Anfield ‘89 – Arsenal fans relive the game and night from 30 years ago that will ‘never be eclipsed’
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30 years ago today, Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-0 on the final day of the season to win the First Division title at Anfield thanks to late Michael Thomas goal. Now, five Arsenal fans who were there that night have recalled their memories from the day. Read on for part two as they remember the greatest night of their lives.
We parked up and headed to The Arkles pub. A bit of a dive but will be remembered fondly by so many of us. This was my first time at Anfield and the one and only time in that pub.
Some Arsenal were already there, over the next few hours we over took the pub, over spilled onto the pavement outside and sang. The Arsenal had arrived.
Kick-off was delayed and I still get that anxious sick feeling now that I had as a 12-year-old girl standing on a packed away end in Liverpool. We were in the corner half way up. We always looked for a barrier to lean on, but they also came handy to stand on at certain times.
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The Arsenal came on the pitch bearing flowers for the Liverpool fans. This wasn't a surprise to us, we are The Arsenal and this is what we do. Proper Arsenal, Proper class.
The first-half seemed to go on for hours. We were cautious but under no real pressure. We seemed to have no urgency to get a goal. Of course, that was George's plan. George always knew.
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Second-half kicked off and Smudger scored. The minutes dragged by as David Hutchinson consulted with his linesman about if he had got a touch or not. It was and it was 1-0 to The Arsenal.
Minutes ticked by, the clock was ticking down. We still sung and we still hoped. I turned to my Dad and asked how long to go 'He said 5 minutes, we've won this'. My Dad knew.
Mickey Thomas then missed a sitter, surely that was it. Liverpool was a mammoth force that season, maybe it was impossible. I remember trying to work out how much injury time there could be. The Kop were getting louder, you could feel the intensity. They thought it was all over and started to celebrate.
Just writing about that last minute gives me that feeling all over again. The commentary, 'Thomas charging through midfield' wasn't known to any of us on the terraces, but he looked like he would stumble, the whole terrace stood still and then, it happened.
Bedlam, people got on the barriers, they fell to the floor and they cried. I hadn't seen grown men cry at football before. That moment shaped me. It gave me high expectations and as each year ticks by I know how privileged I was to be there.
Nothing will ever beat that day, that memory or that feeling. Pride, shock, elation and complete exhaustion ran through the veins of that terrace. And then it all goes blank.
I remember us lifting the trophy, I remember singing 'We are the champions' for the first time in my life, but nothing else until I had my first taste of champagne at Knutsford services.
We were on the terracing right next to the Liverpool fans, with a line of plod separating us. I don't recall too much about the first-half apart from Bould's header.
Throughout the first-half more stragglers turned up. We met up with our mates that had come south from Blackpool. A couple of lads had decided they had more chance pulling a 'northern sort' than us winning 2-0 so sold their tickets and didn't travel.
'Georgie Graham's Red 'n' white Army' was booming out. It was as if the Arsenal fans thought we aren't going do it, so let's have a party anyway. It went on all through half-time and right up to when Smudger scored.
The terraces were packed so tight it was difficult to move, it was just a mental sway. So the dream was back on.
Mickey went through and virtually back-passed it to Grobbelaar. The crowd pushed forward and my glasses were knocked off. I managed to catch them, the lens and the little screw. How? Who knows, who cares?
I asked this copper next to me if he had a small penknife and showed what needed to be done. He fixed them. Nice one officer. Every time we went forward, the crowd swayed and I held onto my glasses.
We had no idea how long was left as Lukic threw the ball out. But then as Mickey went charging through the middle, I grabbed my glasses to save them being knocked off and didn't see the ball hit the back of the net. I didn't care. Pandemonium broke out. I've not witnessed anything like it since.
I arrived at Anfield in good time, entering the away section early to soak in the atmosphere. I was amazed to see some fans paying cash on the gate and getting in, but that how it was back then.
The game was so tense and whilst I was resigned to losing, with every minute passing we grew into the game and I started to dream of what might be.
The Alan Smith header and the mud patch from the ball stood out as the Liverpool players surrounded the referee and thankfully the goal stood. At that moment we knew this dream was a real possibility.
Michael Thomas missed a real golden chance inside the box in the second-half and we thought that was it.
However, as the whistles rang round Anfield, Mickey was through on goal and seem to take an age before committing Grobbelaar and clipping the ball in to the net with the outside of his foot.
I started at the back of the terrace and ended up down towards the front. I could not believe what we had achieved and no matter what The Arsenal go onto achieve, I will never top this night.
I have seen us beat Parma in Copenhagen, Win the double at Old Trafford and beat Real Madrid in the Bernabeu, but I tell you Anfield 89 will never be eclipsed.
It was a carnival atmosphere despite the horror a month before and a real buzz as fans mingled with Paul Davis, Niall Quinn and Graham Rix.
The first-half flew by and the only things now that stood out was the header from Bould, the players carrying out flowers which was well received and a stinging long range shot by Rush which Lukic held tight.
Only then did realisation hit me if we let one we were hardly going to get three. But, one of the lads had a bet on a 2-0 win and 3-1 win so confident was he. He would later join us in tears clambering from the terrace section.
The second-half was incredible, as the atmosphere increased so did the tension. Liverpool were masters of the decade and in playing for time when they had to and after Smith's great goal they seemed still in control.
I remember saying as we thought it was almost over that it didn't matter we won't do it now but, we showed everyone we were worthy.
And then history is made, in a blur at the time and much slower now when you see it again. I still don't think he is going to score.
Cue pandemonium and yet the referee plays on after kick-off when you know it was time up. More pandemonium as it's over and after the other lads join us we are hugging each other and strangers.
Then I spot to our right Liverpool fans a few years older heading over. They too had tears in their eyes hands out and came to shake our hands.
You then look at the Kop and all the fans were still there as Tony Adams lifts the cup. No better day before or after.
When Thomas got through on goal it was weird. It was like time stood still but, when the ball hit the back of the night it was absolute bedlam. Our first title since 1971.
The only souvenir I have is a programme given to me by a Scouser as I was leaving the ground who heard me lamenting I didn't have one.