Former Gunner John Lukic believes the 1987 League Cup victory against Liverpool helped lay the foundations for years of future success.
Arsenal had not picked up any silverware for eight years when George Graham’s side took on the Division One champions at Wembley.
Ian Rush’s strike put Kenny Dalglish’s men in front, before a Charlie Nicholas brace helped secure a first major trophy under the Club’s new manager.
George had got his ideas on how he wanted the team to play, we knew exactly what was required of us and that is one of the reasons we went on to win that trophyJohn Lukic
Two years later, Graham’s side would secure the league title in the most dramatic of circumstances at Anfield - and Lukic believes it all started with that win at Wembley,
“We got a little bit swept away with the cup run really,” Lukic told Arsenal Player. “We had not managed to achieve a great deal prior to that, certainly in the time I had been at the Club, and we ended up in the final against Liverpool.
“I think it was the only time Ian Rush has scored and ended up on the losing side [in a final] and subsequently he went off to Juventus.
“The goals were bizarre, certainly the winner and even the equaliser that Charlie scored but it is almost like fate played a part.
“I think the foundations had been built at that point. George had got his ideas on how he wanted the team to play, we knew exactly what was required of us and that is one of the reasons we went on to win that trophy.
“The following year, when we were odds-on favourites against Luton, we got beaten. It was a bit of a downer but the foundations had already been laid, in terms of the way we would play and the discipline within the team.”
Lukic says Graham’s disciplinarian approach helped get the very best out of his players after he succeeded Don Howe as manager in 1986.
“Whatever the back four were doing, you were certainly not stood behind them twiddling your thumbs because you were an integral part of things,” he said. “And the finger got pointed, and quite severely if needs be, so you could never rest on your laurels.
“Me and George had a relationship, and it is important to have a mutual respect with someone you work for, whether you like them or not. I certainly had that respect for him, because George played a big part in the achievements of the Club.”Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source