16 September: Lazio 2 Arsenal 2, and the fight in the restaurant



6 September: Lazio 2 Arsenal 2. After the match, the teams were to have a meal together, but a fight broke out.


The game had followed a series of Arsenal wins in the league, the latest of which being on 12 September 1970 which ended Burnley 1 Arsenal 2 in front of just 12,675, the lowest league crowd to see Arsenal during the season.  Kennedy and Radford scored to make it four wins, three draws and one defeat thus far.

Then, as holders as the Fairs Cup, Arsenal began their defence of the trophy on 16 September. The first leg of round 1 ended Lazio 2 Arsenal 2 with Radford scoring both goals, but it was not so much the game that was remembered but rather the fact that after the match the two teams went to have a meal together and a fight broke out, with most of the players joining in.  The newspapers went berserk on the issue.

As a result on 19 September, the talk was still about events in Italy and the club was not at all impressed.  Indeed in a move that is very unlikely to be seen again, the Arsenal programme published a letter seriously and directly criticising the Evening Standard’s reporting of the club.  Oh for a return to the days when the club spoke out against the media.

Overall however it didn’t do Arsenal any harm, for Arsenal won the game on 19 September against West Brom 6-2 – the highest score of the season.   Arsenal moved up to third and it seemed that a punch up in a restaurant did not do Arsenal any harm at all.

On 23 September Arsenal played the second leg of the 1st round of the Uefa Cup against Lazio, and Arsenal won 2-0 with goals from Radford and Armstrong.  There was no collective meal afterwards.

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