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Arsenal FC 1980-1983 Troubled Times

March 25, 2012

Now 23 years old I reach the second phase of supporting Arsenal during a downturn. Terry Neill had arrived in 1976. Malcolm McDonald was immediately signed from Newcastle United for the then princely sum of £333.333.33. Don Howe returned to the club as coach to Neill. This partnership got Arsenal to three successive FA Cup Finals and a Cup Winners Cup Final :

1978 Ipswich Town lost 0-1

1979 Manchester United Won 3-2

1980 West Ham United lost 0-1

1980 Valencia 0-0 AET lost on penalties.

The pair promised a lot, however, failed to really deliver. Brady and Stapleton left to Juventus and Manchester United respectively. In 1982-83 Arsenal reached both Semi-Finals of the FA Cup and League Cup those losing out on both occasions to Manchester United 1-2 in Fa Cup and 1-2 in League Cup. and flirted with success until sacked by the club in December 1983.

  • 1980-81 Arsenal finished 3rd P42 W19 D15 L8 F61 A45 Pts53 – Ave home att : 32.480
  • Went out of FA Cup 0-2 in 3rd round to Everton away
  • Went out of League Cup 0-1 in 4th round away to Tottenham 0-1 the eventual winners of the Cup.
  • Beat Spurs 2-0 at Highbury and lost 0-2 at White Hart Lane
  • Aston Villa won the League, Ipswich came 2nd. Villa won the league at Highbury even though we beat them 2-0 in front of a pack 57k of which 20k were Villa fans who packed the Clock End.
  • Tottenham won the FA Cup 3-2 against Man City in replay
  • Steve Archibald and Peter Withe were top scorers with 20 goals each
  • Liverpool won the European Cup and also added the League Cup
  • Ipswich win the UEFA Cup
  • John Wark was player of the year
  • Clive Allen leaves Arsenal for Crystal Palace having never played a league game for Arsenal
  • Notts Forest, Leeds, Brighton and Crystal Palace were in the First Division

Squad : Jennings, Devine, Sanson, Talbot, O’Leary, Young, Vaessen, Price, Stapleton, Hollins, Rix, McDermott, Sunderland, Rice, Wood, Gatting, Walford, Davis, Nicholas, Nelson

  • The First season of 3 pts for a win
  • 1981-82 Arsenal finished 5th P42 W20 D11 L11 F48 A37 Pts71 – Ave home att : 25.589
  • Went out of FA Cup 0-1 in 3rd round to away to Tottenham, the 2nd season running they has knocked us out of a cup
  • Went out of League Cup 0-3 away to Liverpool in 4th round replay after 0-0 draw at Highbury
  • Drew 2-2 at White Hart Lane and lost 1-3 at Home to Tottenham
  • Stewart Robson made his debut in 2-1 at West Ham. Other notable debuts that season. Norman Whiteside. Kevin Richardson. John Barnes.
  • Bill Shankly passed away
  • Bobby Robson succeeded Ron Greenwood as England manager
  • Kevin Keegan was top scorer and also footballer of the year.
  • Spurs won the FA Cup for the 2nd year running
  • Aston Villa won the European Cup
  • Liverpool won the league for the 13th time and also added the League Cup. Spurs came 4th one place above Arsenal
  • Ipswich, Brighton, Coventry, Notts Forest and County were in the First Division

Squad : Jennings, Device, Sansom, Talbot, O’Leary, Young, Davis, Sunderland, McDermott, Nicholas, Rix, Vaessen, Hollins, Hawley, Whyte, Meade, Robson, Wood, Gorman, Hankin.

  • 1982-83 Arsenal finished 10th P42 W16 D10 L16 F58 A56 Pts58 – Ave home att : 24.153
  • Went out of FA Cup 0-1 in 3rd round to away to Tottenham, the 2nd season running they has knocked us out of a cup
  • Went out of League Cup 3-6 on aggregate to Manchester United.
  • Arsenal signed Lee Chapman from Stoke RFC for £500k
  • Peter Shilton exits Nottingham Forest to become the world’s most expensive goalkeeper in a £325,000 move to Southampton
  • Won 2-0 at home to Spurs and lost 0-5 at White hart Lane
  • Luther Blissett was top scorer with 27 goals. Gary Lineker was the second divic=sions top scorer with 26 goals for Leicester.
  • Man Utd won the FA Cup beating Brighton 4-0 in replay after 2-2 draw
  • Liverpool won the league for the 14th time and also added the League Cup for the 3rd successive season and Watford were league runners-up
  • Man City were relegated despite a four-year spending spree totalling around £5 million (yes £5m) you would not get a top players wages for that today.
  • 26 February 1983: Arsenal goalkeeper Pat Jennings 37, becomes the first footballer to appear in 1,000 competitive games in England, reaching the milestone in a 0-0 league draw with West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns
  • Watford, Notts Forest, Ipswich, Notts County & Luton were in the First Division

Squad : Wood, Hollins, Sansom, Talbot, O’Leary, Whyte, Robson, Sunderland, Chapman, Woodcock, Rix, Davis, Devine, Hawley, O’Shea, Jennings, McDermott, Nicholas, Petrovic, Meade, Kay, Hill.

These were what I would describe as bad times, This was when you really saw some rubbish football and hope was about all you had and that was a distant hope. However, as always I enjoyed the going to watch Arsenal, football was great, it was all about being there, the social side with mates.. Liverpool dominated as much as United almost do today. Today thought we are a much bigger club than back then and while I would still love us to win trophies and have some more glory days, these times put things into perspective for me.

Look at our average gates for the seasons above, the crowds were deserting Arsenal and this is a stadium that held over 60.000 and when standing on the terraces you could be in open spaces and have to shout to the bloke next to you.

You the reader might read things differently and if you do I would love to see your views. Any of you who was there during these times I would love to see you views as well



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