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Arsenal’s Fairs Cup triumph at 50: Bob Wilson on thumping Dinamo Bacau and the crazy trip to Romania

PUBLISHED: 16:04 22 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:04 22 April 2020

Arsenal's George Graham (far right) jumps and heads his teams fourth goal past Dynamo Bacau. Picture: PA

Arsenal's George Graham (far right) jumps and heads his teams fourth goal past Dynamo Bacau. Picture: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

To celebrate 50 years since Arsenal won the 1970 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the Islington Gazette spoke to Bob Wilson about his memories of winning the trophy. In part three, he remembers knocking out Dinamo Bacau, the terrifying trip to Romania and teaching a young Charlie George.

Arsenal’s opponents in the last-eight were Romanian side Dinamo Bacau and with confidence starting to grow, the Gunners cruised into the next round.

Away from home in the first leg, goals from Jon Sammels and John Radford secure a 2-0 win, and it was a memorable if terrifying trip to the Soviet Union for Bob Wilson.

“I don’t remember any problems getting to Romania, but as soon as we arrived on the bus all hell broke loose,” remembers the goalkeeper.

“It was a bit of a step into the unknown. As we arrived at the ground they were banging the coach and then there was incredible abuse after the game.

“What I do remember that the club did brilliantly is that they brought their own food and chef because I think they just did not trust what we were going to be eating.

“At that time, that area was a bit like the wild west. There were fireworks going off and I can’t remember any other game where we got abuse like that.”

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The second leg at Highbury turned into a rout, as braces from Sammels, Radford and Charlie George wrapped up a thumping 7-1 win as the Gunners advanced 9-1 on aggregate.

George, having grown up in Islington and progressed through the club’s youth setup, had come into the first-team at the start of the 1969/70 campaign and quickly established himself.

Wilson – who was a school teacher before turning professional – remembers George as a youngster, revealed: “When I arrived as an amateur school teacher in 1963, I had to get fully qualified so I had to teach for a year and then signed pro.

“But, I went back into the reserves and had to work my way up, so I carried on teaching.

“I would go to Holloway Road School where the star sportsman happened to be one Charlie George.

“Arsenal knew about him and he was certain to go on to be a great player. Charlie was a given to make it.”

Wilson was also keen to praise Sammels, adding: “Jon Sammels is an underrated Arsenal player.

“When you look at his Fairs Cup contribution, he played in all 12 games and scored six goals to be our top scorer. I think that was his greatest contribution to the club.”


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