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