Having suffered through four years of an engineering degree, it’s safe to say that numbers have played a very significant role in my life. Indeed, ever since I started supporting Arsenal their achievements have made certain digits stand out. The fact that I can’t look at those numbers without a football highlight running through my mind is a perfect illustration in my eyes of the profound effect the club has had on me. Rather than focus on one particular match, incident, goal or assist I’m going to take you on a numerical journey.
04The year we completed our unbeaten season – arguably the finest achievement in modern football. Watching Dennis Bergkamp thread the ball through the eye of a needle for Patrick Vieira to score against Leicester on the final day of the season was fairytale stuff. I challenge anyone to come up with a more fitting finale.
14Theo Walcott may wear the number now, but it will always be associated with Thierry Henry. A marvellous football specimen epitomising power, speed, guile and class. To this day, he still speaks with passion about the club which helped him become one of the world’s greats.
98Technically 97/98 - Forever associated with Arsene’s first full season and the winning of the club’s second ever Double. Tony Adams put through by Steve Bould summing it all up. Ian Wright becoming the club’s top scorer. Beating Newcastle at Wembley. Arsenal winning the World Cup thanks to Patrick Vieira’s assist for Emmanuel Petit in the final. Take your pick.
49The unbeaten record, that might never be topped. It wasn’t just the fact we were ‘invincible’ during the 49 game run, but that we did it playing football the way it was supposed to be played.
89I was only 8-years-old when Arsenal won the league in 1989 and I hadn’t started following football. The win at Anfield though is the sort of history that you just inherit when you’re a follower of such a great club. That goal in the last minute of the last game to seal the Championship ensured that Michael Thomas will forever be part of Arsenal folklore. It remains the club’s most dramatic ever game.
Forgive me now while I show-off my geek status by demonstrating my mathematical prowess. If you add all of the above number you’ll reach a total of 254. Divide that figure by the total number of domestic trophies that Arsenal have ever won, 25, (League , FA Cup, League Cup) and you get the number 10 (10.16 to be absolutely correct, but I’m rounding it down).
10The number worn by the greatest player to ever wear the red and white - Dennis Bergkamp. A man who lives and breathes football. Elegant on the ball, technically perfect and bathed in class. How lucky we were to have him grace The Arsenal for over a decade.