Arsenal 3 Manchester United 1
6 May 1991.
On 4 May this is how the top ten of the table looked
We are obviously going to focus here on the top two, but I include the top 10 because it shows the changes that 22 years can bring. Palace in 3rd, Leeds 4th, Wimbledon 7th, Forest 8th – all these days dreaming of a more glorious past.
Oh and Tottenham in 9th, just dreaming.
Anyway it was a 38 game season. Arsenal you may note had lost just one match – something that the press never even bothered with. Arsenal were also top scorers in the league – something that could never be mentioned because this was Arsenal under George Graham. Boring boring Arsenal. And we had let in less than half the goals of any other team.
And now you might just be wondering about the points – because it shows
And you will be saying – “err, another Attwood cock up here – that would be 79 points.” But because of a minor dust up at Old Trafford Arsenal had had two points deducted. Another rule made up by the League encouraged by the media.
Two games to go and if Liverpool won both and Arsenal lost both Liverpool would be champions.
The evening was May 6th 1991. ITV were doing the filming and so arranged for Liverpool to play first against Nottingham Forest, and then (in their little minds) with a Liverpool win secure Arsenal would “have to” win to secure the title.
Didn’t work out like that of course.
We piled into the Duke of Edinburgh pub just off the Seven Sisters Road – one of the most evil, obnoxious and filthy pubs you can imagine. I used to get cholera injections before going to use their “toilet” facilities. But that’s where we went.
Liverpool lost 2-1, the pub went mad, and those of us with season tickets went straight to the ground.
Despite being docked two points, despite an overtly hostile and biased press throughout the entire season, we had won the league in the pub.
As we entered the ground, we could hear singing – over an hour before kick off. One song. Over and Over and Over and Over again.
A charming little ditty. It went….
“You can stick your fucking two points up your arse” to the tune of “She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes.”
It went on and on and on.
The Man U players formed their guard of honour and still we didn’t stop singing. Arsenal came out, and yes, for a moment, we cheered. But then with everyone doing their pre-match kick about, we went back to the song.
We scored in the 19th minute through Alan Smith, and again on 44 minutes. In the second half Steve Bruce handballed in the area and Alan Smith took the penalty and added the Golden Boot award to his collection.
The season ended with one defeat and just 18 goals conceded.
I can’t remember when I finally got home, but the house was of course all asleep, and far be it from me to disturb the lady wife and three daughters. So I went into the sitting room and turned on the old VHS which had recorded the match.
Kept the volume down of course, but still I could just hear the commentator at the start of the broadcast saying, “And the Arsenal fans are in fine voice, singing ‘We are the Champions’.”
It was the final insult, the final stupidity. We would never sing a northern song like that. We were singing “You can stick your fucking two points up your arse” and you could hear it loud and clear.
Yesterday’s news: 5 May: Arsenal announces its new name
- 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
Other sites from the same team…