Arsenal Programmes before Programs – written by gunnerN5

Written by gunnerN5

Being an old codger, I get fed up with idle speculation and “what if scenario’s” and I get a titch angry when I read derogatory comments about our manager, club and B.o.D.

So it was good to read dandan’s piece on Peter Simpson. It brought back many memories both good and bad.

I dug out my stockpile of Arsenal programmes and rooted through them – boy that made the memories flood back.

The oldest programme I have is from Christmas Day 1948, it’s just a photo copy as the original did not stand the test of time.

We played Derby County and drew 3-3.
I had no money so I couldn’t get in legally so to see the game I had to crawl in through the turnstile under the legs of strangers – they always helped us poor kid’s out.

What a game we had Swindon in goal Barnes and Smith as full backs, Macaulay, L. Compton and Joe Mercer were the half backs with Roper, Logie, Rooke, Lewis and McPherson up front. I forget who scored the goals but I remember enjoying a great family party later that day. Drunk gunners.

My collection of programmes includes EVERY home league game for 1970/71 double season plus the league winning game at Spurs on May 2nd, 1971 and the FA Cup final against Liverpool on May 8th – gee I can still hear the roar when Charlie George scored our winner.

The first game that season was against Man U and we trounced them 4-0. The programme bears the autographs of George Best, Jon Sammels and Charlie George.

I remember that season only too well we won the Fairs Cup in 1970 and then the double in 1970/71 but before that we had a barren period of 16 seasons. If you had lived (suffered) through those years you would better understand why I get upset with today’s glory hunters. We were a mediocre mid table team that had no hope of winning anything but the team always got our full support – after all, what are supporters supposed to do – support – right? well some of today’s “fans” just don’t get it.

Oops, sorry, I’m getting angry again.

I also have the 1972 Cup Final programme when we played Leeds, that, of course, was the 100th Cup Final.

I have the Evening Standard from May 31, 1971 and the headline reads……

The action story of London’s greatest ever football season.

It’s gone brown and it’s a tad tattered but it still brings joy to my heart and a smile to my face every time I read it.

Frankly folks I never thought that I would derive so much pleasure from a 30 year old collection – but I sure do.

33 Responses to Arsenal Programmes before Programs – written by gunnerN5

  1. Red Arse says:

    What a fascinating insight into the passion of a young fan in the day. Excellent!

    It provoked a memory for me of when I lived, for some time, in St John’s Wood, and on impulse I decided to watch England play Australia at Lords.

    I knew from other urchins like me, which turnstile had a very loose ratchet, and being small and skinny we shimmied around, under and over the various bars to gain entry. My mum would have laughed if she had known, my dad would have whooped me! :D:

  2. dandan says:

    Great stuff gunner, Have your 71 programmes all got the corner of a page cut off where the token for the cup final tickets were.
    I like you used to gloat about the Man utd 4-0 until I saw them smack five past us in a league cup game many years later.
    And the Sunday morning crush when they brought the pots home on an open top bus now that was a day to remember.
    As for the anger which I understand. Those baron years, were followed by the 1-0 to the Arsenal period, again another reason to be thankful for Wengerball.
    Arsene knows best? Maybe not always, but he sure as hell entertains the best and that, the experience of the years has taught me, is the most important

  3. gunnern5 says:

    dandan: Yes most of them do have the corner cut off, the last one cut is the game against Blackpool.

    After I had posted I went through and sorted them all by date and I then realized that I had every home game programme for the 1970/71 season including Fairs Cup, FA Cup and League Cup games.

    I also have 5 away game programme’s, Ipswich, Leicester, Southampton, Stoke and Nottingham Forest.

    Actually from the 1953/54 to 1985/86 all we won were 2 FA Cups, I Fairs cup and I League Championship. In point of fact in 30 of those 33 years we won sweet F*** all and played some of the worst football imaginable under the management of Swindon, Wright and Mee, other than 70/71,
    Neill,1 FA Cup in 7 seasons and Don Howe.

    I ask ya 30 f***ing years of zilch and “fans” have the temerity to defame Arsene.

  4. Surrey Gunner says:

    Great article, makes a change from usual articles about Arsenal dying, ……..

    I looked up Bertie Mee on Wikepedia, you may be interested he just seems to be a real gentleman.

  5. dandan says:

    Forgive them gunner, they know not what they do. :-)LOL

  6. gunnern5 says:

    Red Arse: Us Avenell Road kids knew every way to get in the ground for free – we had to because we had no money and a burning passion that had to be fulfilled.

  7. dandan says:

    Gunner. If you have Nottingham Forest and Leicester then one of those was Alan Balls first game, cant remember which one, think it was a boxing day fixture, I know I went to it.

  8. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    Thanks for another great trip down memory lane gunnerN5 – I guess you must realise that some of your programmes could be valuable – but equally, I’m sure you’d never part with them 😉

  9. ASNLthruNthru says:

    I crawled up a drainpipe with 2 other mates to get into shite hart lane for that fantastic experience of seeing Geordy Armstrong race to the corner line and cross that brilliant ball for Ray Kennedy’s classic headed goal.Is it at all possible for a cheeky youngster to sneak into a stadium these days? where’s the fun?

  10. gunnern5 says:

    Dandan: I can’t find a reference to Ball in either of those programme’s. When I looked through the Forest progamme an pold article fell out, it was a review of the game by Peter Batt of Sun Sport on April 14th 1971..

    The article starts like this…

    There’s a deadly hush in Yorkshire. Leeds dare not even cough…for this easy win put’s Arsenal’s hands so firmly around their throats that one false move means they are dead, dead, men.

    After that 3-0 win we were only two points behind Leeds with 2 games in hand.

  11. gunnern5 says:

    ASNLthruNthru: Yup all the FUN has been taken out by modern security. You know back in the 40’s and 50’s us street urchins could always get in for free, one way or another.
    As I recall when they opened the main gates at half time we would all run like mad and hide at the back of the crowd, the stewards knew and didn’t really try to stop us. So I saw a bunch of half games.

  12. gunnern5 says:

    Rasp: The programme that gives me the most pleasure is dated August 22nd 1970, vs Man United, not just because we won 4-0 but as it also has the three famous autographs

  13. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Red Arse

    Interesting bit that about your desperation to gain entry @ Lords to see England v Australia. This Summer I reckon there will be heaps of Poms desperately trying to get out through the turnstiles 😆

    Schwarzer had a blinder against Switzerland 😉 just thought I’d mention that.

  14. dandan says:

    GG9 Your ever fair and charming media will bury Ponting alive by the end of the third test, No Warny no chance. 🙂

  15. Red Arse says:


    I was not really into cricket at the time, more baseball, (NY Yankees) but the London kids wanted to show me how to get into London Zoo, Lords and best of all Arsenal (North Bank), for free. That was the buzz not really the games.


    I became a good boy as I got older, but much more boring! 🙂

  16. Big Raddy says:

    I have the Evening Standard poster for the Fairs Cup Final and the paper that followed. plus of course the programme.

    Being way to chicken and too honest, I cannot recall ever sneaking in. I saw many who did though!!

  17. gunnern5 says:

    Big Raddy;

    My passion for the Arsenal took away any modicum of honesty that I might have had.

    Those early post war years were pretty tough, later a got a milk round and two paper rounds to help pay my way in.

  18. dandan says:

    I used to walk the streets after the game selling papers, shouting Star, News and Standard, Classified. I got half a pence a paper, riches indeed.

  19. Big Raddy says:

    We have such pedigree on this site!!

  20. samui gooner says:

    dandan alan ball first game was everton at home the week after we bought him, I recall everton supporters running on the pitch and draping everton scarfs around his neck.

  21. gunnern5 says:

    samui: You may well be right, on the back of my programme the name Newton has been crossed out and Ball’s name added. It looks like Newton took Hurst’s place and Hurst started on the bench.

  22. dandan says:

    Strange what memory can do, I really thought we went up to see him on boxing day, and in the middle of the pitch when we were all over them, Alan Ball sat on the match ball with his elbow on his Knee and his chin on his fist.

  23. Big Raddy says:

    I remember that, and Balls white boots.

    Thanks DD

  24. dandan says:

    Indeed Raddy he did have white boots. But wasnt that his first game

  25. Jekyll says:

    Quite telling, that link to the wiki entrance for Bertie Mee, I would say. Possibly not what Surrey Gunner intended. Mee won the double, 5 trophyless seasons later he left. Of course, boards are far less patient nowadays…

  26. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Evening all

    Just a bit off topic, but did anyone get to see Queensland & NSW break the Yarpies in Bloominghorridstain this morning 😆

  27. Morning all

    Theres a NEW POST

  28. Neamman says:

    thanks guys for the happy memories. I also have a pile of programmes from that era. My first game was Ipswich away in 62 I think, I remember Mcleod speeding down the wing! I moved to Canada in 74 and kind of lost touch for 15 years until Graham Leggatt started a football show very weekend. i knew the results of course but couldnt follow all the in and outs except for the biggest names as football reporting was non existent then. I remember George Graham scoring on his debut and also Charlie George’s debut against everton [?].
    I went to the Swindon and Leeds LC at wembley but was unable to make the double year game. I also went to copenhagen in 99{?] where we lost again so i consider myself a jinx. So when I was offered a ticket by a friend to chelsea at cardiff I declined. Now THAT is dedication to your team!!! hahahah
    My favorite moment .. oh so many.. listening to Kennedy score on the radio at spuds.. TH14 hatrick v liverpool in 2004? Seeing the joy on my sons faces when i was given 3 ticket to the player lounge at highbury and they got the autographs of Adams, Edu, cole [rude ****] and Keown. Though I suspect I was more excited than my two Canadian born boys!!!

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  33. FR says:

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