Feb 24 1968: Arsenal 0 Man Utd 2

On this day in 1968 Arsenal faced League Champions Man Utd at home – and lost 2-0. It was the 100th League match between the two clubs, and of those 100 Arsenal won 37 and lost 46.

Here’s the programme from that day. Although very thin by modern standards, all the standard features are pretty much in place: club opinion, action shots from recent matches, tables, fixtures and results, and profiles of the opposition. The manager and captain aren’t yet deemed worthy of having their views included – opinion is left to the ‘Voice of Arsenal’.

This was one of the very first Arsenal programmes to feature full colour pictures – which I can’t show you, because the centre four pages were long ago ripped out and probably stuck to a 1960s bedroom wall. The programme price was doubled from the usual 6d (2½p) to one shilling (5p) as a result.

The club details on page two show that Peter Hill-Wood was already a Board member, with his father Denis as Chairman.

There were action shots from the League Cup semi-final away leg at Huddersfield, won 3-1 by Arsenal to set up a Wembley appearance against Leeds in the final. There is a superb picture of Peter Storey and Jim Furnell combining to keep out a Swansea shot in the FA Cup fourth round match.

The size of the Man Utd players is interesting: Stiles and Fitzpatrick both 5 foot 6, Dunne 5 foot 6¾, Burns 5 foot 8, Best 5 foot 8½, Law and Aston 5 foot 9½ – they were a team of midgets! No mention of Bobby Charlton, who was on international duty. (Thanks to those who informed me of that in the comments!)

There is mention of the 3,000 strong Man Utd supporters’ club in London – of course! That’s where all their fans come from, isn’t it? (Cue abuse from any Manc stumbling across this post.)

Arsenal’s attendances for the season are also interesting: home attendances against minor northern teams are 20,000-odd, London derbies against West Ham and Chelsea are in the 40-thousands, while the Spurs game drew 62,836.   Arsenal v Man Utd 24Feb68 1

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9 thoughts on “Feb 24 1968: Arsenal 0 Man Utd 2

  1. Phil, I take the main point of this piece to be the ‘interesting attendance figures’. We older fans, of course, need no reminder of how attendance drops off in bad times. And yesterday’s empty seats are a warning to Kroenke & Co of what seems likely to happen next season if the squad is not massively reinforced this summer. At two-thirds full, the stadium is no longer an asset, it starts to become a liability.

  2. Bobby Charlton was on international duty with England against Scotland that day (check out the half-time scorecard on the back page). Not sure where the original owner of the programme got their information as the England v Scotland game finished 1-1.

    Fitzpatrick played in place of Charlton for Man Utd. United’s goals were scored by Storey (own goal) and Best.

      • I think the match report said that Nobby had just returned from injury so wasn’t considered for the England game.

        As Big Al says, wasn’t one of our greatest between the sticks. His Arsenal career only lasted a few more weeks when he made a big error in the FA Cup 5th round game against Birmingham. He was dropped after that game, Bob Wilson came in and the rest, as they say, is history.

        Oh and another thing. We beat Swansea in the 4th round, not the 5th. We went out to Birmingham in the 5th. The reason that it looks like we were due to play Leeds in the 6th round is that the 6th round was a normal league day except for those that had survived that far. We were due to play Leeds in the league that day, unless we were still in the FA Cup when we would have played that game and the Leeds game would have been re-arranged. As Leeds did reach the 6th round the league game was postponed and played at the back end of the season – a satisfying 4-3 win with an infamously brilliant goal by the much maligned George Johnston killing off Leeds’ title aspirations.

        Love the old programmes. Just enough content and the right information to keep fans up to date.

  3. Nice one angryofislington.
    I was at this game in the East Stand upper-tier; the programme is in my brother’s loft in pristine condition. I NEVER folded a programme.

    Storey’s own goal was due to Georgie Best harrying ‘Snout’ into a poor back-pass… one of those slow-motion moments that seems to take minutes to cross the line.
    Best was exceptional throughout the game.

    The pic of Furnell could be from any of loads of games. Very agile to say the least.
    Hope Mertesacker is looking in today, as the picture of Ian Ure shows how to head a ball.

  4. ANDY – ?????
    “As Big Al says, wasn’t one of our greatest between the sticks.”

    I didn’t say that… I was referring only to the ‘fact’ that Furnell was agile (he used to leap around at full-stretch) and he was a big bloke. Think of a bigger version of Peter Bonetti aka ‘The Cat’ (though not as good). You can find lots of photos of Big Jim flying through the air as if shot from a cannon… well, erm… you get my point (?)…

  5. The programme always put the colours in for visitors who wore red like United as Red Shirts, White, Shorts, Red ‘Stockings’ as if they wouldn’t change kit. Same for Forest, Liverpool or the stripey Soton, Stoke and Sheff U.

  6. I was at the Feb 1968 Arsenal v Man Utd game. I was only 10 years old and took the train from Hampstead Heath to Highbury and Islington. Not having been to Arsenal before I asked my mum for directions. She said that I soon as I came out of the station to follow the crowds. I made my way to the Clock End it cost about two shillings to get in. First goal was an own goal by Peter Storey (think) and the second by George Best. Man Utd wore blue shirts that day. The reason why Bobby Charlton did not play was because they were playing the Home International Championships. England were playing Wales. However, I may be wrong here but it would explain the crowd of only 46000. I cannot remember Denis Law playing. He was always injured with cartlidge problems, I remember the long haired John Fitzpatrick playing in the number nine shirt. Both goals were in the first half if my memory serves me right and down the Clock End. What has always puzzled me is how ten months later and with basically the same team, and having won the European Cup, Man Utd were thumped 4 – 0. I remenber going with my brother and paying 4 shillings to get into the North Bank. My Dad was really angry at me paying this amount to see a football match.

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