On Thursday, May 23, Emirates Stadium will host a special event marking 30 years since one of the club’s greatest achievements – Anfield ’89.
We caught up with Lee Dixon, who’s been instrumental in organising what is sure to be a fantastic night, with all the money generated going to a group of very worthwhile charities.
Tell us how the event came about, Lee?
My wife has a company that has hosted a number of events for community based charities - I’ve persuaded a few of the lads to take part in Q&As in the past to raise money for these good causes. At the start of the year, a few of us were thinking about the anniversary for ’89 and it seemed obvious to try and get a night together, raise some money for charity and have a good laugh. Now, in collaboration with the club, we’ve managed to get the event together and everyone’s really looking forward to it.
What’s the plan for the night?
Many fans will have seen the 89 documentary that came out in late 2017 and we’re going to use some of the clips from that during the course of the night, so the evening builds to a kind of crescendo with the longest clip, the climax to the match, towards the end of the dinner. And there’s loads more stuff going on. We’ll get some of the lads up on stage for a Q&A, we have Tall Paul DJing, everyone will get a special edition copy of the DVD as well as a reproduction of the matchday programme from that night at Anfield and there will be an auction with some stunning lots. What we really want is for the night to be lively, I’ve sat through too many slow-paced sporting dinner events – this is going to be different.
Tell us a bit more about the auction?
There will be a silent auction with dozens of lots, many linked to Arsenal and 1989 but there will be other stuff too – such as a golf bag signed by Tiger Woods. The main auction will have some amazing lots. I’ve been working with two of the photographers who were there on the night and we are blowing up some of the best images taken that night, some of which people won’t have seen before, and getting those signed by the players. Arsène Wenger and myself will take a group of people out to dinner courtesy of Coutts. Me and Tony Adams are going to host a training session for a group up at the Arsenal Training Centre, where they will be shown around too. There’s even a lot which offers a fan the chance to be part of the 89 documentary – we’ll professionally film their discussion about the game and slot it in for a uniquely personalised version of the doc.
Which members of the squad are likely to be there?
You can never say ‘everyone is definitely coming’ but let’s just say there are only a couple of the lads who haven’t yet been able to guarantee getting to the event as we speak – and I’m working on them! Plus George, Pat and Stewart Houston are coming from the management and Wrighty will be there too. He represented Rocky so brilliantly in the documentary, I think it’s important he’s with us – as Rocky is always with us in spirit.
How often do you think about that season Lee?
The documentary was a year in the making, so it feels like I’ve been focused on 89 for a couple of years now, but to be honest it’s never far from my mind or the rest of the lads. You can guarantee that any fan of a certain age will want to talk about that night if they bump into you. And I think it’s great that so many Arsenal fans who weren’t even born in ’89 have now watched the documentary or seen the match on YouTube and places like that and know and love the story of the season. I was sent some of the clips we are using on the night the other day and found myself going on my laptop and watching the whole doc again!
Date: Thursday, May 23
Time: Champagne reception at 7pm
Venue: Woolwich Lounge, Emirates Stadium
Dress: Lounge suit/cocktail dress
The Willow Foundation: Close to Arsenal hearts, Bob Wilson’s charity in the name of his daughter Anna provides special days for seriously ill young adults
Sporting Chance Clinic: Supporting individuals and organisations across sport to address mental health, emotional welfare and addictive disorders
Wild at Heart Foundation: Funding animal welfare projects all over the world
Yorke Dance Project: Delivering inspiring educational work to young people in schools and communities in underprivileged areas
Solving Kids Cancer: Raising money for four-year-old Seraph, suffering from high-risk neuroblastoma
PRICES (TABLES OF 10)
£2,300 + VAT (silver table)
£2,950 + VAT (gold table)
£3,950 + VAT (platinum table)
Individual tickets are also available on request
From Clare on 07894 981002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org - they’re up for grabs now!