The Gooner - Issue 218
When In Rome 16 September 1970
The first leg of our 1970 Fairs Cup tie against Lazio in Rome ended 2-2 with the home side scoring late on with a debatable penalty. It was a lousy affair which after-match banquet when the bemused Arsenal players were given leather handbags by their hosts. This was hardly a present a bunch of hairy-legged 1970s footballers were going to cherish and they showed their gratitude by mincing around with them in front of their Italian hosts which didn’t improve the atmosphere one bit.
On a trip to the gents Ray Kennedy was ambushed by some of the Italian players and bundled into the street where he gave as good as he got. Peter Marinello, who had seen what was happening and gone to help, recalls how “one Lazio heavyweight picked me up and threw me over the bonnet of a taxi.”
Bob Wilson was first to convey news of the fight to the restaurant and, quick as a flash, the place emptied as the Arsenal cavalry rode to the rescue of their teammates. McLintock revealed that “at one point their manager, an Argentinian nutter schooled in the Estudiantes academy of thuggery, picked up Bertie Mee by the lapels and forced him against the team bus”.
encapsulated everything about Britain’s relationship with Europe at the time. Sturdy, upright, solid British yeomanry against sly, shifty European types. Tempers had become frayed and were still simmering at the
Then the police arrived and, in one account, it’s alleged that a gun was drawn on Eddie Kelly. There’s no question that it was a proper naughty ruck and what made me proud, as a Scotsman, was the fact that all the Scots in the team were right in the thick of the fight. Apart from Bob Wilson, of course, but at least Primrose was the whistleblower who alerted the rest of the team and, while the Italians might have started the fight, Arsenal definitely finished it. Good old Arsenal Alister Campbell
The bigger they are... 15 February 1964
Arsenal took on Liverpool in a 5th round FA Cup tie at Highbury in 1964, having not got beyond that round for about 10 years. Liverpool had a huge centre-half at the time called Ron Yeats who was around 6’3” and was up against our centreforward, Joe Baker, who was 5’8” on tiptoes. During the first half, Baker and Yeats started grappling with each other as they ran into the Liverpool half and then Joe laid Yeats out with a better right hook than David Haye could muster. Despite the fact that in those days GBH would only get you a booking,
both players were sent off but it was five minutes before Yeats came round. Liverpool won the game 1-0 with a goal from Ian St John but it was almost worth losing to see that punch. Almost, but not quite Peter Le Beau
Be Ruud Not To 21 September 2003
A rather dull Premiership match at Old Trafford in 2003 sparked into life in the last ten minutes when Ruud van Nistelrooy, firstly, conned the referee into sending off Patrick Vieira and then managed to smack a highly debateable last minute penalty against the underside of the bar. Naturally, we celebrated like we’d just scored a last minute winner, jumping all over the seats and hugging strangers.
However, the key moment was still to come because, just as I stopped celebrating, I turned back towards the pitch just in time to see Martin Keown arch above Van Nistelrooy like some sort of move you’d see on Street Fighter and crash his elbow down on the back of his head. This was swiftly followed by Ray Parlour, Ashley Cole, Lauren and Jens Lehmann picking fights with Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs and Ronaldo. The newspapers and TV stations went into virtual meltdown over the incident and Arsenal were hit with record fines for players and the club.
I happened to bump into Martin a couple of years later on the tube and was able to share a few words as we journeyed to our respective stops. The conversation turned to the day at Old Trafford and he did seem a little embarrassed about the whole episode and didn’t want to be remembered for just that one incident. Despite that, I told him that he had turned himself into a “true legend” that day to which he remarked that “it’s a shame the FA didn’t quite see it like that”, although he also added as he stood up to get off, “but it felt absolutely fantastic doing it!” Stuart Watson
Bonkers in Cardiff 25 February 2007
The “forgotten” brawl that ended the 2007 Carling Cup Final was widely condemned by the football community and it branded us as “bad losers”. This was not a “one-for-all and all-for-one” brawl. This was one of the unsavoury petulant incidents, in which our players had grown frustrated and lashed out because they were not getting their own way.
Unable to build on our lead and domination of possession, we became frustrated. Noticing our waning discipline, Mourinho introduced Mikel to stifle our play with constant fouling, breaking up our flow and rhythm. It worked. With Chelsea heading for victory, Kolo Toure callously fouled Mikel out of frustration. Cue madness. Cesc had Lampard in a head lock, and a lot of pushing, shoving, grappling and throat grabbing ensued. Mourinho ran onto the pitch and went straight into the epicentre of it all. Even Wenger strolled onto the pitch and yelled at a few players.
Slightly away from the melee, Eboue slapped a Chelsea defender who fell to the ground, as if pole-axed. Once Howard Webb had regained control, Toure and Mikel saw red, Cesc and Lampard fortuitous yellows, and then, mystifyingly, Adebayor received a straight red card. It was a case of mistaken identity. Adebayor lost control at the injustice and he angrily towered over the not so small Webb, refusing to leave the pitch. He was eventually dragged off by Gary Lewin.
There was no glory or justification for this brawl. It cemented the petulant spoilt brat stigma we have yet to shrug off. . Andreas Kokkinos onlinegooner.com 9