5 March 1980: Cup winners’ cup quarter final: Arsenal 5 Gothenburg 1

By Tony Attwood

Arsenal had won through to the quarter final of the CWC in 1979 with two wins and two draws in earlier rounds:

  • 19 September 1979: Arsenal 2 Fenerbache 0
  • 3 October 1979: Fenerbache 0 Arsenal 0
  • 24 October 1979: Arsenal 2 Magdeburg 1
  • 7 November 1979: Magedebury 2 Arsenal 2

At this point the CWC went into hibernation for the winter emerging with a 3rd round tie against IFK Gothenburg in March 1980.

That gave Arsenal a lot of time to prepare for the tie – playing games while their Swedish opponents had ther winter break.  And by and large Arsenal did rather well.

This “doing rather well” run started on 19 January 1980 with a 2-0 home win over Derby County.  Only 22,091 turned up, but the team put out had the classic feel of the era:

Jennings, Rice, Nelson, Talbot, Walford, Young, Brady, Sunderland, Stapleton, Price, Rix.

But it wasn’t a great game, and indeed the Pools Panel, now firmly ensconced in British gambling culture, were said to be more entertaining a watch than this.  In the end perhaps Derby County went to sleep or perhaps they were so embarrassed by the paucity of the fare that they had to do something, but whatever the cause, they did  indeed do something.  On the hour Webb gave away a penalty when it was easier not to. Brady scored.

On 66 minutes Willie Young advanced with the ball, the Derby players headed for the touch line in the face of such an onslaught and for once the crowd made more noise than the players although a lot of the time it was with the chant of “We are boring, we are boring, we are boring, Arsenal”.

Brady did however at one point manage to lob the ball onto the roof of the north stand, and get it stuck behind the Arsenal crest.  Clever that.

Next up….

  • 26 January: Brighton And Hove Albion (H) FA Cup 2-0
  • Attendance: 43,202
  • Jennings, Rice, Nelson, Talbot, O’Leary, Young, Brady, Sunderland, Stapleton, Price, Rix.

Arsenal had enough chances to reach double figures, but took pity on their visitors and gave Moseley in the Brighton goal the chance to do the traditional FA cup thing and have the time of his life.  On the half hour Rix crossed and Nelson, pushed through a pack of players to head home.  Brady re-awoke from his recent slumbers, Talbot hit the bar, Brady was denied an obvious penalty twice, and then eventually Talbot got the second on 79 minutes.  It was, everyone agreed, infinitely better than the last game.

The journey towards the Cup Winners’ Cup continued.

  • 9 February: Aston Villa (H) 3-1
  • Attendance: 33,816
  • Jennings, Rice, Nelson, Talbot, O’Leary, Young, Brady, Sunderland, Stapleton, Price, Rix.

Another game another song.  “What’s it like to be outclassed” rolled out of the north bank   Rix, Stapleton and Sunderland tore into the visitors from the start,   So overwhelming were Arsenal there wasn’t that much to say about the game so some journalists concentrated on the latest rumour of Brady going to Roma (which of course he didn’t do).

Rix, Stapleton, Sunderland and of course Brady were the stars while for Villa it was Rimmer in goal.  For the first goal Stapleton passed to Sunderland who flicked past Rimmer.  For the second Rix scored in off the post from 30 yards out.  For the third Rix found Brady, who went round McNaught twice just for the hell of it before giving it back to Rix.  Rimmer saved and Sunderland put in the rebound.

The ref allowed the Villa goal despite a foul by Glasson and disallowed three legit Arsenal claims for penalties. It was ever thus.  Now back to the FA Cup

  • 16 February: Bolton Wanderers (A) FA Cup 1-1
  • Attendance: 23,530
  • Jennings, Rice, Nelson, Talbot, O’Leary, Young, Brady, Sunderland, Stapleton, Price, Rix.

The pitch was mud and soon the players were covered in it, and the tactics were to boot the ball as hard as possible in what was generally vaguely the right direction.

But the trouble with mud is that it can make you slip over as the Bolton centre back found.  Sunderland ran in, knocked the ball temporarily out of the mud and Stapleton scored on 18 minutes.  In reply Bolton got a corner, and Allerdyce (who some journalists insisted on calling the “strapping Allardyce”) jumped upwards and headed ball and mud into the net.

Arsenal hit the post in the second half and forced goalkeeper saves but in the end there is only so much mud you can take.

  • 19 February: Bolton Wanderers (H) FA Cup 3-0
  • Attendance: 40,504
  • Jennings, Rice, Nelson, Talbot, O’Leary, Young, Brady, Sunderland, Stapleton, Price, Rix.

In Arsenal’s first attack Price centred the ball, Young helped it on and Sunderland bent in half to head in from six yards.  After that the bravado and swashbuckling style took over which was fun but was to be had at the cost of more goals until on 34 minutes Greaves mistakenly passed the perfect pass to Sunderland who for a moment looked bemused but then realised his duty and scored.

Then either side of half time Allerdyce went off followed by Gowling who was knocked over by McDonagh, one of his own team mates.  It was incredibly simple for Arsenal, and they were pleased to take it, knowing who would be at Highbury on Saturday.

  • 23 February: Bolton Wanderers (H) 2-0
  • Attendance: 24,383
  • Jennings, Rice (Vaessen), Nelson, Talbot, O’Leary, Young, Brady, Sunderland, Stapleton, Price, Rix.

It was Bolton again, it was another win, and the details need not be remembered.  But instead let us fast forwards to…

  • 1 March: Stoke City (A) 3-2
  • Attendance: 19,752
  • Jennings, Devine, Nelson, Talbot, O’Leary, Young, Brady, Sunderland, Stapleton, Price, Rix.

So comprehensive was this defeat of Stoke that Alan Durban admitted that even if Stoke had gone another goal then Arsenal would immediately have scored a fourth.

And yet despite the score the first half was dull, but then in the second everything change.  On 46 minutes Stapleton crossed to Rix, the Stoke defence watch both of them, and Sunderland was left free to score.  Cook equalised at once for Stoike, but then first Price then Brady put the home team in their place.  Lee Chapman eventually got one back, but Arsenal then held them in their place.

And thus, after a fine set of results, Arsenal played again in the CWC

  • 5 March: Gothenburg (Sweden) (H) Cup-winners’ Cup 5-1
  • Attendance: 36,323
  • Jennings, Devine, Nelson, Talbot, O’Leary, Young, Brady (Hollins), Sunderland (McDermott), Stapleton, Price, Rix.

It was cold.  Very very cold. Which presumably gave Gothenburg the advantage.  The score was gold but Brady, Sunderland and Stapleton all hobbled off, either with footballing injuries or frostbite, it was hard to tell.

Goteborg (to write it properly) took the lead after some serious misfiring from Arsenal, but after five semi-attempts Stapleton found Brady, Brady found Sunderland and in it went.  Then a Brady, Talbot, Price combination resulted in the second.

Then it was Sunderland again (getting his injury en route) before Brady scored a magnificent goal on the hour on receiving a chip from Devine.  For the next Young jumped with the goalkeeper, possibly impeded him, but the ref let it stand.

It was easily enough for the tie and the replay would be a formality.  We were through to the Cup Winners’ Cup semi final.


One Reply to “5 March 1980: Cup winners’ cup quarter final: Arsenal 5 Gothenburg 1”

  1. what a great run we had back then! such a shame it never ended in a trophy. just watched some of the scrappy highlights from the 5-0 v gothenburg on youtube now. great memories!

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