Arsenal’s First Double – 50 Years Ago!

An Arsenal Blast from the Past

1970/71 – Arsenal’s 1st Double

Let’s start off with a picture of one of our most Famous teams.

Arsenal’s first double in 1970/71 was a triumph for collective efficiency and steely resolution. At one point in the league they were seven points behind Leeds United and of all places to go the Gunners had to travel to White Hart Lane, for the final game of the season on Monday May 3rd, 1971. They knew that they needed either a win or to  secure a scoreless draw to bring the title back to Highbury for the first time since 1953. A score draw would not do as Leeds United was waiting hoping for an Arsenal slip-up.

51,192 fans managed to squeeze into White Hart Lane (The Cockerel Coop) with thousands of fans outside hoping to get in – (GN5 included, but sadly to no avail).  Spurs were desperate to deny Arsenal the bragging rights in North London. It was a difficult situation to be in for the Gunners as oddly enough if they scored, they still couldn’t dare concede for as I mentioned above, a score draw would have shattered Arsenal’s dreams. A Spurs goal at any stage was most unwelcome.

Tottenham goalkeeper Pat Jennings was in splendid form and made many fine saves throughout as Arsenal tried to break the deadlock. In the end, Arsenal was the team to break that deadlock. In the 88th minute, Ray Kennedy headed in a George Armstrong cross via the underside of the bar.

The goal only meant Tottenham increased their pressure further in hopes of preventing Arsenal winning the title. A Tottenham goal would have been enough for Leeds to win the title, but there was very limited time for them to do it in.

In the end Arsenal prevailed. Bob Wilson prevented any Spurs equaliser from happening and Arsenal sealed the first half of the Double by winning the league in front of Tottenham supporters at White Hart Lane, much to the delight of our ecstatic fans.

One of GN5’s program’s from the Double season with some very famous autographs.

Next up was the FA Cup Final at Wembley on Saturday May 8th, 1971 – it turned out to be a classic encounter with Liverpool in front of a crowd of 100,000 raving supporters.

Arsenal had been drawn away in every round of the Cup and in the semi-final were 2-0 down to Stoke City, before equalising with a very controversial last minute penalty.

This forced a replay at Villa Park four days later, a game Arsenal won 2-0 with goals from George Graham and Ray Kennedy.

Now to the small matter of the most important game in our history – The FA Cup Final

a victory over Liverpool would give us our 1st League and Cup double.

Due to the clash of Liverpool’s red strip with Arsenal’s red and white colours, Arsenal wore their away strip of yellow shirt and blue shorts

Arsenal won 2–1 after extra time, with all three goals coming in the added half hour. Steve Heighway opened the scoring for Liverpool with a low drive past Bob Wilson on his near post. However, Arsenal equalised with a scrambled goal from substitute Eddie Kelly – the first time a substitute had ever scored in an FA Cup final. The goal was initially credited to George Graham, but replays showed that the decisive touch came from Kelly after Graham had struck the shot. Charlie George then scored a dramatic winner late in extra time, when his long range effort flew past Ray Clemence. This prompted George into a famous celebration – lying on his back on the Wembley turf waiting for his team mates to pick him up.

The match was played in a great spirit of sportsmanship by the players and was responded to as such by the fans. When Liverpool’s Lawler was floored with cramp late in extra time, he was helped to recover by two Arsenal players. Arsenal’s victory – and double win after a gruelling 64-match season – was greeted with an ovation by both their own and Liverpool’s fans at the stadium, and Liverpool were also cheered by both sets of fans as they took a lap of honour after the presentation of the trophy and medals.

This picture is reprinted from Gunner N5’s original copy of the Evening Standard.

Finally some more details of the Double winning team.

GunnerN5

14 thoughts on “Arsenal’s First Double – 50 Years Ago!

  • Superb stuff, GN5. You’ve made it all come back to live, even for those who were not around or following the Arsenal back then! The passion says everything.

  • You know, one has to feel deeply deeply sorry for Lucas Torrieira, losing his mother far far too soon whilst being thousands of miles away stuck in Madrid. Many of us are well aware of the pain of losing a parent and can sympathise, it’s devestating and during this period of history more so as it’s been impossible to share those precious last moments with your loved one, family and friends due to lockdowns.

    My heart goes out to Lucas and I’m sure all on here would share that thought.

    And so, Arsenal have another problem to add to all the others in recent times, where the club has been lambasted by Arsenal fans for its poor husbandry in terms of its playing staff. Quite rightly as well because some of our business over the last 5 years has been bang average.

    I’ve never known an era when Arsenal have lost so many valuable and costly players for little or no recompense and what makes it worse is that it doesn’t seem to happen as often to the other big EPL clubs as it does to us…

    This summer Edu has to somehow extract the maximum he can get from sales, in a deeply depressed market, in order to generate some funds so that Arteta can improve his squad. It’s not going to be easy getting full value for money this summer when everyone is skint…

    But back to Lucas, after a year in which he has pretty much been sidelined by Atletico and following his loss, he now comes to the conclusion that he wants to return to South America to be closer to his family in Uruguay, which makes a lot of sense. He says he wants to play for Boca Juniors, who are in Argentina which is like saying I want to be close to my family in Amsterdam so I’m joining a football club in Brussels.

    Apparently Boca have never spent more than £10+ million on a player so if he goes there we’ll be lucky to get 40% of his value and then what’s to stop him returning to Europe after a year or so for another big fee, you see for as much as I feel sorry for him I can’t escape the feeling that Arsenal could be mugged off again!

    Arsenal can’t win, we’re either going to be heartless or stupid…

  • Kev, just commented at the end of the previous post. So as not to lose this fine comment straightaway, here it is again:
    “You know, one has to feel deeply deeply sorry for Lucas Torrieira, losing his mother far far too soon whilst being thousands of miles away stuck in Madrid. Many of us are well aware of the pain of losing a parent and can sympathise, it’s devestating and during this period of history more so as it’s been impossible to share those precious last moments with your loved one, family and friends due to lockdowns.

    My heart goes out to Lucas and I’m sure all on here would share that thought.

    And so, Arsenal have another problem to add to all the others in recent times, where the club has been lambasted by Arsenal fans for its poor husbandry in terms of its playing staff. Quite rightly as well because some of our business over the last 5 years has been bang average.

    I’ve never known an era when Arsenal have lost so many valuable and costly players for little or no recompense and what makes it worse is that it doesn’t seem to happen as often to the other big EPL clubs as it does to us…

    This summer Edu has to somehow extract the maximum he can get from sales, in a deeply depressed market, in order to generate some funds so that Arteta can improve his squad. It’s not going to be easy getting full value for money this summer when everyone is skint…

    But back to Lucas, after a year in which he has pretty much been sidelined by Atletico and following his loss, he now comes to the conclusion that he wants to return to South America to be closer to his family in Uruguay, which makes a lot of sense. He says he wants to play for Boca Juniors, who are in Argentina which is like saying I want to be close to my family in Amsterdam so I’m joining a football club in Brussels.

    Apparently Boca have never spent more than £10+ million on a player so if he goes there we’ll be lucky to get 40% of his value and then what’s to stop him returning to Europe after a year or so for another big fee, you see for as much as I feel sorry for him I can’t escape the feeling that Arsenal could be mugged off again!

    Arsenal can’t win, we’re either going to be heartless or stupid…”

  • Maybe it just needs time, Kev. It is to be expected that Lucas feels like going home when something like this happens and he is not really loved either at Arsenal or AM. Arteta should get him back to Arsenal and show him some teamly love.

  • Thanks Total… 😀

    Good points about getting him back to London Colney although I wonder how much influence his wife may have on where he wants to end up? I believe that she was deeply unhappy in England and missed Italy.

  • Thank you for the very interesting post.

    I never understood why it was that Torreira, who started so well, lost favour.

    Emery started playing him too far forward and then, did not Arteta do the same?

    The complaint seems to have been that he was not strong enough. I did not notice that when he started playing for us.

    Now that everyone seems to have decided that Partey is the defender of the century, despite the fact that he has not shown anything like that, I cannot see Torreira having any future in the club. Perhaps we will get him back if the Partey experiment fails.

  • jjgsol, I think for the deeper central midfield positions there is space for Partey, Xhaka, Torreira, Elneny and AMN. Whilst I can see a lot of goods in Partey, like you, I can also see some limitations, and I hope that these are down to fitness issues currently.

  • Thanks GN5. That team photo was the first Arsenal pic I owned. Had it on my bedroom wall for years. Who is Pauline? (The autograph at the top of the program? Let me guess, Bestie’s bird of the moment?). Wow, love to hear how you got his autograph.
    GN5 and Total, if you are the men I think you are, you will love this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-3nGYY9gro
    The best football speech I have ever heard. Hilariously funny, poignant beyond words. I didn’t know Ballie had such a gift for public speaking.
    Happy Easter to all at Bergkampesque. I trust you all get a chocolate Easter Egg, hollow, just as the cave was on Easter Sunday.

  • Sweet post N5.I envy the amazing Arsenal memories you have stored up.

    Kev, I have been giving a lot of credit lately for getting the most out of Pepe. Restoring him as a player and if he gives him more starts rather than playing Willian more, I think we have something close to the player we bought, at a higher premier league quality.

    But, at the same time I think we lost alnost all the value in Torreira and Guendouzi. Handled very poorly overall. Lucas was our player of the month multiple times, we may have forgotten. I was screaming here about how we were going to lose all their value at the time it was happening, and we have almost no money to spend at the same time. I was a huge proponent of Torreira when he came from Italy and his performances for Uruguay. He was worth what we paid. He is a shut down defender and breaks up attacks as well as anyone in the world when used properly, like a little pit bull.

    We should at least try to get him back to Italy to get something for him, the clubs there know his quality.

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