A man who writes a blog about Arsenal cannot fail to write a post on this day – the 20th anniversary of the closest finish to any Football League season in history. Every Arsenal fan has his or her own story of that night in late May so here’s mine.
I was a month away from my 15th birthday and living in Camberley, Surrey. Possibly the biggest regret of my life so far is that I was just a fraction too young to have been able to make the trip up to Anfield to see the game so I watched at home with my brother, who was 12 at the time and my Dad who, after having supported Arsenal since 1953, hadn’t seen them win the league for 18 years.
We watched the game in my bedroom – I can even remember precisely where the TV was – such is the way in which night’s like that can remain etched in a football fans memory forever without any effort whatsoever. My mum, who despises football, was downstairs watching Doctor Zhivago on another channel whilst her husband and 2 sons settled down to watch what would turn out to be one of the most amazing finishes to a season there will ever be.
As for the actual match, bizarrely I don’t recall an awful lot of actually watching it – I’m sure a psychologist can tell me why my memory can recall where objects were, what film my mum was watching and other irrelevant pieces of information but cannot really conjure up any images of the match but no-one who supports Arsenal can or would ever want to forget what happened in the 92nd minute that night.
What happened was, Michael Thomas stormed through the middle (thanks Brian Moore) and scored to send my brother, my dad and me into some of the most emotional and, lets face it, crazy celebrations that any of the 3 of us have experienced in all our lives. I particularly remember the sheer ecstacy of my Dad who must have felt it so much more after the previous 18 years of virtually no success for his club. I also remember my mum coming up the stairs shouting for us to be quiet as, in her opinion “you could hear us half way down the street”.
Still to this day, I cannot watch that goal without getting goose pimples and feeling a little bit emotional. How pathetic.
Such happy memories – thanks George, and thanks Mickey.