Arsenal: Mine is the night, with all her stars


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 –



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

  1. anicol that is the question that needs to be asked off the PGMOL and the refs themselves, and off FIFA and UEFA,
    But while we are at it, ask them why divers are not punished, why clear cheating is not dealt with.
    Why is the will not there to clean up the game. Is it that they actually believe that its what the fans want, its what makes the game attractive, after all FIFA have been saying for years that VAR not good for the game cos it would take away the talking points, and then what would we do without talking points, actually have to discuss the skills of the game, now that would never do, would it

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Joel Campbell could miss all of Arsenal’s preseason as he is playing for Costa Rica at the CONCACAF Gold Cup , which starts next week


  3. https://mobile.twitter.com/RehanArsenal/status/881253333696221185/video/1

    Are the transfermongers in meltdown (a major click trawl) over the rumours surrounding my Mensa member (see the video clip) fantasy signing being re-signed up by Young Pep? Who clearly learnt his lesson following the above incident!

    Heh. Heh. Heh.


  4. Jason Burt‏Verified account @JBurtTelegraph 20m20 minutes ago

    Told fee for Lacazette to move to Arsenal is now agreed at 53m euros plus 7m euros in add-ons. More on @TeleFootball


  5. £46M rising to £52M for Lacazette according to the Telegraph


  6. Matt Spiro‏Verified account @mattspiro Jul 1

    Lacazette is the first player to score >20 league goals in 3 consecutive seasons in France since Papin in ’91. JPP won Ballon d’Or that year


  7. I see Papin play for France at Highbury when ARSENAL beat them 2-0
    Meeh not that good

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Héctor Bellerín‏Verified account @HectorBellerin 6h6 hours ago

    I promised to donate £50 for every minute I played at #U21Euro. I will be donating to @BritishRedcross. Please support in any way you can 🙏

    but because he is an Arsenal player this gets less coverage than him not discarding the silver medal at the Euro U21’s like so many of his team mates(which for me was a pure show of disrespect for the Tournament and of course for the very good German team that won it).

    Liked by 2 people

  9. ian do you remember how Arsenal were said to have as good as committed an act of treason for playing France, as it helped France get used to the style of English football and so aid their qualifying for the world cup 1990, they were in scotlands group, in the end they did not make it, George Graham said at the time he had shown how to beat France, so in fact Arsenal were aiding Scotland to qualify


  10. Thank you GF60, really was most enjoyable reading your articles

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas says Alexandre Lacazette to Arsenal deal won’t be more than around €50m (£44M) and that deal should be concluded within 48 hours


  12. Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas on Alexandre Lacazette to Arsenal deal: “It will be done for between €45m to €50m.”

    so that is a fee between £39.5M and £44M, meaning he would not start out being our record fee paid, Ozil would remain our dearest signing at £42.5M


  13. Ivan Gazidis said the other evening at the Q&A to the malcontents something along the lines of “if you listened to me you might learn something”, and it brought back something Ivan said this time last year, maybe at the Q&A event. It was about player contract renewals. He said that it actually made good sense to have players at different levels of time left on their contracts, and that sometimes it makes good sense to let players contracts run down. So lets look at that, does it makes sense.

    Now first a disclaimer or two. Although I have some accounts qualifications I am no expert in accounting, and I don’t know the ins and outs of our players wages or what we have offered them, but for the purpose of this I will go with what has been reported in a few of the more reliable outlets.

    Ozil and Alexis are our two biggest named players, and are our two highest earners, both on something like £150K a week. So that is £7.8M a year. Now a year ago Arsenal offered both of them 4 year contracts worth an extra £100K a week, that is £5.2M of an increase. It would have brought their wages to £250K a week, or £13M a year.

    But now Arsenal are said to be offering them £280K a week, or £14.56M a year, that is £1.56M a year more than a year ago, so the ASB and malcontents will say how does that make financial sense.

    Well a year ago we wanted both players to sign up to the summer of 2020. That would be 4 years at an extra cost of £5.2M a year on our wage bill. Or £20.8M of a wage increase over the period.
    Now assuming we still want them to stay with us till the summer of 2020. With a wage increase of £7.06M a year, or a total of £21.18M. Which is only £380K a year, which is just over £7300 more a week over the course of the contract.

    Yes its still extra money, but we have for that £7,300 a week more, gone from offering them £250K a week to offering them £280K a week, And if we really want to push the both out an extra £20K a week more on the offer would mean we are at the point of actually offering them a “double your wages” – from £150K a week to £300K a week. but at only an extra cost of £27,300 a week over the next 3 years more than our original offer. A total of £4,258,800 over the course of the contract. But just think about how that offer actually sounds to the player, “double your wages”. Man City used that for several years to unsettle players into forcing moves to them.

    Now I hear you say that it still has cost us extra money. Yes, no one is arguing it doesn’t, but here is the catch. We are offering the player £300K a week, so what is the biggest implication of that. Well any club wanting to sign Alexis or Ozil would be expected to pay at that level, and unlike us, who are adding an extra £7.8M a year for the player to our wages, any new club would be adding £15.6M to their wages, and of course any transfer fee this summer. Lets say another £40M plus fee. so over the course of a 3 year contract that is over £85M at the very least.

    It must be remembered too that for us to sell the player this summer we would seek the player to put in a transfer request, saving us loyalty bonuses, and any cut of the transfer fee the player would be due. RVP found out to his cost that sometimes even without any official written transfer request the club won’t pay out these payment either, in his case his open letter was taken as a transfer request, and the club even dared him to take it to law, whereupon his advisors dropped it.

    Now we have the question about what sense would it make for us to forgo any transfer fee this summer and keep the player for the final year of his contract and let him leave for free next summer.
    Well again just going on wages alone, AFC would over the course of the players final two years have saved ourselves something in the region of £15.6M in saved wages, and another £31.2M savings in proposed wages for the extra two years we wanted to contract the player for.
    So that is £46.8M from wages alone that the club would have budgeted for but not spent. Now that means of course we would overall likely lose money, after all we would have to spend big to buy players of similar quality, and pay them big too. But we would be looking to buy younger, and also pay much lower than the proposed £300K a week we can offer Ozil or Alexis.

    Ivan Gazidis pointed all this out last summer, yes we might lose money, but its not nearly as simple as saying we lose all of the transfer fee and still will end up paying the big bucks in wages to any new guy too. So maybe, just maybe, it actually makes some sense letting a player run down their contract, and lets not forget that if said players have a good year with us, and we win a trophy or two, we earn more in winnings that would compensate for any lost transfer fee.

    Must also add that Ivan pointed out that just cos we would not have an agreement this summer and the player goes into his final year, that we would be out of the running to extend their contract during the season. Foreign clubs can only begin talks with the player in january, and english clubs can only begin talks next june. Also IG pointed out that Arsenal can treat one of our players who is facing a bosman situation as we would any Bosman player we wanted to sign, and we can offer them the extras in signing on fees and bonuses etc. which again changes the landscape of what sort of overall contract we can pay.

    Now that will have made it all as clear as mud, you are welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Clever and interesting maths Eduardo.
    I wonder if one may sign, the other may not…..kind of splitting the difference?
    Then there is the possibility, if reports are correct , of swap deal.
    Will be interesting to see how this develops, but I get the feeling the club may be prepared to let at least one of them play into their final season.
    Of the ,with respect, lesser talented players nearing end of contracts,would imagine a few would be sold?


  15. Mandy we have about 10 senior players – over 21 – who we need to move out, be in full time or on loan, so if we can do that it will bring in some transfer fees and take a good chunk of our wages.

    We have the first of the senior players back in training tomorrow, I think Ozil, Kolasinac, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Cech, Lucas, Walcott, Welbeck, Martinez, Coquelin, Debuchy, Akpom, Jenkinson are all due back in the first group, and then those that had some international football such as Koscielny, Ramsey, Giroud, Ox, Monreal, Iwobi, Xhaka, Elneny, Szczesny and Ospina will be the next batch to return, maybe end of the week or next Monday, just in time for the trip to Australia and China.

    Alexis, Mustafi, Chambers, Holding, and Bellerin expected to get next four weeks off, so Community Shield might be their first game time.
    And Campbell is set to play Concaf tournament starting next weekend, so will miss most likely all of preseason.

    Its amazing to think that playing for the England u21’s this summer could actually hasten the departure of Chambers from Arsenal, with him likely to miss the next 3 to 4 weeks of preseason, and the opportunity to stake a claim to be kept.

    Wilshere and Cazorla still out injured, jack might not be far off returning to training. Gabriel should be back very soon if all has gone well in his recovery.

    Reine-Adelaide soon back from injury too.

    Maitland-Niles had international duty too this summer so might not be back for a couple of weeks too.

    Once signed Lacazette should be in training withing the week and should make the tour trip.

    I’d say that the squad picked for the Australia and China trip will give us a big indication as to the Arsenal futures of many of the squad men, such as Debuchy, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Akpom etc. I think we will not bring anyone who is in any sort of talks about being transferred out, we are unlikely to bring players to the other side of the world if we have clubs in England and Europe trying to sign them.


  16. of the younger players Zelalem is out injured long term too, and as stated Maitland-Niles could be late back, but our young Nigerian lad Nwakali is set to train with the senior squad, and might make the tour party.
    With Mustafi, Chambers and Holding, not to mention Bielik(who was also on internationa duty, but who is expected to go on loan to maybe Norwich) due back late, and Gabriel with fitness concerns, we might see Ben Sheaf make the tour squad.

    Mavadidi is still recovering from injury so is likely to miss out on the squad, might have anyway with us being strong in senior strikers.
    If not sent on loan, Bennacer might make the squad.
    Tafari Moore might be the surprise name in the squad, what with Bellerin set for a few weeks off, leaving us needing a right wing back(that is of course if we are leaving Debuchy and Jenkinson behind to sort out moves, otherwise we are actually overstocked), Chori Johnson an option too, but of course the fore mentioned Ben Sheaf can play there too.

    Despite Wenger mentioning Reiss Nelson as a lad who will be in the first team squad this season, I doubt he will make the tour squad.

    We will likely have one squad for the Australia trip, and then add more of the senior players, late returners, to the squad for the games in China.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. my feelings on the futures of Alexis and Ozil is that both will be kept at Arsenal for the coming season. only way I think either will be allowed leave is if they really demand to be let go.
    Ozil the most likely to sign a new deal, Alexis the most likely to force a move. Although I actually think there is a good chance both will sign new deals. Kolasinac and Lacazette a good start in convincing them to stay, and of course £300K a week helps too.


  18. Q: do the ranters/ASB/Wob/LG etc use Arsenal FC as an excuse to be hurt ?
    a) why would they do that?

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Sanchez’s inflated ankle and general level of fatigue as evidenced yesterday should probably mean that he should not play again till September at the earliest.

    He’ll be asking to play in the first game, hopefully the new physio will stomp his feet and say: “non!”

    Another consideration to put the transfermongers output into context. I could be completely wrong here but remembering that the mangers are discussing athletes and not cattle in an abattoir *coughs* “coz dey iz against Modern Football” (but not pgMOB hoofball) surely a fatigued player who won’t get any rest next summer cant be that appealing for a buyer….?


  20. mongers > mangers


  21. Tim Stillman‏ @Stillberto

    Oh I see, Arsenal breaking their transfer record JUST 11 MONTHS before season ticket renewals are due. Typical 🙄


  22. rumor that Jens Lehamann is joining our coaching staff


  23. Q: by giving AW a new contract it can be seen that AFC are going to do what they want, rather than be “advised” by the ranters/ASB/Wob etc.
    Seeing how much money was wasted by the Wob aeronautic fly- by team (the brown arrows?) would it be better or more prudent for the brown fly- by- nights to donate their money to a better cause instead of wasting it?
    Also why did it not cross their minds to send up a banner that read “come on Arsenal you can do it- we love you!”? etc. Theres no money in positivity? Where theres muck theres brass?

    Liked by 5 people

  24. well Mills why wouldn’t ASB waste money on their wenger out campaign, and at same time be critical of how the club spends its money, when they see Tim not so nice but dim Payton continue to be elected a mouthpiece for AST and be critical of how the club spends its money when he and his mob wasted £250K given to them by the club for fanshare, and AST continue to ignore calls to explain how they wasted the money, and they just keep blaming Stan and the board for the failure of FanShare.


  25. if Mad Jens gets hired to the coaching staff, how will the ASB explain it away, how would us bringing in a man who is known for his outspoken behavior fit with their soundbite that Wenger won’t hire any one who might disagree with him.

    Also it would be at least the 4th staff addition this summer, and this after all the columns of fake outrage they spewed cos some rag suggested that there would be no additions once Wenger signed his new deal despite Gazidis catalyst for change talk,


  26. one thing about Lehmann returning, he said when he started his coaching badges that he was not interested in being just a Goalkeeping coach, that he wanted to be a regular coach, so if he returns to AFC it is likely to be as one of our coaches, especially as our GK coach Gerry Payton has reported to have signed a contract extension and Andy Woodman is said to have come in as a keepers coach too.


  27. eduardo1966‏ @edminton1966 1m1 minute ago

    As we know Wenger don’t like anyone who might question him he is set to hire the timid and mild mannered Jens Lehmann as s 1st team coach

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Willock:

    Safe to say the kid was poached by the portugeezah Mendez?

    A technically accomplished English footballer is literally worth more then their weight in gold.

    it’s not a simple black and white issue?

    Perhaps the kid’s family felt that if someone like Wilshere can be repetitively clogged off the park – please refer to the cheating call by the hapless cheat Dean *gollum gollum* re-McNair etc (yes I know who Gabriel is) – if they felt that then perhaps they thought that the kid who is slight when compared with Iwobi would not get the protection as outlined in the laws of Ass. Football which would be required in order to allow him to prosper (which is why these laws were invented 150 years ago – can someone please tell the pgMOB?).

    Perhaps they just thought it’s easier to get minutes at Benfica then in the current AFC squad (Sanchez is staying! Heh).


  29. Worth repeating how insane the elite AFC blaggers portrayed themselves last season with their rubbish regarding another top English talent, Chamberlain. Seriously weird sh*t.

    Given what we know of agents, how we’ve seen AFC players’agents set up transfers, given that Chamberlain’s agent got £50M for a lesser talent (not a poor player by any means), then these expert blaggers either:

    a) Know absolutely nuffink about football, including the Home Grown rule

    b) Or like others they are simply desperate parasites, possibly on commission

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Arsenal close to appointing Jens Lehmann as a first-team coach to work alongside Wenger and Bould

    Jeremy Wilson, Deputy Football Correspondent

    3 July 2017 • 5:38pm

    Arsenal are finalising the highest-profile addition to their backroom team so far this summer with the appointment of their ‘Invincible’ goalkeeper Jens Lehmann as a first-team coach.

    Significantly, Lehmann will be tasked with working directly alongside manager Arsene Wenger, assistant manager Steve Bould and first-team coach Boro Primorac with the club’s senior players.

    Gerry Peyton will remain goalkeeping coach – a position he has had since Lehmann joined as a player in 2003 – with Lehmann himself due to take up a role across the entire squad.

    Lehmann worked on his coaching badges at Arsenal’s London Colney training base after first leaving the club as a player in 2008 and even had another short emergency return where he made one final appearance as a back-up goalkeeper in 2011.

    Jens Lehmann worked on his coaching badges at Arsenal’s London Colney training base

    This is his first formal coaching position, with Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis confident that just his presence will positively influence the squad and help to reinforce a stronger, winning mentality.

    Although Arsenal finished their season well and won a record 13th FA Cup, their Premier League challenge was undermined by a terrible dip from the end of January until April and they ultimately finished fifth.

    Lehmann, 47, played in every game of the club’s unbeaten 2003-4 season and also helped the club to win the 2005 FA Cup after a penalty shoot-out against Manchester United. He was also in the team that reached the 2006 Champions League final, where he was sent off against Barcelona.

    Lehmann’s arrival is part of an overhaul of backroom staff this summer. Darren Burgess is coming in with the title ‘director of high performance’ to work alongside Shad Forsythe, the current head of athletics performance, who was part of Germany’s World Cup-winning backroom team.

    Arsenal are still assessing candidates for the role of academy director but Andy Woodman, who is a close friend and former team-mate of England manager Gareth Southagte, has been appointed to work with the club’s younger goalkeepers. Huss Fahmy has also joined direct from Team Sky in cycling and has begun work on contracts with transfer negotiator Dick Law and Gazidis.


  31. Well that’ll give Adams and Henry the goat. A first team coaching job when they were only offered a role with the youth? Almost as if coaching ability and credentials have something to do with it.

    By the way, when I watched a feature on the Invincibles a few years ago, I remember thinking that Jens Lehmann would one day make a great manager. I’m not sure exactly why, but he seems to have the personality and even more, the desire to become one.

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Jens Lehmann will soon be declared and dismissed as just another yes man, like those famously timid characters Pat Rice and Steve Bould.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. A yes man?

    Ja Jens ja!

    Liked by 4 people

  34. No rival manager and bench is going to dare face up to an Arsenal bench containing Wenger, Bould, and Mad Jens. No sirreee. 4th Officials better watch out too.

    Liked by 6 people

  35. if Jens signs it might improve the chances of Szczesny staying on, as Jens is a big fan of his, and told him that with the right coaching he could be world class

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Steve Hills‏ @Merse10 2h2 hours ago

    I haven’t moved up the ST waiting list so assume the transfer rumours mean fans were duped again for the 30th season running. 100% renewal


  37. The Willock family are good negotiators and played ARSENAL and manure off against each other with all three boys.
    Like Anelka there will be no loyalty in their decision making and I hope they are thinking about their lads career and not just money but I have my suspicions otherwise. Saying that it’s difficult to know if Nicholas would have done better if he had done things differently or not

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Upside down world?
    Years ago I was taught by a man who fought against the Nazis before the war trying to stop them taking over, running large youth campaigns/newspapers etc and trying to keep the Saarland out of the shitheads grasp, he was sentenced to death and just got out (hes one of the characters in Isherwoods Goodbye to Berlin).
    Later he worked with the Surrealists in Paris, friends with many of the major names in that movement(or those who had just been kicked out), but then the Chaplin look-a-like gang turned up. Escaping to Britain he then worked with Grombrich as part of the listening service, wrote several cook books trying to get the English away from Mr Beeton, taught one the worlds most famous psycho analysts sons how to cook, and was psychoanalyzed by the famous daughter. And seemed to know everyone from that older generation, from Auden to Ingrid Bergmann.
    Made many exhibitions and was with a famous London gallery. Changed many,many peoples lives with his teaching work.
    No wikipedia entry.

    Arsenal fan tv, have a detailed wiki entry.

    Liked by 9 people

  39. Mills, I’ve heard that anyone can edit Wikipedia, perhaps that is a job for you to make sure this unsung hero gets his own entry?

    Liked by 2 people

  40. True Passenal, seems like a job for me!

    Liked by 3 people

  41. ian hasn’t the youngest Willocke boy, joe signed on to stay at arsenal

    Liked by 1 person

  42. BBC Sport‏Verified account @BBCSport 30m30 minutes ago

    Everton have signed Burnley and England defender Michael Keane for a fee that could rise to £30m.


  43. Jens, is that really happening?
    I know Szcz implied he did better under Jens when he did his badges than under the normal gk regime.
    Gerry peyton has his critics, no,idea how valid or otherwise, but Jens sounds a good appointment for the future if he can pass on his abilities…and personality!


  44. Mandy from what I was told, Jens didn’t really do goalkeeping coaching when he done his badges with us, it was general coaching, Fabianski had been out injured and he done a lot of work with the then reserve goalkeeping coach Tony Roberts, now at swansea too, something Fabs credits with his improved form, and also his changed mental attitude to setbacks, and Jens advised Szczesny that he needed the sort of coaching Roberts was doing with Fabianski if he was to fulfill his potential and become World Class. Jens seemingly did not agree with Paytons one for all and all for one type of coaching, and felt that each keeper should have their own regime designed specifically for them. Szczesny on Jens advice went to Wenger asking for a change in the coaching and to be given more time with Roberts. It did not go down well, and Szczesny was dropped – so in a way he got his wish to work more with Roberts.

    not sure how the relationship will be between Payton and Lehmann if Jens is hired as one of our main coaches.


  45. seemingly adrian clarke has suggested that the arrival of Lacazette might see Welbeck and not Giroud, leave.


  46. AFCPressWatch‏ @AFCPressWatch2 7m7 minutes ago

    Bayern chief on Alexis: “So far Rummenigge has not come to me. So it does not seem so hot. €20M salary is probably not feasible.” #Arsenal


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