1970 was the biggest European accolade in Arsenal’s history – before or since.
The Fairs Cup-winning Gunners team of 52 years ago defeated Anderlecht in the final with a deadly concoction of lionheart defending and attacking play that the Belgians couldn’t find an answer to.
But it was the semi-final that really saw the footballing world sit up and take notice of Bertie Mee’s side.
A two-legged victory over Dutch giants Ajax, complete with world-beater Johan Cruyff in their ranks, still ranks today as perhaps the biggest and best European display that Arsenal have achieved.
To put it into context, in the three years that followed Arsenal’s win, Ajax would win a hat-trick of European Cups in 1971, 72 and 73.
But the media and club’s attachment to the Premier League and modern-day football cast a giant shadow over our heroes. A recent example was during our 2-1 win over Leeds United. A celebration of our Fair Cup win saw the men who won Arsenal’s biggest European trophy paraded in front of our fans at half time, complete with a five-minute interview pitch side with stadium announcer Nigel Mitchell.
The problem is, the stadium was less than half full – and instead of a roaring welcome, they got a decent applause.
Not fitting for these men.
Bob Wilson. Frank McLintock. Peter Storey, bob McNab, Peter Simpson, Geordie Armstrong, Jon Sammels, John Radford, Charlie George, George Graham, Ray Kennedy and Bertie Mee – they should have the same light shined on them as the Invincibles. The platform for success was laid and led to us completing our first ever double the following season.
The players were loyal, they stayed at Arsenal and accrued appearances that put them deservedly in the echelons of greatness when talking about the club. They defeated arguably the world’s greatest side at the time and if that wasn’t enough, overturned a deficit in the final by winning 3-0 in the second leg at a packed Highbury.
Those that were there that night talk about it on social media and we should all listen. There are memories to be shared that help us remember what an amazing club we have and players that stood up and played for the badge.
Since that night, we have had some brilliant achievements on the continent. The Cup Winners Cup win in 1994 springs to mind of course. Our incredible run to the Champions League final in 2006.
But nothing has come close to Highbury in 1970.
Let our future fans recognise the brilliance we have had in the past – don’t let this fabulous team go under the radar a second longer.
What tribute do you think would do this team justice?