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Arsenal: Mine is the night, with all her stars

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Gf60 concludes his series of Arsenal League triumphs with a look at the 26th May 1989;

When the South African Broadcasting Corporation decided to suspend normal Friday night TV programming to bring us the match live, some magic just had to be afoot. Football in the then rugby dominated, white supremacist South Africa? Take off Afrikaans programmes for Pommy football? Pull the other leg!

But the rumour was true. My friend Mike and I made up one of the smallest contingents of Gooners watching the game. We were, still are fanatics. Moving to South Africa had never dimmed the anticipation of reading a favourable match report, or watching an occasional pirated copy of Match of the Day and, total bliss, a full showing of Cup Finals. (OK so we forgot Ipswich and West Ham)

Our wives were banished to the kitchen to natter. This was serious men’s business. We settled back, six packs of Castle lager, crisps and biltong ready at our sides. And the game started.

I can remember but one Liverpool shot in the first half, from Rush, which had it been a foot either side of John Lukic would have taken the net with it. Suffice to say it was a mean enough shot to empty the fifth of the Castles and open the last. Our normal intake was four for the whole game.

Replenishments were hastily summoned; the wives poor Annie and Sheila were still discussing knitting or whatever women talk about at times of great husbandly stress. We weren’t very communicative. 2 goals in less than an hour? Our external composure was brave. Internally we were cotton wool and Castle.

We looked at each other and smiled. What else but faith kept Arsenal supporters supporting through the barren years? And, prior to both the double in 1971 and today, there had been many years of despondency and unrewarded faith.

Why were the beers having so little effect? A sympathetic comment or an involuntary movement of the feet accompanied every pass. McMahon was roundly cursed on many an occasion. He was covering every blade of grass and putting in crucial tackles, single handedly taking away OUR League title.

And then Nigel swings in a left footed free kick from the right. Tony goes sprawling. Smudger gets the faintest touch with his head. Pandemonium. We didn’t quite kiss and cuddle but it must have been close. But, what’s this? The ref is chatting to the linesman, both looking very serious. They chat forever. What did they say to each other? I’ve watched a replay many times and the only thing I know for certain is that lip reading ain’t my forte.

The finger points to the centre circle. 1-0 to the Arsenal. And the time ticks on. One not enough but sufficient for some silly sod on the commentary to mutter words to the effect that Arsenal may take some consolation from the win but they won’t win the league. Kevin Richardson goes down injured. We go past 90 minutes. Rueful looks at each other.

And then…Lee to Smudge to Micky….

Collectively the two of us have covered more grass and kicked more balls and made more tackles and drunk more Castle than any player on the pitch. We try to stand but someone or something had cut our legs off at the knee. We just collapse and cry. We’d done it.

(This was originally published in an anthology of Arsenal supporters and players/officials thoughts “It’s up for grabs now”, compiler Greg Mitchell 2005)

And on behalf of all PA posters, commenters and the hundreds of daily lurkers out there I wish you a very happy 75th birthday for June 29th – have a virtual cake on us –

 

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About anicoll5

Arsenal supporter, 59, Dad, harmless and humourless, political militant moderate, school governor and worker bee

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240 comments on “Arsenal: Mine is the night, with all her stars

  1. Well I hope this one’s bullshit folks. Someone in the Express claiming the earliest Santi is likely to be back is in April for u23’s. Awful news if true.

    There’s hope in that the Express are only a notch or two up from the Star in their football stories, but it would be a weird one for anyone, even them, to make up from nothing.

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  2. Ed, the problem is with the youngest and lesser spotted Willock is he is almost guarenteed never to play for ARSENAL and if he walks away for nothing as well all your getting is a developmental fee. I know it’s harsh but I’d be inclined to get rid of him now.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. i like to share my view on the ongoing saga involving our two most important players, ozil and alexis.
    one have been almost painted black while the other painted in white by a lot of the club’s fan base. despite the fact that there is nothing realy different in both situation. the general belief now is that ozil want to stay and sign a new deal while sanchez wants to go or leave on a free next season.
    the truth is that non of them have said anything to suggest or burtress the opinion of many. the only thing i see that warrant the present lies and delibrate false fabrication is the croud of suitors around alexis and not so much around ozil. ozil has been on holiday somewhere only known to a few while alexis has been out there playing and thus aesy to frequeNntly write something about him
    nobody bothered to ask why ozil has refused to renew despite having spent a season more than alexis at arsenal. they have both been offered deals since last season but the narative is that he loves arsenal but sanchez wants away. several times last season whenever ozil scored, he sucks his fingers while alexis beats the badge to show commitment.
    if anything both players are not loyal to arsenal but themself. they both wanted to get the best deal as that could be their last fat pay deal. or both players want to leave now or on a free next season. until any of the comes forward with a statement of intent to renew and actually do so, lets stop painting one black and the othe white.

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  4. A difficulty with Santi’s condition, an infection in the bone marrow (osteomyelitis), is that the recovery period is unknowable. Sometimes it can be treated with heavy duty antibiotics over 6 weeks, sometimes with surgery as in our Spaniard’s case, but no approach that the original infection will be driven out. In rare cases, bone grafting and/or fusion surgery or even amputation may be the only option if the bone has irreversibly broken down.

    The Express story is all a bit vague but seems sufficiently lacking in detail to have a grain of truth about it. That there has been, allegedly, another lengthy setback in his recovery is grim news for the player.

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  5. Santi has had 8 or 9 operations on it so far, and if this latest report is correct then it really could be game over for him

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  6. We told you Arsenal should not have signed Lacazette! – (Sunday Supplement Massive)
    James Howson • The Beautiful Pain
    July 4, 2017 7

    Why Arsenal Shouldn’t Sign Lacazette

    Well it looks like it’s finally happening, one of the longest transfer saga’s in recent memory, Alexandre Lacazette is set to sign for Arsenal after what seems like three seasons of being linked with the player. Arsenal were linked with this striker that Atletico Madrid couldn’t even negotiate a transfer ban for, which tells you how good he is if they can’t flout the rules for him like Barcelona did for Arda Turan.

    Half the price – Arsenal Cheapskates!

    Alexandre Lacazette has only scored twenty goals in three consecutive seasons in Ligue 1 so he clearly is not consistent like attackers Eden Hazard or Kylian Mbappé. Lacazette is cheap too, he will only cost around £50 million, which is nearly half what Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba. This is more penny pinching by Arsene Wenger it seems as he settles for a no name striker once again.

    I’m sorry but to sign a player who has only played in around thirty top flight European competition games is just not good enough, sure he scored goals against the best of them but that means nothing compared to the Premier League.

    What does Lacazette add that an English player couldn’t? That is what I ask, players like Jermain Defoe, Charlie Austin or even Wayne Rooney, all English and could cost about the same. Sure, he might add pace, finishing and off the ball talent mixed in a way that frightens most of Europe’s top defenders but he is unproven in the best league in the world.

    Ready to pounce if he fails to shine

    In conclusion, Alexandre Lacazette signing for Arsenal may be a sound piece of business, bringing one of the finest finishers in the game today; it may take Arsenal to the next level. Nevertheless, do not think for one second there will not be English pundits who will remind you of anything I have mentioned here, if he fails to be anything but a sterling success.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Arsenal return to pre-season training without 20 first-team players for the first session
    By
    Mosope Ominiyi –
    Jul 4, 2017

    Arsenal returned for pre-season training missing twenty first-team players for their first session on Monday.

    It doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering the majority were occupied on international duty this summe, reports the Mirror.

    As a result, they’ve since been given extra time off by Arsenal to rest ahead of a gruelling season on all fronts. Only 13 members of the squad were expected to feature at London Colney on Monday due to injuries and international commitments.

    Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck and first-choice goalkeeper Petr Cech were among those who were due to undergo initial tests following their break.

    Sead Kolasinac, who signed on a free transfer this summer following five years at Bundesliga side Schalke, also reported for duty in North London.

    Arsene Wenger reportedly put the players through a range of assessments to monitor their fitness levels, before undergoing a training ground session with coaching staff later on.

    The Gunners’ first pre-season game is against Sydney FC on July 13 in Australia, so there won’t be many training sessions at the club’s base before then.

    The players due at training on Monday were:

    Mesut Ozil, Sead Kolasinac, Per Mertesacker, Kieran Gibbs, Petr Cech, Lucas Perez, Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck, Emiliano Martinez, Francis Coquelin, Mathieu Debuchy, Chuba Akpom, Carl Jenkinson.

    The players who are set to return at later dates are:

    Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Nacho Monreal, Alex Iwobi, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny, Wojciech Szczesny, David Ospina, Alexis Sanchez, Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin, Joel Campbell, Gabriel (injured), Santi Cazorla (injured), Jack Wilshere (injured), Jeff Reine-Adelaide (injured).

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  8. must point out that many of those players that are not yet back in training are actually due back within the week.

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  9. Kroenke splashing cash on the Denver Nuggets too

    Denver Nuggets yesterday grabbed the headlines in the NBA after signing free agent forward Paul Millsap.

    he was a free agent, but the price to bring the former Atlanta Hawks All-Star to Colorado is eye-watering.

    Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns were both keen on the player, but it was the Nuggets who reached an agreement on a three-year, $90million deal for the 32-year-old.

    The Nuggets have been desperate to add a star player to their side for some years now and Kroenke’s team finally have their man.

    Millsap will now be one of the highest-paid players in the NBA and the Denver Post said that the Nuggets “landed one of the most significant free agents in franchise history.”

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  10. Speaking of splashing I am impressed with Everton in acquiring the services of Sandro Ramirez, theU21 Spaniard, who I was very impressed with in the recent tournament. Apparently they matched the players buy out clause of £5.8 million at Malaga and off he goes. I expect to see him do well next season in the PL.

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  11. I hesitate to plunge into the transfer deep end but does anyone have any idea what is going on at the Etihad ?

    Now being a mere football fan I appreciate it is only my ignorant opinion that Citeh last season were defensively dire, indeed awful at times.

    Now I can fully understand why Pep was content to let Sagna, Clichy, Zabalata go as their contracts ended, and is desperate to find a home for Managala anywhere but Manchester.

    But is the bald coach seriously intending to go into a new league season with his only experienced centre back Ottamendi, and aided only by the over-priced/rated Stones and the perpetually crocked Kompany ?

    Most odd

    Liked by 1 person

  12. anicoll

    bloody hell, you’ve not made me feel better about Santi there! Fusion surgery, bones breaking down (worst case, I know), 8 or 9 surgeries! (someone else may have said that).

    Poor bloke. Makes it worse knowing ,from reports last time around, he has understandably found it all hard to deal with.

    I remember an absolutely thunderous, dangerous-looking challenge on him in that Ludogrets game, late on I think, so i hope it wasn’t something as stupid and pointless as that which started all this off.

    Anyway, not confirmed. I’d just find it despicable and too strange even for the dregs of our media to invent this new problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. As for City…who knows. I’ve been worried for a few years now how formidable they could be if they crack (spend 100-200 mill properly) their defence.

    Mendy rumours seem plausible, and he looks a good step up from what they’ve had. Superb crosses in particular and very strong.

    Walker I think may well be true, and i expect they’ll cough up to old Levy if they really want him.

    They’ve apparently signed Barca’s great centre back hope, some 16 year old…so I expect they’ll want to leave space for him to come thro…nah, perhaps not.

    There’ll surely be lots more activity there anyway, and as you suggest another centre back seems almost guaranteed. I expect they’ll do something in midfield,too, as Fernandinho is the only one with real defensive chops there.

    Saw a journalist say yesterday that prem clubs are shocked by the prem premium european clubs are looking for. That could explain why City, Utd and Chelsea have yet to go berserk with their spending

    Liked by 1 person

  14. on the subject of spending, and Chelsea, well I seen recently that they have actually sold £130M worth of players this summer, so even with some expensive targets they are set to break even on transfers, their stock piling of players has over the last couple of years paid big dividends for them. of course it helps when roman is circling funds to the buying clubs.

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  15. Looks like we’re getting Lacazette. Inevitably some will declare how poor a signing this is in favour of someone else, but I’m quite happy if we get him. I think he will fit in really well at Arsenal and he looks like a calm and efficient finisher, which we have lacked at times. If Alexis and Ozil stay and play as the two behind him, I think we’ll score a lot more goals this season. Of course, I hope Giroud is not sold, and I really like Perez and Welbeck too and think they could play in any of the front 3 spots.

    But what of Iwobi and Jeff, not to mention Reiss Nelson who though still very young was named by Wenger as one of those who might have a role next season (maybe in the Europa?)

    Santi’s injury is unfortunate and so sad. Ideally we might want another player bought in midfield. But also, I think we should give a chance to Toral and Maitland-Niles.

    Still a lot up in the air what with transfers incoming and outgoing, and contract situations, as well as changes and new appointments in the coaching and academy setup.

    I think I’m just impatient for football to start again. Even more than usual.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. shard there are reports in the local brum papers that they are trying to bring Toral back, this time on a full time basis. If the lad is not in the tour party next week then he would seem to have no future at afc, 22 years old, and has done several loan stints, its time for a decision on him.

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  17. Jason Burt‏Verified account @JBurtTelegraph 4m4 minutes ago

    Alexandre Lacazette is at Arsenal’s training ground to complete move from Lyon. Announcement should be soon.

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  18. Jeff Reine-Adelaide was in training today and he as you may know lost his squad number to our new signing Sead Kolasinac so Jeff was wearing the number 22 kit, might be his new squad number which was Sanogo’s number.

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  19. some of the players photoed in training today – Ozil, Kolasinac, Welbeck, Gibbs, Akpom, Reine-Adelaide, McGuane

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  20. Bobby Bernard‏ @BobbyBsports 3h3 hours ago

    MK Dons have enquired about Arsenal youth players Edward Nketiah &
    Charlie Gilmour, Robbie wants them on a season long loan.

    by the way Nkeitiah was one of the young lads training with the first team today, as was Joe Willock

    Jeorge Bird‏ @jeorgebird 6m6 minutes ago

    Nelson,McGuane,Bramall,Malen,Macey,Nkeitah, J. Willock trained with first-team (latter is staying). New fitness coach Darren Burgess present

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  21. Daniel Crowley trained with first team too

    thinking about those in training due to the lack of senior players back yet, they probably only had two(senior and academy) groups training and not the 3, with no reserve/u23 group.

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  22. Oohh Akpom. I think a decision would need to be made on him soon too. Sadly, I think it’ll be the same as the one on Toral in that they will be sold. Sad because I really wanted them to make it. I still have some hope that Toral might get a squad role what with our injury issues in midfield, but Akpom hasn’t done enough to convince he could supplant any of the many strikers we already have at the club.

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  23. Reports saying Lacazette undergoing medical.
    More evidence of Wengers dithering and delaying in the transfer window, the window has been open three whole days, and we have only signed two players, a disgrace.
    Planes and banners please.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Chuba is now 21, will be 22 in oct, so if he is to be kept he would have to be given a place in our 25 man squad. Lacazette, Giroud, Welbeck, Perez, Walcott are all ahead of him for a strikers role, and we add Alexis, Ozil, Iwobi, Ox as other attacking players, not to mention Campbell is still our player. And with rumors we still want Mbappe, Lemar/Marhez, there will have to be some outgoings in that department

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  25. A club official told Standard Sport this morning that they were not aware of any setback in Cazorla’s rehabilitation. #AFC #Arsenal

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Bein sport claim arsenal are in for juve midfielder Miralem Pjanic, a santi cazorla replacement maybe

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  27. the new fitness expert, Darren Burgess, with the boss today

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Pjanic? That would be an interesting signing.

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  29. Just a P(j)anic buy after Santi’s injury. Wenger has no plan.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. wenger has never had a plan, got lucky with the back 4 and keeper when he joined, hadn’t they set a clean sheet record the season before, he got lucky that he knew the French market and no one else wanted any of the players from France, like PV4 from AC Milan, like Henry from Juventus, beating Real Madrid to Pires, got even luckier that these players ignored his instructions and tactics and won the games on their own to go unbeaten for a full league season, then lucky that we have a board that know even less than him about football and so refused to sack him, in fact they could not sack him as lucky Wenger actually picks the board, he is there boss, and then the really lucky part, he goes and cons people again by winning 3 FA Cups in 4 years, cos no other club was interested in the FA Cup, but lets not forget his biggest piece of luck, the Arsenal fans, who support him and the team to the hilt, and of course any that don’t are only doing it to make him change his ways and do things the right way, the lucky old senile french bastard.
    the do say lucky old arsenal.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. the arsenalhorse are reporting that Lacazette not the only medical done at AFC today, that we are signing a 15 year old from Spain. No name mentioned yet. We’ve been linked to more Barca youth lads in recent weeks, seemingly a big dispute going on in their academy, with some of their kids feeling that they are not being treated very well at all.

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  32. …without the back four AW inherited from GG they would never have gone a whole season unbeaten. Anyway AW was lucky with that season, if AFC hadnt have won or drawn all their games they wouldnt have been the Invincibles.

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  33. Mirror reporting that Wenger has held talks with Bellerin and that our Hector is certainly not leaving AFC

    Liked by 1 person

  34. but mills you forget that the famous back 4 instilled their spirit in Lehmann, lauren, toure, campbell and cole, there can be no denying that

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  35. Ed most bloggers think it was the GG back four that went unbeaten for a whole season, thats what I always read! Odd how that gets mixed up in their minds!
    However I think youre right it was the old spirit that Wenger creamed off. Wengers done nothing for Arsenal since he came. Just a fluke.
    Does Lacazette know what awaits him at our club?

    Liked by 1 person

  36. well we can only hope that lacazette ignores wenger and does his own thing and wins games off his own back, after all we know wenger tells the player to never shoot, and that is a fact

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Eddy is the star turn now.

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  38. always am george, but what have I done now.

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  39. New post up btw

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