1967/68 League Cup Campaign: when the rebirth of Arsenal began

By Tony Attwood

1967/68 League Cup Campaign.

This site has produced a number of articles about The Darkness – the era during which Arsenal slipped away to midtable obscurity.

This era ended under the command of Betie Mee – and the 1968 league cup was first major sign that we were coming out of that terrible period where the best we could hope for in the league was 7th.   We had already improved on our league position – but now we had a day out at Wembley, and that really did mean something.

I’ve already published a review of Mee’s time at Arsenal, but to set the context for a review of the League Cup in 1967/8 here’s that chart again.

Year League FA Cup League Cup (exit round) Europe
1966/7 7th 5th 3rd
1967/8 9th 5th Finalists
1968/9 4th 5th Finalists
1969/70 12th 3rd 3rd Won Fairs Cup
1970/71 1st Won 4th 4th round Fairs Cup
1971/72 5th Finalists 4th 3rd round Euro Cup
1972/73 2nd Semi-final 5th (Norwich)
1973/4 10th 4th 2nd (Tranmere)
1974/5 16th Finalists 2nd
1975/6 17th 3rd 2nd

To put it in perspective, the 1967/8 League Cup final was Arsenal’s first final since the FA Cup Final in 1952 under the managership of Tom Whittaker.

So that makes it the first appearance in a final for 16 years.  And it meant even more since Arsenal hadn’t won the league either since 1953.

Interestingly the team in 1968 contained some of the names that would go on to immortality in 1971 with the double – but as you can see, the team was at this stage far from complete.   Here is the team that played against Leeds in that comeback final…

  • Jim Furnell
    Peter Storey
    Bob McNab
    Frank McLintock
    Ian Ure
    Peter Simpson
    John Radford
    David Jenkins (replaced by Terry Neill)
    George Graham
    Jon Sammels
    George Armstrong

The story of Arsenal’s journey to the final was….

  • 12 Sept 1967:  Round 2: Coventry City 1–2 Arsenal
  • 11 Oct 1967: Round 3: Arsenal 1–0 Reading
  • 1 Nov 1967: Round 4: Arsenal 2–1 Blackburn Rovers
  • 29 Nov 1967: Round 5: Burnley 3–3 Arsenal
  • 5 Dec 1967: Round 5  Replay: Arsenal 2–1 Burnley
  • 17 Jan 1968 Semi-final: 1st Leg: Arsenal 3–2 Huddersfield Town
  • 6 Feb 1968  Semi final 2nd Leg: Huddersfield Town 1–3 Arsenal
  • 2 March 1968: Final – Leeds 1 Arsenal 0

To give some more context: Leeds were fourth in the league in 19567/8, and won the trophy in 1969, before becoming runners up three years in succession starting with the 1969/70 season.  They also reached the semi final of the FA Cup in 1968, losing to Everton 1-0 before finally winning the league again in 1974.

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