7 October 1992
Despite having an awful season compared to recent standards (we finished 10th in the first ever Premier League, behind some luminaries as Norwich and Blackburn,) 1992/3 was the season we were the first ever club to do the cup double of the FA and League Cups.
The side had lost David Rocastle in the summer of 1992 and brought in John Jensen – the tale of how David Rocastle was transferred is quite shocking
This was also the last season for David O’Leary at Arsenal.
So the League Cup (known as the Coca Cola Cup) started in October 1992, with a season already going nowhere much, and no particular interest in this minor competition.
The second round, in which Arsenal entered was played as a two leg affair, the first leg being played at Highbury. True to their form at the time, Arsenal drew 1-1 with a club who were in the first division (today called the Championship – ie one below the top division) and ended the season 7th in that league.
The second leg, played at the New Den in front of 18,500, on 7 October, also ended 1-1, went to penalties and ended 3-1 to Arsenal.
The Arsenal team was…
Lee Dixon Steve Bould Tony Adams Nigel Winterburn
Paul Merson John Jensen David Hillier
Ian Wright Alan Smith Kevin Campbell
Two subs were allowed at the time but Arsenal only used one substitute – Ray Parlour came on for Paul Merson.
Arsenal came into the game on the back of two wins: 28 September 1-0 home to Man City and 3 October 2-1 at home to Chelsea. But prior to that Arsenal had had a run of four matches without a win. The results showed just how far the club was struggling at the time:
- 2 September: drew 0-0 away to QPR
- 5 September: lost 3-2 away to Wimbledon
- 12 September: lost at home 0-1 to Blackburn
- 19 September: drew away 1-1 with Sheffield Utd.
Hardly the form to inspire the thought that this moment could be the start of a unique double! And it got worse later as Arsenal only won two league games in 15 between 21 November and 3 March.
But I remember going to the finals, and not actually being desperate about Arsenal’s condition. The notion that Arsenal should always be challenging for the top of the first division, and that anything less would lead to cries of “I want my Arsenal back”, were far away. Indeed I don’t think George Graham as manager ever had the vilification that Mr Wenger has to take as a daily ritual.
Even the journey to the final was uninspired: we beat Derby (after a replay) Scarborough (1-0), Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace over two legs in the semi-final.
However this was a trophy, and the first of a unique double. It just didn’t feel that good on a dark night at the New Den. Arsenal’s goal was scored by Campbell, Millwall’s was an own goal by Dixon.
- The Anniversary Files: January to June
- The Anniversary Files: July to September
- The Anniversary Files: October to December