Here we are at the front door of my 71st season and I’m feeling uncertain about my feelings. (After hearing of Kronke taking full control of Arsenal I’m even more apprehensive).
What has happened in my first 70 seasons, well I’ve seen 2,876 league games, thousands of different players, 19 or 20 managers, experienced us winning 8 League Titles, 11 FA Cups, 10 Charity Shields, 1 Cup Winners Cup, I Fairs Cup, 2 League Cups and 2 Doubles. All in all I’ve been around for 33 out of our total 41 trophy seasons.
I’ll attempt to encapsulate my 70 seasons into one post.
Of the players that I have seen, my top team would be –
David Seaman, Goalkeeper (1990-2003), 564 games
Nigel Winterburn, Defence (1987-2000), 584 games
Tony Adams, Defence (1983–2002), 669 games
Lee Dixon, Defence (1988-2002), 619 games
Patrick Vieira, Midfield (1996-2005), 406 games
Freddie Ljungberg, Midfield (1998-2007), 328 games
Robert Pires, Midfield (2000-2006), 284 games
Frank McLintock, Midfield (1964-1973), 403 games
Ian Wright, Striker (1991-1998), 288 games
Denis Bergkamp, Striker (1995-2006), 423 games
Thierry Henry, Striker (1999-2012), 377 games
My bench would be –
Jack Kelsey, Goalkeeper (1949-1962), 352 games
Peter Storey, Defence (1961-1977), 501 games
David O’Leary, Defence (1973-1993), 701 games
Joe Mercer, Midfield (1946-1954), 275 games
Liam Brady, Midfield (1974-1980), 307 games
Robin van Persie, Striker (2004-2012), 278 games
Doug Lishman, Striker (1948-1956), 244 games
My top managers would be –
Arsene Wenger (1996-2018) 13 trophies, average league position 2.95
George Graham (1986-1995) 7 trophies, average league position 5.1
Tom Whittaker (1947-1956) 5 trophies, average league position 5.2
The worst managers would be –
Jack Crayston (1956-1958) Zero trophies, average league position 8.5
George Swindin (1958-1962) Zero trophies, average league position 9.4
Billy Wright (1962-1966) Zero trophies, average league position 10.5
Bertie Mee (1966-76) 3 trophies, average league position 8.3
Terry Neill (1976-1983) 1 trophy, average league position 6.0
Don Howe (1983-86) Zero trophies, average league position 6.7
Their joint ineptitude covered 1,260 league games (33 seasons) they had an average league position of 8.4 and they won just 4 trophies. That’s 432 more games than Arsene Wenger managed – give that some thought?
My top seasons would be –
1947-48 – This was my first season and we won both the League and the Charity Shield.
1969-70 – After 16 seasons in the trophy wilderness we won the Fairs Cup.
1970-71 – We won our first League and Cup double.
1997-98 – We won our second League and Cup double.
2001-02 – We won our third League and Cup double.
2003-04 – The year of the Invincibles
2016-17 – We won our record 13th FA Cup.
It was sad, for me, to see the end of the Arsene Wenger era, as his teams and achievements brought me more joy than all of the other managers I’ve witnessed.
But the memories of his players and style of football are etched in my brain forever,
Who can forget Dennis Bergkamp’s wonderfully incisive passes, Thierry Henry’s runs and goals or our wonderful Invincibles – far too many memories to list.
I hope that Unai Emery brings us some of the same calibre of football that I’ve enjoyed for the last 21 seasons.
I miss being in the crowd on game days, I miss the banter in the pubs, I miss the banter with my family, I guess I miss the overall English Arsenal atmosphere. But I have my memories to fall back on and I look forward to more great times ahead supporting the Arsenal.
Written by GunnerN5