A bit of Arsenal history, as I’ve just found all my cuttings from 20 years ago (the first Premier League season, when of course all history started) after moving house. Things were not rosy in Goonerland. After a strong finish to the previous season, we had started the new season as title favourites. We hit some form in October and had gone to the top of the table for the first time since being champions 18 months earlier, and then collapsed to four consecutive league defeats, the final one being to Spurs. Ian Wright was lucky not to be sent off for a punch, and Ray Parlour should have had a penalty before Spurs scored the only goal of the game after 22 minutes. The scorer was Paul Allen, cousin of our old mate Clive ‘Handshake’ Allen.
The last sentence of the report is somewhat odd. The fact Arsenal did not score “was due in no small measure to the work of Neil Ruddock, who often acted as peace-maker”. I don’t think acting as peace-maker would stop the opposition scoring, but I assume they have squeezed Ruddock’s two roles of defender and peace-maker into the same sentence to fit the space. Ruddock is of course good friends with Ian Wright these days, and perhaps was even then, despite his Spudness.
A week later the run of defeats was finally ended with a draw at home to Boro. We’d gone behind again and it took until the 81st minute for Wrighty to find an equaliser after Kevin Campbell’s shot hit the post. Campbell should have won it six minutes later but shot wide.
Arsenal’s team for the Boro match is a mix of legends in their early years and never-made-its – Seaman, Winterburn, Adams, Wright, Parlour, Smith and Merson, along with Lydersen, Hillier, Linighan, Flatts, Campbell and Jensen. Difficult to predict at the time who was going to end up in which group, as Mark Flatts for example is singled out for praise here.