The 1970 Fairs Cup

It's an Honour: 1970 Fairs Cup win
It's an Honour: 1970 Fairs Cup win

In It's an Honour, featured first in the official matchday programme, we're looking back at the seasons that have brought silverware to north London. We re-live the 1970 Fairs Cup winning campaign. 

Bertie Mee’s Gunners overturned a 3-1 first leg deficit to earn Arsenal’s first-ever European trophy.

Arsenal had trailed 3-1 to Belgians Anderlecht after the first leg of the European Fairs Cup, but strikes from Eddie Kelly, John Radford and Jon Sammels at Highbury gave the Gunners a 4-3 aggregate win.

The two-legged final of the forerunner to the Europa League had started poorly. Anderlecht raced to a 2-0 home lead within half an hour, and were seemingly cruising when Jan Mulder scored his second of the evening to make it 3-0.

Substitute Ray Kennedy snatched an away goal in the 82nd minute though, to give Arsenal hope for the return match. A goal 25 minutes into the second leg from Kelly put Arsenal right in contention but Anderlecht were a constant threat.


Fairs Cup 1970

Fairs Cup 1970


However with 15 minutes left Radford made it 2-0 and Arsenal were in the ascendancy. Anderlecht then hit the post before Sammels made it three moments later.

There were some nervy moments to endure before the final whistle sounded to send Highbury wild. It was the first time ever a side had overturned a two-goal deficit to win a two-legged European final.

In the semi-final the Gunners dismissed a powerful Ajax side, including the great Johan Cruyff, and had earlier seen off Sporting Lisbon and hammered Dinamo Bacau 9-1 on aggregate during the run.


Fairs Cup 1970

Fairs Cup 1970


In the league Arsenal finished 12th and were knocked out by Blackpool in the third round of the FA Cup. The Fairs Cup triumph though ended 17 barren years without a trophy at Highbury – there would not be such a long wait for the next honours..

Fairs Cup appearances: Sammels 12, Simpson 12, McNab 11, Radford 11, Storey 11, Graham 10+1, Wilson 9, Armstrong 8+2, George 8, McLintock 7, Court 6, Kelly 6+2, Neill 5, Robertson 5, Marinello 4, Barnett 2, Gould 2, Nelson 1+1, Rice 1, Webster 1, Kennedy +2. Fairs Cup Goalscorers Sammels 6, Radford 5, Graham 5, George 4, Kelly 1, Gould 1, Kennedy 1.

 Road to the final

Round one, first leg Arsenal 3, Glentoran 0

Round one, second leg Glentoran 1, Arsenal 0

Round two, first leg Sporting Lisbon 0, Arsenal 0

Round two, second leg Arsenal 3, Sporting Lisbon 0

Round three, first leg Rouen 0, Arsenal 0

Round three, second leg Arsenal 1, Rouen 0

Round four, first leg Dinamo Bacau 0, Arsenal 2

Round four, second leg Arsenal 7,Dinamo Bacau 1

Semi-final, first leg Arsenal 3, Ajax 0

Semi-final, second leg Ajax 1, Arsenal 0

Final, first leg @ Constant Vanden Stock Stadium april 22, 1970 att 37,000 anderlecht 3, arsenal 1 (Kennedy 82) arsenal Wilson, Storey, McNab. Kelly, McLintock, Simpson, Armstrong, Sammels, Radford, George (Kennedy 77), Graham.

Final, second leg @ Highbury april 28, 1970 att 51,612 arsenal 3 (Kelly 25, Radford 75, Sammels 76) anderlecht 0 arsenal Wilson, Storey, McNab, Kelly, McLintock, Simpson, Armstrong, Sammels, Radford, George, Graham.

Also that season

Brazil beat Italy 4-1 in the classic 1970 World Cup final in Mexico City. The goals came from Pele, Gerson, Jairzinho and Carlos Alberto.

And… Bar codes were introduced for retail use in England

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