By Chris Harris

It was rather fitting that a man called Thomas lifted the Youth Cup last night.

As you may have noticed, Tuesday's game fell on the 20th anniversary of Arsenal's dramatic title win at Liverpool, clinched by Michael Thomas' famous stoppage-time strike. This time around Jay Emmanuel-Thomas didn't need to "charge through the midfield" with a trophy "up for grabs now" - it was pretty much sewn up after the first leg - but he took centre stage after the final whistle as the Under-18s captain hoisted the silverware high into the Merseyside sky.

Emmanuel-Thomas and his talented team-mates secured their own piece of history with that 6-2 aggregate victory, taking the Youth Cup back to Arsenal for the first time in eight years. The significance of the Gunners’ triumph was not lost on their skipper.

"It's a great feeling to win today," Emmanuel-Thomas told "We've been waiting for this for a long time. We've been talking about it all year and it has finally happened.

"We will go down in history now. I think the last time we won it was 2001 - quite a long time ago - so it's good to have our name on the trophy again. It's a great thing to have at your training ground, knowing you have won the FA Youth Cup in the first year that your full team has tried to win it together.

"Obviously we knew in our heads that we had a good lead on Liverpool from the first leg but you can never take it for granted. We've seen things happen in the past with the number of goals teams have come back from so we had to make sure that we won the game today.

"You have to be very focused and you have to prepare for the game as you would any other cup game. Even though we had a 4-1 lead we had to treat it the same.

"Neil Banfield, Steve Bould and the other coaches have helped us a lot," the 18-year-old added. "The training and preparation for this has all been great so I have to thank all the coaches at Arsenal for making this day come true for us.

"I want to thank the fans too. Our families and friends are here and there are people who have travelled from London who are just natural Arsenal fans so I want to thank them very much for making the journey, supporting us and helping us win this trophy."

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27 May 2009