Here’s an interview with Denis Hill-Wood from the Arsenal programme at the start of the 1979-80 season. There were some similarities with the situation Arsenal are currently in, having just won the FA Cup, their first trophy for eight years. If DH-W’s words teach us anything it’s that the more football changes, the more it stays the same. Reading his comments it seems that really the only difference is the amount of money involved. The Chairman laments the cost of keeping the stadium up to scratch – up to three quarters of a million pounds over the previous few seasons. There’s a great picture of Highbury’s East Stand smothered in scaffolding for re-roofing during the close season, though sadly the exact amount spent on that exercise is not revealed.
DH-W ends by saying how much the fans mean: “You are so much a part of the club.” Yes, it’s obvious PR, but personally I feel that old Denis did have more genuine concern for the average fan than the more recent Board members. Maybe I’m just naive though. Maybe football club owners have always been solely concerned with themselves.