This afternoon's Highbury memory comes from John Lynch.
I have been an Arsenal fan from the late 1950s, but have never lived near enough to be a regular visitor to Highbury, although I took the opportunity to attend Martin Keown's Testimonial in 2004 and this season's Carling Cup game against Reading.
However, I have many great Highbury memories, particularly from the 1970/71 'double' season, when I was a frequent visitor, standing variously at the Clock End, in front of the East Stand and on the North Bank.
My outstanding memory of that season is the 2-0 win over Liverpool which closed the gap on Leeds United at the top of the table, as the season was coming to its climax. Arsenal dominated the game without achieving a breakthrough until George Graham, who had been dropped for a few matches, was brought on from the bench for the last 10 minutes or so. Almost immediately, he scored an outstanding goal.
He won possession in midfield and played a succession of one-twos with Jon Sammels, who chipped the final ball into the box. I was behind the goal, halfway up the North Bank, directly in line with George's left foot volley which he hit first time as the pass came over his shoulder. The shot went into the top corner of the net before Ray Clemence could move. This remains one of the most beautiful goals I have ever seen and would be worthy of the style and quality served up by Arsène Wenger's team. George made a second goal with a defence-splitting pass which put Ray Kennedy through. His shot was blocked by Clemence, but John Radford put the rebound into the net.
I saw a similar outstanding goal, on my first ever visit to Highbury, when my elder brother took me early in the 1960/61 season to see a Tottenham game. Spurs, who were in their 'double' season, took a half-time lead of 2-0. In the second-half, the Gunners staged a comeback, with a goal by David Herd. Shortly after this, during an Arsenal attack, Danny Clapton got the ball on the right wing. Instead of crossing into the box, as expected, he pulled the ball back into the path of Gerry Ward, who was moving up from midfield.
I expected him to chip the ball forward into the area, but, instead, he hit it first time and it rocketed into the top corner for the equaliser. I know it is easy to exaggerate these things, but I think he must have been at least 25 yards out. Again, this was at the North Bank end. I was standing high up in the quadrant between the West Stand and North Bank and had a great view of the goal. The other memorable feature of that game was the attendance of over 60,000. Unfortunately, the game did not have a happy ending as Les Allen scored a dubious late winner for Spurs. (I was convinced that he fouled Jack Kelsey before scoring), but the memory of Gerry Ward's goal has stayed with me ever since.
Would you like your 'Highbury Memories' recorded in the programme this historic season? We'd love to hear of your experiences at Highbury, no matter how long you've supported the team. If you have a story you think is worth telling then write into the Club, keeping your accounts to less than 600 words, at the usual address. You can also e-mail your correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please mark your letters 'Highbury Memories'. All those who have letters printed will receive an exclusive A4 Highbury print.17 Mar 2006