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.