What can one say about this evening 23 years ago?
Liverpool were on a sensational run of league victories:
11 championships in two decades – and having won the league in 1988 they undoubtedly expected to win it again in 1989.
Compare this with Arsenal through the 70s and 80s
And yet, amazingly despite only one championship through the whole period up to that night in 1989, we won the league at Liverpool by 0-2.
Perhaps what is also interesting is that after that defeat and Micky Thomas’ winner – followed by an attempted head stand, Liverpool only won the league once more – the following season. Since 1990 they have failed to get their hands on the trophy – 22 years ago.
All we can do is think of what we remember from that night. I remember George Graham trying to keep everyone calm. A hopeless task. I remember Perry Groves saying that Graham, when bringing him on as a substitute, had given him the instructions, “go on and run around a bit”.
I seem to remember Micky Thomas being back in defence just after scoring the second goal – mopping up a Liverpool attack.
I remember feeling so desperately sad with 10 minutes to go that we had come so close.
I remember phone calls into the night from friends saying thank goodness those Merseysiders had been beaten at last on a ground where they were renowned for the penalty in front of the Kop with five minutes to go.
And watching it on TV, the commentator doing all the usual rubbish about Arsenal “keeping their powder dry” and so on and so forth.
Oh and I remember how Arsenal also handed out flowers to the Liverpool fans before the match – yes I remember that bit too.
What a moment of history. I know there’s no more one can say that hasn’t already been said 1000 times but even so, this day has to be recorded and noted each year. There ought to be a statue to Micky Thomas – upside down trying to stand on his head.
And one to Alan Smith who scored the first of the two goals we needed.
They don’t write history like this any more.
The Updated Database of Arsenal Anniversaries