Spurs 0 Arsenal 1, 3 May 1971

For the first and probably only time, here’s a Spurs programme in full on this blog.

On May 3, 1971 Arsenal went to Spurs needing a win or a goalless draw to take the title. As we all know, a Ray Kennedy header won the match and the Championship for Arsenal, for what was then a record eighth time.Spurs v Arsenal 1971 001

The programme as you can see cost a princely five new English pence, the UK having undergone decimalisation just three months earlier. The front cover also features Spurs emblem, the cock and balls – sorry, ball. On the back cover the League table has been printed before all the weekend games 48 hours earlier. As it turned out, Leeds and Arsenal both won, against Forest and Stoke respectively, so positions at the top were maintained.Spurs v Arsenal 1971 002

The next two pages show Spurs beating Crystal Palace a week earlier, plus the introductory blurb about how big north London derbies are.Spurs v Arsenal 1971 003

Page four is written by journalist and former Arsenal player Bernard Joy. Joy played for Arsenal either side of WW2, winning a Championship medal in 1938, and was the last amateur player ever to play for the full England team.

The picture of Cyril Knowles on page 5 is the only colour picture in the prgramme – except it isn’t really, as it has clearly been tinted artificially from a black and white photo, making Knowles look like a character in a modern video game.Spurs v Arsenal 1971 004

The next two pages show the 1971 representatives of the greatest football club in the world.

Pages 8 and 9 show Arsenal’s record over the season and the projected line-ups for the match – easier in those days, before squad rotation and multiple-substitutes. However, Peter Storey was little bit fatigued from Saturday’s match, so Eddie Kelly took his place, with Jon Sammels as substitute.Spurs v Arsenal 1971 005

Page 10 tells us about the referee, Mr Howley of Billingham, who was taking charge of his last league match before retirement. He famously had to abandon his car a mile from the ground and fight his way through the crowds to get there on time. We also get dates for the Spurs close season tour of Japan and congratulations to Frank McLintock on being voted Football Writers’ Player of the Year.Spurs v Arsenal 1971 006

Page 11 advertises season tickets for 1971-72 at anything between £17.30 and £23 for the season.

After that it’s facts and figures. Interesting to note that although this was Arsenal’s final league match and Leeds had already finished their campaign, Spurs had to go away to Stoke two days later to complete their season. Did they win? Who cares. By that time Arsenal were busy looking forward to the FA Cup Final on May 8.Spurs v Arsenal 1971 007

Spurs v Arsenal 1971 008Tottenham captain Alan Mullery said before this match: “Arsenal have got as much chance of being handed the title by Spurs as I have of being given the Crown Jewels. They are the last people we want winning the Championship.”

Despite some good chances through the game it looked to be heading for the 0-0 scoreline Arsenal needed, until three minutes from time some sustained Arsenal pressure led to George Armstrong crossing for Kennedy to power a header into the top corner, clipping the underside of the bar on the way in.

The problem was that the goal didn’t really change anything: if Spurs scored to make it 1-1, Arsenal would lose the title on goal average. Only a win or 0-0 were enough. And having conceded, Spurs now found renewed energy to attack in the three minutes that were left. Arsenal held out, though, and it was a first title in 18 years. Then it was on to Wembley . . .

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9 thoughts on “Spurs 0 Arsenal 1, 3 May 1971

  1. I was there.
    The most memorable of all the games I’ve ever been to.

    I’ve got the programme – in fact, I’ve got every Arsenal programme of that season.

    I was at Wembley five days later when we completed the Double, but this game was far more special than the Cup Final.

  2. So was I. Talk about living in the past!!! I thought only THFC supporters did that?

    You deserved to win but the “double” was the most antifootball double ever and is why no one but AFC supporters ever try to remember it., in fact, until Wenger came it personified AFC and was why everyone hated them: not for the club but their brand of “football”. Wenger has been like a god for AFC and it seems that most have forgotten why “1-0 to the gooners” was so common as an insult. for nearly 30 + years.

    Funny, now just how the antiWenger rants have died down.

    • I was there too, and ” Will ” you must have been one of the few THFC supporters in the ground, as all I can remember seeing was red and white all around the ground. And after the game, Tottenham High Road was awash with the same colours, all you so called spurs supporters went into hiding. (Sour grapes Will?)

  3. I stood behind the Tottenham goal, to the right, amongst thousands of chanting Gunner fans when Ray Kennedy scored the goal. I was probably no more than 25 yards away from him when he headed the ball into the net. I particularly remember the chant of “Ars-en-al, Ars-en-al, Ars-en-al”, reverberating throughout White Hart Lane after we scored. It seemed that every fan in every seat was an Arsenal fan.

  4. My dad is Ron Finnerty, (the red flag linesman), an Arsenal supporter but always professional! He also had to argue with the ground staff to get into the ground!

  5. That’s rubbish!..I was there too and as a loyal spurs fan there was plenty of spurs fans there and as usual Arsenal won by getting 11 men behind the ball and hit us on the counter attack..we will always support our team unlike you so called arsenal fans who
    Only support your team when you are winning.. In fact you only sing when your winning!
    Remember Highbury the library!!. J

    • I’m sure that you’re a loyal Spurs fan, John. However, as I mentioned above comment (made in 2016!), although I’d traveled all over England to away games, I’d never heard an Arsenal chant that incredibly loud, home or away. The sound of “Ars-en-al”, Ars-en-al, Ars-en-al” seemed to be made by not only us hooligans on the terrace behind the goal, but also by every single person sitting in the stands. It was simply ringing all around the ground. An incredible moment for a Gunners fan.

      Obviously, there must have still been many Spurs fans throughout the stadium, especially in the seats. They were understandably so sad and dispirited at that last minute goal. It’s absolutely the most exciting sporting event that I’ve ever attended. If you listen to this 2 minute video, although hardly a scientific sample, it’s all Arsenal fans making the noise;

  6. Yes I was there as well and I have hated Arsenal ever since!!!!…It was one of the worse days of my life along with losing my ex- girlfriend Beverley in 1975 but this match sticks in my memory and my craw for two reasons One because OBVIOUSLY ARSENAL WON and secondly because the guy who got me supporting Tottenham and took me and my friend Tony Sutton to our first match in 1971 Actually started supporting Arsenal after that game!…He was not forgiven by us or his Spurs mates after that!…And I have never seen him since then…As for No Spurs fans there? HA HA YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!…THERE WAS AT LEAST HALF THE GROUND OF SPURS FANS!…I MYSELF WENT WITH A GROUP OF ABOUT 20 OR SO OF US…THE GUY WHO TOOK US THERE WAS CALLED GORDON SULLIVAN AND THERE WAS A PETER SULLIVAN AS WELL…I REMEMBER GORDON SULLIVAN WEEPING WITH HIS HEAD ON THE BAR OF THE TERRACES AFTER THE GAME INCONSOLABLE!.
    MAYBE THAT’S WHY HE STARTED SUPPORTING THE ENEMY BUT THERE WAS ALSO A GINGER SKINHEAD CALLED ALAN HAWKINS IN OUR GROUP WHO LATER BECOME THE PARK LANE BOOT BOYS!…I KNOW I WAS ONE OF THEM!…AHHH THOSE WERE THE DAYS!!…And on another note we also had a black guy called Wesley dick in our group ( from South London) yes we are SPURS fans from South of the river , although I don’t live there now… Wesley dick of the spaghetti siege infamy…Anyone Remember our group or were in our group?…COME ON YOU SPURS!!

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