By Tony Attwood
The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Final was played in 1970 over two legs. It came at a time when Arsenal had in the two previous seasons lost two finals in the Football League Cup. In Cup Final terms it proved to be third time lucky and was our first European trophy.
The story of the match is everywhere – in every history book and on lots of web sites, so as usual I will try and pick something unusual out of the games.
The team was
This team was in the pattern of the era – the double winning side in the following season only used 15 players of whom one made only one start (Marinello) and one made two (Sammy Nelson).
The other two players who featured in the double season, not playing in this game were Pat Rice who replaced Storey who moved into midfield, and Ray Kennedy who came into the side after Charlie George was injured in the first league game.
This stability was undoubtedly a part of the success of the period that led to three different trophies in two years.
So, this day 42 years ago, Arsenal won their first European Trophy. But here’s a couple of other odd points relating to that season.
In the FA Arsenal went out to Blackpool in the 3rd round away, after a drawn match at Highbury. Blackpool were in the second division that season. In the League Cup we went out in the third round (the second round we played in) to Everton again in a replay, losing 0-1 after a 0-0 at Highbury. In the second round Arsenal had drawn with Southampton away and beat them 2-0 at Highbury. So in every cup match (Fairs, League and FA) Arsenal played in 1969-70 there were two games.
As for the league in the season we won our first European trophy we came 12th with 42 points from 42 games – one place below Tottenham H. In one spell from December 20 to February 21 we went 10 games without a win. Indeed we only won two of our first eight games, starting the season ignominiously with a 0-1 home defeat to Everton. Top scorer that season was Radford with 12.
For those fans who follow the journalist line of how many years since winning a trophy, it is worth remembering that although we did indeed celebrate the anniversary of a trophy on this day, and those who were there remember with joy the match and the celebrations, it was a really poor season in every other respect.
And it was our first trophy since winning the league in 1953 – a gap of 17 years.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal – crowd behaviour at the early matches