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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tottenham 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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