slip to seventh, four places above Tottenham.

But there were still more celebrations to come.  I missed the match as my first child was due to be born on Christmas Eve and I didn’t dare go from Northants to London. She didn’t arrive but kept us waiting. Six days after the 0-5 triumph the first of my three daughters,  Catherine, was born. I took it as a good sign.

And indeed there was good news to come: the FA Cup final.  After playing Sheffield Wednesday five times in the third round we beat Notts County, Nottingham Forest, Southampton and Wolverhampton to reach the cup final where Alan Sunderland scored a suitably dramatic goal in the last few seconds, to win the cup 3-2.

Quite a year to remember.



For details of the videos sorted by club, and videos in the order we published them, plus our 21 golden great videos please see here.

The Arsenal History Society is part of the Arsenal Independent Supporters Association – a body which gives positive support to the club, and has regular meetings with directors and senior officials of the club to represent the views of its members to the club.  You can read more about AISA on its website.


100 Years in the First Division: the absolute complete story of Arsenal’s promotion in 1919.

Henry Norris at the Arsenal:  There is a full index to the series here.

Arsenal in the 1930s: The most comprehensive series on the decade ever

Arsenal in the 1970s: Every match and every intrigue reviewed in detail.

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