GGM 27: Kennedy heads title winner at the Lane

Any victory at White Hart Lane warms the hearts of Arsenal fans. But this one was something special.

On Monday, May 3, 1971, Bertie Mee's side travelled to the home of their local rivals for the final match of the league season. Arsenal, trailing Leeds by one point, knew that a victory or a scoreless draw would bring the title back to Highbury for the first time in 18 years.

However, a scoring draw would not be enough for Arsenal with goal average decisive in the event of teams finishing level on points. In other words, it was more important for Arsenal to keep a clean sheet than it was for them to score.

In the event, they managed both.

A crowd of 51,192 crammed into White Hart Lane and twice that many were locked outside. Those who had made it through the turnstiles were treated to a taut, tense thriller.

Martin Peters threatened early on for Tottenham while Charlie George and George Graham went close for Arsenal. Spurs were determined to deny Arsenal the chance to emulate their Double of 10 years earlier but, with three minutes to go, they finally succumbed.

Pat Jennings produced a first-class save to deny John Radford but George Armstrong retrieved the ball and chipped it back across goal. Ray Kennedy climbed to head past Jennings via the underside of the bar.

It was a moment to savour but also largely irrelevant because a Tottenham goal would still be enough to deny the Gunners. "That was the longest three minutes I have ever known," Kennedy said later. "As Tottenham came back I remember thinking that perhaps it might have been better had my header not gone in."

Spurs poured forward in search of a precious equaliser but Bob Wilson's safe handling calmed Arsenal's nerves and the final whistle sparked pandemonium among their players and fans. For the eighth time in their history, Arsenal were champions.

They would have to wait just five days to make it a Double.

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