Feature

Remembering... the 1970/71 season

Frank McLintock

We secured our first league championship for 18 years with a final-match victory at the home of north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Bertie Mee’s Gunners went into the match knowing only a victory, or a goalless draw, would be enough to snatch the title from Leeds United.

The match was originally due to be played on the date of the FA Cup semi-final, but had to be rearranged, due to our participation in the cup, to the Monday night of cup final week.

Leeds had already completed their fixture list, and were a point ahead of us. Due to the goal average system, a 0-0 draw would have given us the title, but a score draw would not have been enough. Tottenham, attempting to preserve their honour of being the only club to have won the double in the 20th century, themselves needed the points to qualify for Europe.

Both sides were positively going for the victory, but clear-cut chances were few and with time running out, it looked like it would end scoreless.

Then, with three minutes remaining, Charlie George dispossessed Joe Kinnear before crossing to John Radford. His header was superbly parried by Pat Jennings but Geordie Armstrong turned the ball back into the middle where Ray Kennedy headed home off the underside of the bar. It was Kennedy’s 19th league strike of the season, yet in one sense it was somewhat irrelevant as the situation had not changed - a late Spurs goal would have denied Arsenal the title.

The hosts then forced a corner but the ever-present Bob Wilson claimed the cross.

The 1-0 win at White Hart was the undoubted highlight of a magnificent league campaign which included a nine-match winning streak between March and April. But the season was to get even better just five days later…

WAY BACK THEN

League appearances: Armstrong 42, McLintock 42, Wilson 42, Kennedy 41, Radford 41, Rice 41, McNab 40, Storey 40, Graham 36+2, Simpson 25, Kelly 21+2, Roberts 18, George 17, Sammels 13+2, Nelson 2+2, Marinello 1+2.

Goals: Kennedy 19, Radford 15, Graham 11, Armstrong 7, George 5, McLintock 5, Kelly 4, Storey 2, Sammels 1, ogs 2.

Division One table 1971

                        P      W     D     L      F      A    Pts
1. Arsenal        42    29     7      6    71    29     65
2. Leeds          42    27    10    5    72    30     64
3. Tottenham   42    19    14    9    54    33     52

FA Cup final

Arsenal 2 Liverpool 1 (aet)

League Cup final

Tottenham 2 Aston Villa 0

Division One top scorer

Tony Brown (West Bromwich Albion)  -  28

ALSO THAT SEASON…

England’s most capped player of all time, Peter Shilton, made his international debut at Wembley on November 25, 1970. England beat East Germany 3-1.

AND…

In February 1971 Britain adopted decimal currency, replacing pounds, shillings and pence with "new pence" worth more than twice the old ones.
 

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