Arsenal’s 1978/79 FA cup run – A trip down Memory Lane

This is the season that we won 5-0 at the lane and came 7th in the league.

We got bragging rights over the few Spurs fans at school for ages after that.
“We all agree, Rixie is better than Hoddle” was the song (He wasn’t really..)

I was at nearly all the home games plus one away at Loftus Rd, where I’d arranged to meet the only QPR fan in my class, who didn’t show up. Quaint little ground, we won 2-1.

We dropped out of the UEFA cup around this time of year, against Red Star Belgrade. Having beaten us at their place, they got a 1-1 at Highbury with their only attack of the game (if my memory serves me right.)
Hopes had been high, having knocked out Hajduk Split the round before. A team we knew as we’d played them a year or two before for John Radford’s testimonial. The lame excuse for choosing them for this match had been that they had ‘also’ won the double before in their country. We did have a ‘knees up’ on the pitch after the match though, good fun.

In the FA Cup third round we had to play Sheffield Wednesday FIVE times to get past them!

A routine win against Notts County at home in the fourth round, then Nottingham Forest away in the Fifth. They were the hound’s goolies at the time, and listening to the match on the radio was absolute torture…
They were hitting the woodwork, there were goal line clearances, the lot. Commentators going mad.

Next up, we beat Southampton at home, another replay.

For the semi final at Villa Park, the Bro and I had the idea to stay the weekend with our aunt and cousins in Brum (Aston to be precise, so it wasn’t too far to walk to the stadium.)
We were in the big standing area at one end, that was divided right down the middle by a fence….half Wolves half Arsenal. At the end of the match, the Wolves fans starting throwing stuff, including coins (Nothing more than 2p, the cheapo b*stards)
It got quite ugly.

After the match, realizing that all the Arsenal fans were going one way, and that everyone on the road back to our aunt’s was a Wolves fan or an old Bill on a horse, we tried to discreetly slip our scarves into our jackets. Discreet as a wet fart, this enormous effin Black country Welder type says to me:
“No yuse hoiding that mate, you’re DEAD” and punched me on the nose.
The Bro and I (16 and 15 YO respectively) managed a look at each other as we went to ground one hand on head, one on balls, hoping we’d see each other alive again.
The police on their horses did FA, was probably a good laugh for them seeing two ‘cockneys’ getting their heads kicked in.
Then a voice from heaven went:
“Loive’em alowwn, they’re only babbies!”
An old dear had run out of her house to save us and it worked.

They stopped kicking us, and we staggered on to our aunt’s place where there was a party that night. Suffice to say we played the Jack the lad cockneys all night and gave it large to the Wolves fans that were there amongst the mainly Villa contingent.

For the final, we couldn’t get tickets so watched it on telly. All was going smoothly, 2-0 up till near the end, then…….
Our mum walks in and asks “Anyone want tea?” United scored.

We told her ‘no’ and to please go back to the kitchen. The stress was on.

Two minutes later, she walks in and says “The kettle is on, sure you don’t want tea?” (ah, Irish mothers….) United scored again! We screamed ” No! Get out!”

Photo by Bob Thomas/Getty Images

Bewildered, she left us to it, and Sunderland scored the winner.

I seem to remember us sheepishly going to the kitchen saying “Sorry mum…any tea going?”

Written by John Matthews Legend


34 Responses to Arsenal’s 1978/79 FA cup run – A trip down Memory Lane

  1. VP of Oz says:

    What a Legend, Brilliant!

  2. LB says:

    Great read, really entertaining, thanks for taking the time John.

    Love the Black Country accents.

  3. Big Raddy says:

    Great stuff John.

    Leaving the ground at the semi’s, we were worried about the Wolves fans and decided to walk across the park. One of us had a flag… big mistake. Thankfully none of my mates got seriously hurt but a couple got punched. It was horrible and is indelibly inked upon my memory.

    Hated Wolves ever since.

    The final made up for the disappointment of the year before.

  4. Big Raddy says:

    Chas. What is the pic in the Armoury Booth?

  5. LBG says:

    Cheers Leg End
    Remember those Sheffield Wed games with the disbelief only possible then.
    Final was one of those “oh no”, “oh yeeesss” games that only happen at the end of games that one has been confident about for 90% of the game. Nothing is impossible in footie…the!

  6. John Mathews legend says:

    Thanks to whoever it was that stuck the photos in there, and who corrected my spelling of ‘effin’….

  7. chas says:

    Cheers, JML, a good fun read. I’m also loving the Black Country accents. I can just see/hear Noddy Holder speaking in my mind’s eye.

    I didn’t go to a huge amount of games that season but managed to get to the Final. My old man had two season tickets and I think that might have been the days of programme vouchers of which we had two sets thanks to Dad and older bro.

  8. chas says:

    p.s. I’m never quite sure what gets through the Newsnow blasphemy filter. 🙂

  9. chas says:

    It’s an old graphic I found in an ‘Arsenal and football related’ entitled photo folder on my PC.
    I thought that as it was long and thin it might work in the sidebar. It doesn’t because you can’t see any detail.

    Here’s the full size version you can click on to see in its full glory.

  10. chas says:

    This is Danielle van de Donk of the Arsenal Women’s team.

  11. chas says:

    I’ve just found out that the black and white photo in the post of the Arse fans celebrating with the players plus a fist-clenching Terry Neill was not from one of the Arse v Sheff Wed replays but from the following season in the first semi-final replay with the dippers at Villa Park (it went to a third replay to decide it). Alan Sunderland had just equalised a David Fairclough goal.

    The dippers got their own back at Villa Park 12 days later in the second replay (also at Villa Park) when Dalglish equalised in the first minute of stoppages at the end of the game (Sunderland had scored in the first minute).

    Noddy Talbot decided the third replay at Highfield Road with a header can you believe? Can you imagine squeezing replays in these days?

    The less said about our desire to allow Trevor Brooking his moment in the spotlight in the Final, the better.

  12. fred1266 says:

    Loive’em alowwn, they’re only babbies!”

  13. LB says:

    Hello Danielle…………..

  14. John Mathews legend says:

    Glad you guys enjoyed the auspicious occasion of the losing of my blog-posting virginity. Was happy to chip in during the dull interlull.
    Not sure I can do too many of these as you have to string a few memories together to have enough for a post, as I soon figured out when I set about writing something. Wasn’t too hard in the context of the 78/79 season to put a few bits in an order.
    So, though virgin am I no longer……regular intercourse is not a given.

  15. Big Raddy says:

    John. There is never pressure to write a post but when they are as good as today’s we will look forward to your next effort

  16. fred1266 says:

    Former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner will serve a 50-day prison sentence for assaulting a taxi driver, the State Prosecutor of Copenhagen confirme

  17. Aaron says:

    Great read, as I would never get to experience those events in my lifetime. Only got to read about them or on see the Arenal on the tv if shown.

  18. Big Raddy says:

    The Lord is not only stupid but also violent.

    There can be no excuse for punching a taxi driver to the ground and then kicking him and breaking his jaw.

    Weird thing is that he is still footballing Royalty here in Dk, even more than Eriksen.

  19. John Mathews legend says:

    Chas, I looked up what Newsnow is, and get why you toned down my language!
    Can I write ‘f*ckin’?

  20. Ants says:

    Chas – I think that we went to the semi with Wolves together by train. I was definitely there! It was a crap match but we won comfortably 2-0 with ex Wolves man Alan, Alan Suuuunderland getting one and Stapleton the other. We were standing on the Holte End as mentioned by JML with the fence down the middle. This is the only photo I can find to illustrate what it was like (but it’s not that game)

  21. chas says:

    Don’t think I went, Ant. Was at Bath.

    I did go to the 1982/3 semi at Villa Park against Man U with the Holte End split. We lost 2-1. I was a Jonah.

  22. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    chas. I have written a post for today.

    We could write one about Jonahs :-D. At some time we have all been.

  23. chas says:

    I’ll save the one I did yesterday morning for tomorrow then. 🙂 🤡

  24. chas says:

    Mind you, it is a bit rehashed old shit so Friday is probably the best day for it.

  25. chas says:

    Bournemouth’s crest is decidely a bit for those a little light in the loafers.

  26. chas says:

  27. Big Raddy says:

    That crest is dreadful. I think it is designed by Teddy Sheringham

  28. Big Raddy says:

    There is a New Post

  29. cutttee says:

    I don’t like this ONE bit!! I don’t I don’t I don’t.

  30. Emilio Zorlakki says:

    Great read John!

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