An Invitation to Highbury

This little trip down memory lane comes from my brother, Jon Vines.

The story began with Arsenal’s Double cup-winning season of 1992/3. We’d beaten Sheffield Wednesday twice in both domestic cups, the Coca-Cola and the FA Cup and the club had promised a parade of both trophies after the opening home game of the new 1993/4 season.

Jon’s son, Matt was very excited at the prospect and set about investing a big effort into making an Ian Wright poster. The plan was to move right down the front of the lower tier while the cups were paraded to within touching distance and to get Wrighty to sign the aforementioned poster.

Well, the day arrived and the parade was scheduled for after the game with dodgy Midlands opponents Coventry City. However, things didn’t go as planned and Micky Quinn, later of Talkshite notoriety, scored a hat trick and the good guys got thumped three nothing. This from Wiki, “He (Quinn) attracted the crowd chant of ‘Who ate all the Pies?’ due to his physique, which he used as the title of his 2003 autobiography. Other nicknames included ‘Sumo’, ‘Hippofatamus’, and ‘Bob’, the latter from football fans who claimed that he bore a physical resemblance to the television presenter Bob Carolgees”.

Mickey Quinn: four goals on his debut.

After the game George Graham spent so much time trying to explain the result to the media that when he returned to the dressing room, the players had got changed and a message was broadcast over the tannoy that there would no longer be a parade of the cups. As a 13 year old, Matt was devastated and Jon decided, as a shot to nothing, he would express his and his son’s disappointment by writing to the club.

Within a week, Jon’s wife took a phone call at their home and called for Jon to come take the call. When he asked who was speaking, the reply came back, ‘Ken Friar, secretary of Arsenal Football Club’! (Upon being told the details of that phone call at a later date, Vines Senior (Matt’s Grandad) was particularly impressed as Ken Friar had always been one of his heroes. Friar had reportedly been given a job as a matchday messenger aged 12 when he’d kicked his football against the car of the current Arsenal manger George Allison in 1946 and then worked his way up through the ranks to eventually become Managing Director).


The upshot of the call was an invitation, on behalf of George Graham, to visit the club and have a private audience with the manager and the cups. Jon managed to wangle an extra invite for ‘Grandad’ and the three generations of the Vines family had a guided tour of the Marble Halls, met George Graham and even got to hold the trophies. They were also the first members of the public allowed into the newly opened Arsenal Museum at Highbury.


Matt also managed to bump into Ian Wright in the corridor and got his much desired autograph after all.


The newspaper clipping below is from The Independent in March 2000 and the last line says “Even now, as a rising 20 year-old, Matthew would rank it as one of the best experiences of his childhood” Jon said. The day as a whole, that is, not just the bumping into Ian Wright in a corridor.


Written by LBG via chas.    

107 Responses to An Invitation to Highbury

  1. What a great story from the Vines family. Thank you LBG for sharing that with us.

    Shows what a really classy club we are 🙂

  2. arnie says:

    Ah, LBG and Chas, what a fantastic story and what a brilliant experience! 🙂 🙂 And yes, Peaches, what a classy club. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    And for young Matt, what a great treasure to cherish for life! 🙂 🙂

    Ah, and LBG is Jon (Big Brother) Vines indeed! What a pleasant surprise. The fantastic gentleman who discovered me in the Tavern the first time I met the Vines family, and the gentleman whose jacket I soiled by spilling half a pint on beer over. 😛

    You see, chums on AA have made a habit of changing their skins and alter egos. The case of Evonne springs to mind, but also others. So when LBG came up with some great comments some time back, I at first wondered whether it was the absconding LB in a new shell. Quickly realised it was not so, but have been thinking since then who it might be. Now I know. 🙂 🙂 🙂 What a pleasure! 🙂

  3. GOONERKAM says:

    What a great story. ARSENAL CLASS. he will remember that day all his life. IAN was one of favorite striker. So deadly . So clinical. I just can’t stand his punditry. I expect a lot more respect and understanding from our ex players. Well, for the most part I guess they do ok.
    By and by, I had my pictures taken with those two cups when they came through our neck of the woods on a tour. Great memories from that day.
    Good morning all.

  4. GOONERKAM says:

    I get a feeling KELSEY & MICKY DID IT are one and the same. 🙂

  5. rhyle says:

    Great read! This is what summer posts should be about – not whingeing about transfers that were never going to happen in the first place (which seem to be the obsession of everybody else at the moment!). Class above, as always.

  6. Rasp says:

    What a lovely story … thanks to all generations of the Vines’

    It just goes to show that if you don’t ask, you don’t get – but then it takes a club like Arsenal to come up with the goods, and they did that and more.

    A heartwarming tale amongst all the transfer angst 😛

  7. RA says:

    A charning story of your families’ connection with Arsenal, LBG, and one to cherish. 🙂

  8. RA says:

    Damn — ‘charning should be ‘charming’. 🙂

  9. LB says:

    I’m sorry to use the same adjective as many above but it is perfectly suited: that really is a lovely story.

  10. RA says:

    Hi Rhyle, long time no see, and I suppose you won’t be back until the duck grows another tooth! 🙂

    Absolutely agree with you, by the way, regarding the incessant caterwauling about the lack of activity in the – not even commenced – Transfer Window.

    I have come to realise that it is not the transfer window, or the flood of unfounded rumours it generates, that gets on my tits, it is the childishly petulant strops that some fans like to indulge in when the newspapers and the blogs do not carry any confirmed reports of Arsenal signings, and then they have the sheer nerve to think we want them to share their puerile rage with us.

    Sadly, I have been unable to find a way to convince them that I do not care a fig for what they think about the lack of signings, [they seem to find it incomprehensible that no signings can occur before the 1st July] and neither do I care to hear their dyspeptic views on Mr Wenger.

    Hopefully they will read this and the penny might drop.

    [No AAers were alluded to in this comment.
    I am sure that you want me to share with you my dyspeptic views and puerile rage at these transfer malcontents. After all, I am not like them at all — am I?] 😀

  11. LBG says:

    Thanks to all AA’s for your kind words, and now that my secret is out perhaps I can relax a little as I reply occasionally to views on the site.
    Thanks to my little bro for doing credit to our story and apologies to you Arnie for an out of proportion reaction to your little accident. Always been a ‘protect your own possessions man’, and criticised by my own on occasions for that intensity.
    Glad to be a contributor to the best site on the best Football Club in the land.
    Just off to Royal Albert Hall for a Mozart/Vivaldi concert tonight. (Sounds snobby) so wont be on site again til tomorrow. Laters!

  12. GunnerN5 says:

    Jon, That was a heartwarming story and one that you will obviously look back on for the rest of your life. What makes it even more special is the fact that you have photographic evidence, and of course meeting one of Arsenal’s heroes at the same time.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

    It must have felt Wright, Wright, Wright – right?

  13. chas says:

    My pleasure, LBG.
    It’s such a good story, it would be difficult to ruin it, even for me.

  14. Edddie says:

    aaahhhhhh, talking about dreams come true….great story!
    much nicer than the one about Eddie Hopgood

    This gave me a great idea – I can write to Wenger pretending to be a 10 year old and disappointed fan, I could say I couldn’t get a ticket to Wembley . He sends me an invite, I recruit a kid from the neighbourhood and then I will be banging on about it for the rest of my life 🙂 I once did a geography quiz for kids and won. My son was given a 24 volume Encyclopedia

  15. Big Raddy says:

    Fantastic story. I wonder whether the current management would do the same? Sadly, I doubt it.

  16. Edddie says:

    well, I wouldn’t be so sure Raddy. I know of a fan who received a personal letter from le Boss with some thoughts on life and marriage

  17. arnie says:

    LBG: not at all, you are a kind person. 🙂

  18. arnie says:

    Speculations, idle speculations, so be it. good fun nevertheless.

  19. arnie says:

    Allegedly, two youth players, MF and LB, with unpronounceable names signed through Greek Arsenal academy. 🙂

  20. chas says:

    Saw these last night.
    Not quite Mozart/Vivaldi but good fun. 🙂

  21. chas says:
  22. chas says:
  23. VCC says:

    Arnie 12:52….oh how I wish your scenario would come to fruition. Never thought of it like that, but it makes perfect sence.

    I know we are blessed with an abundance of mid fielders but players of Cescs ability don’t come round too often. Also Arteta and flamini are ageing somewhat, and will need replacing very shortly.

    Cut price Cesc and SQ ST plus another right back…….sorted. 🙂

  24. chas mobile says:

    If we forego 16.5m we might have got from a sale to the chavs and add 18-20m on top of that, doesn’t it mean we would effectively be paying 34.5-36.5m?

  25. Edddie says:

    you won’t find such pretty slim girls anywhere now and nobody would dare to dress a dog in a suit – animal cruelty is illegal these days

    VCC – Cesc wears blue now. time for me to remove his photo from the wall

  26. Edddie says:

    good news guys – Sony requested an official investigation into corruption claim by Qatar. they are one of the major sponsors of the world cup and if others follow, we have a chance!! All we need is one of those who were bribed and voted for Qatar to do the honest thing and come clean. and then, then, then England could host the competition!!!

  27. LBG says:

    Morning Edddie
    Certainly good news that corruption sham of allocation to Qatar could be overturned with the threat of big business sponsors threatening to withdraw, Shame it takes that however to get some honesty into the working man’s game, but who wants Britain to host a World Cup?Not I!

  28. Morning all

    VCC – if you see this message, you might need to check your email account, arsenalnuts received a message form you at 2.31am – it was a copy of an email that you’ve sent before ……. weird.

  29. Does anyone want to write anything about last night’s game, I only saw up to the thunderstorm and fell asleep at the restart 😉

  30. Morning LBG – thanks for the post, I’m sorry there weren’t more people around yesterday chatting.

  31. Lat night …………. I loved the way the guy from Florida laid claim to ‘thunderstorms’ as a way to describe what was happening with the weather ……. 😉 😉 😉

  32. Not too many posts to choose from today ……….. we’re going to need some additions to the cupboard.

  33. arnie says:

    motning all.

    why do we want a post on last night’s game? we do not care particularly about internationals, plus the game itself was not that exciting.

    A photo of the lightning would be sufficient. 😛

  34. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning all, I haven’t heard any factual truth’e of transfers to The Arsenal, so i can only assume Wenger will look when he comes back from his well paid holiday job in Brazil.

    I like and admire Wenger and when he said that being a full time Premier manager takes all of his time, i naturally thought he meant close season as well.

    Although his work throughout the playing season is second to none, i would question his work in transfer windows. Personally i would have liked him to be negotiating deals at this time of the year, not getting ready as a commentating Journo . Arsenal are losing some top class players, and i feel that we should try and replace them and get them integrated as quickly as possible before the new season starts.

    Our spending over the last few years has only sprung one surprise with a 42.5 million record Mesut Ozil. The chances of us signing another 40 odd million player is pretty remote so a world cup top player is probably not on the cards so why haven’t we secured new players.

    Lets face it we don’t have to wait till the world cup final as any top players who shine in the final will be out of our price range, so our business should be done, and only need signing.

    Of course silly me, that is probably what has happened as the window is not yet open, The deals have been done so now its holiday time 🙂

    I would have attempted a post for today of England’s Performance last night , but sadly the lightening was far more exciting than the backwards sideways passing football on display.

    Honduras must have been practising for a war as their combat skill conquered over football skills, Hodgeson said after the game ” This is a game i can quickly forget” well said Roy

  35. chas mobile says:

    Why not use my FA Cup post?

  36. arnie says:

    Yes, Chas, I like that. We cannot have enough of the FA Cup. 🙂 🙂

  37. stevepalmer1 says:

    How rude of me to not comment on a fine post, well written LBG,
    Arsenal have got a heart after all.

    I like a story like this one as youngsters of today seem to be given everything they want, as parents want their kids to have a lot more than what they had.

    I don’t think its about people being better off now a days, as children today expect more.

    Back in the day that Arsenal made that gesture i bet any kid would take that moment to the grave with them, tattoo’d on the memory and Gooner for life.

  38. stevepalmer1 says:

    I don’t really think any investigation of Quatar would make any difference to the location, as the compensation would be so great that FIFA could not possibly afford the move.

    It will go off on schedule and it will be a massive success. That’s how corruption works nowadays, just like it always has.

  39. JM says:

    @ stevepalmer1, June 8, 2014 at 11:59 am

    A little brief on negotiations:

    1st stage of official contact* from us to selling club(s): Ivan Gazidis, Richard Law and his team.

    2nd stage of official contact* from us to player(s) and his/their agent(s)/agency, after the transfer fee (and add-ons) are agreed between both clubs: The above group, plus Arsene Wenger.

    * Unofficial contact(s):
    Our players “acting the role of agent” to “target” player(s), our negotiation team to player(s) agent(s)/agency etc.

    In short, AW’s presence at the negotiation table is not required at the moment; while he is on an unofficial scouting trip in Brazil.

  40. arnie says:

    JM: agreed. a quick correction. Wenger is on an “official” scouting trip in Brazil disguised as a French journo. 😛

  41. arnie says:

    Steve. It is not in our interests to give away our interests early in the transfer season. That way, we lose our efficiency in doing transfer business. We have not done this in the recent past, and we have been successful in keeping our true targets away from the media attention.

    Wenger is a master in this trade. I would retain my faith in his transfer dealing for a while yet. 🙂

  42. stevepalmer1 says:

    OK guys, i bow down to your superior knowledge, never let it be said that i don’t look at both sides of the story 🙂

  43. arnie says:

    Steve. No superior knowledge, but diversity in alternate views of the world is what we celebrate. 🙂 🙂

  44. arnie says:

  45. stevepalmer1 says:

    Arnie, your a smooth talker all-right, 🙂

  46. RockyLives says:

    No new Post?

    There are some in the cupboard…

  47. RockyLives says:

    I love Arnie’s post earlier about our potential Cesc strategy. If true, it makes a lot of sense.

  48. RockyLives says:

    I vaguely remember going to see a band called (I think) The Revillos.

    Are the Rezillos any relation?

    Also what ever happened to The Only Ones?

  49. GunnerN5 says:

    arnie, your post at 12:52 was worthy of being a Post in its own right, and was certainly deserving of more discussion.

    Where the heck has everybody disappeared to?

    For my part I hope your assessment is correct as any team would benefit from having Cesc in the squad – even Arsenal.

  50. arnie says:

    Not my analysis, but I found it on twatter, so I am happy to make claims on it. Sounds plausible to me, and some food for thought. That is why I posted. 😛

  51. chas says:

    Yes, Rocky.
    The one letter change was because of some copyright wrangle, I think. Rezillos to Revillos.
    They’re back performing as the Rezillos now.

  52. RockyLives says:

    So this is the first day ever without a new AA Post 😦

    Sad day.

  53. RockyLives says:

  54. RockyLives says:

    Just thinking – hope all is OK with Rasp and Peaches.

  55. neamman says:

    I had a friend whose son was coaching a youth team in Canada. He wrote to AW for advise and got a personal letter with tips. Sounds like a class act.

  56. RockyLives says:

  57. RockyLives says:

    Did you ever doubt he was a class act?

  58. RockyLives says:

    I miss Punk

  59. arnie says:

    hmmm. hope all is fine ….. Raddy not around as well?

  60. RockyLives says:


  61. RockyLives says:

  62. LB says:

    I moved to Toronto in 77

  63. LB says:

    And the result

  64. LB says:

    There was a time when I would tell anyone who would listen that I was at the 100 club when the Pistols played.

    But now, damn, it just makes me sound like a really old get.

  65. chas says:

    An old get with a great heritage. 🙂

  66. RockyLives says:

    Well I’m impressed LB!

  67. arnie says:

    More on the Cesc saga:

    This is somewhat tasty, irrespective of whether we want or would see Cesc in Arsenal colours again. 😛

  68. RockyLives says:

    Hmm arnie
    That article makes no reference to us getting 50% of whatever fee Barca get for Cesc…

  69. arnie says:

    Yes, Rocky, that is right. The statement here is different, and more specific. “Arsenal … are due around 50 per cent of any profit Barcelona make on the Spaniard.”

    Who knows whether this is true. 😛

    But even if it were, all depends on how one calculates pofits. If indeed, as the article suggests, profits are what the next club (say Chavs) pay Barca less what Barca spend on Cesc (say £28m). Say then Chavs pay £30m, Arsenal get £1m and Barca £1m.

    If on the other hand, Arsenal offer Barca £11m, Barca will make £10m more. Interesting. !!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  70. arnie says:

    Sorry, my calculations are rubbish. But you would get teh idea where I am going.

    As well, I cannot see a situation where Barca will be able to offset Cesc’s pay from the profit calculations.

    Clear as mud, but interesting. 🙂


    Wonderful story LBG. Absolutly brilliant for the young lad and a great gesture from the club. Its storys like this that make me proud to be a Gooner.

    A lovely experience for your whole family.

    Carolgees broke my heart that day to. After been devastated by a man who spent most of his adult life sticking his arm up a fake dogs backside, I recall getting home, having an argument with the Mrs, and ending up assaulted with a frying pan.

    I should have written a letter aswell.

    Dear Mr Graham

    Very disapointed there was no parade with the cups. All i got on the day was the feeling that a fake dog has used me as a lampost and after an accident with a frying pan, a face resembling a pancake.

    Even though I am a grown man with a face that can frighten a team of scaffolders, any chance of a stadium tour?

    Yours in salivatory expectaion
    Terry Transplant

  72. arnie says:

    ha ha ha ha ha ha

    OK, that was only against Jamaica, nevertheless. 🙂

  73. arnie says:

    A request. Can someone knowledgeable (or opinionated, or both) do a post on Arsenal players in the World Cup.

    Another one on transfer linked players will also be good.

    Bollix is fine, banter even better. 🙂 🙂

  74. arnie says:

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  75. arnie says:

    oh dear, I think Chas posted this earlier!

    Perhaps this one as well. nvertheless, no harm done. 🙂 🙂 😛

  76. arnie says:
  77. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah haaaa, I’m back in me right clothes with the correct name tag in me collar.

    Have we signed anyone really expensive yet?

  78. Edddie says:

    who’s that?

  79. MickyDidIt89 says:

    You are a queer fish Edddddddddddie. Care to explain the name?

    Great news from Newsnow. We are “eyeing” some seriously expensive players and that makes me happy. Any player costing less than about £30M is pants in my book.

  80. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hey Eddddddddie

    We have zillions of bees buzzing about the new gaff. Does this mean there is a beekeeper within three miles, or could they have set up camp here. Reckon I need to follow them at sundown.

  81. Edddie says:

    hi Micky!
    1. Bees – possibly much closer than 3 miles. My guess is that you have a feral swarm somewhere. is there lots of forage in your gardens, something in flower that they go to? Or a source of water like your swimming pool?

    2. Eddie is for Eddie Hapgood. Following great recent post from GN5 I decided that Eddie needs more recognition. Almost forgotten, fantastic player, true Gooner let down by own club

    3. any more questions dearest?

  82. chas says:

    Cantona – pffft.

  83. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh ok. My money was on Edie Sedgwick. 60’s Warhol model type.

    Yes, lots of forage. No source of water, although weirdly someone used to have a swimming pool inside the walled veggie garden, but thankfully its been filled in.

    Is following the bees a good idea, and if so, should I disguise myself? If yes, the obvious problem is that I only have my gorilla suit. Would that give me an advantage?

  84. Edddie says:

    lovely lad, thanks Sliczny

  85. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Help. Who is likely to be Brazil’s top scorer?

    Wall chart to fill in, and need WC Top Scorer.

  86. Edddie says:

    Micky!!! you nutter
    I like Warhol, but not his models, except for the blondie

    you cannot follow bees in a gorilla outfit, ffs, what are you on?? They fly, you know, sometimes very high. But try to watch their fly pattern – where are they carrying the necter from the flowers to? Now, is too early, try when is above 15 degrees. What colour are they?

  87. RA says:

    Oh, Micky,

    You know full well that a gorilla would never fool a bunch of bees, unless he was wearing a yellow sash, in which case they would think he was old uncle Bumble.

    Do get with the beat.

    And watch out for advice from Eddie with the extra ‘d’.
    Them bees sound more like wasps, and are probably nesting in your loft – and they do not like gorillas, even one just lounging around wearing nothing more than a nonchalant smile.

  88. Eddie says:

    RA 🙂 I didn’t even notice da extra d
    nay, if there are lots of them and lots of buzzing, they are probably honey bees. I am interested in the colour because I was told that the black british is very popular down south.

  89. MickyDidIt89 says:


    “What colour are they?”

    Mmmm, best look more carefully, but so far I believe it’s stripey pyjamas early doors, and it appears from a distance that it’s formal wear for dinner. Black or white tie I haven’t worked out yet.

    Will keep you bang up to date.

    Bloody hell, it was serious football talk without me stinking the place out.

  90. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ahoy RA

    Edddddie, honey bees for sure. Seriously, I will try and identify. I know there are both British and the more varroa resistant Italians in Devon.

  91. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Just found a book with identifying pics, and 49 different bees. It’s a British insect book as well. Suit on. Later.

  92. LBG says:

    Yellow bands round your gorilla suit, a couple of antennae and a pogo stick might work!

  93. Eddie says:

    When they have lots of forage, they won’t bother you. LEt them bee. But observe, are they feral colony, a neighbour’s mob or foragers from far away. I don’t think you would need to do anything about them. Feral colonies seldom survive winter, and if they belong to someone – hands off , they are expensive commodity

    BTW – what happened to the hives you had in the old digs?

  94. Eddie says:

    ants and bees are the same family, do you like honey LBG?

  95. RA says:


    You are spot on. Ants and bees are genetically related, and of course many ants grow wings, swarm and fly from the nest to set up colonies elsewhere.

    Don’t tell Micky because it will confuse him, but the invading ‘Italian’ bees were first introduced into the UK in the 1850s and are now really an indigenous species, although they do not shave their legs.

  96. See, there were far more comments from regulars without a new post ……….. I rest my case 😉

  97. arnie says:

    ah, Peaches is in good spirit! 🙂

    motning all.

    ants and bees and wasps and Micky’s strange habits. so much new to learn everyday on AA. 😛 even without a new post. 😛

  98. We have a New Post …………………..

  99. arnie says:

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