1989 League Title - Silver Anniversary

Discussion in 'Arsenal Talk' started by Uncle Mike, May 22, 2013.

  1. Uncle Mike

    Uncle Mike Member

    It just occurred to me that the oncoming 2013-14 season marks 25 years since an iconic Arsenal season, the 1988-89 League title.

    Is the club officially doing anything to celebrate this?

    The thought occurred to me: With the growth of the game, with players from all over the world now available, how would that classic Arsenal team, essentially limited to the British Isles as most English teams were then, compare to this one?

    Goalkeeper: John Lukic was good, certainly better than Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone. But he suffers in comparison to his predecessor, Pat Jennings, and his successor, David Seaman. Those guys were gods of the game, whereas Lukic was comparatively ordinary. I wouldn't mind have a Lukic in his prime behind Wojciech Szczesny, but he wouldn't be ahead. Edge: 2014.

    Right Back: Bacary Sagna has been a good soldier for Arsenal for years, but he's never been better than Lee Dixon was from 1988 up to around 2000 or so. Edge: 1989.

    Centreback: Steve Bould was tough and gutsy, but I don't think he was as talented as Laurent Koscielny. Perhaps whatever Bould has said to Kos this past season has helped, but that doesn't make him better than Kos. Edge: 2014.

    Centreback: Per Mertesacker was a better pickup than most of you give him credit for, but he's not Tony Adams. Edge: 1989.

    Left Back: Kieran Gibbs is coming along very nicely. Soon, he may be as good as Nigel Winterburn. But not yet. Edge: 1989.

    Right Wing: David Rocastle didn't have Theo Walcott's speed or power. But he scored some neat goals, he was one of the best passers in Arsenal history, and he was a better dribbler than most players are today. This is close, but I'm going to say... Edge: 1989.

    Midfield: Paul Davis was a fair player, and would be a bit of an upgrade over, say, Abou Diaby or Denilson. But he wasn't the kind of field general that Mikel Arteta is. Edge: 2014.

    Midfield: Kevin Richardson was all right, later helping Aston Villa finish 2nd and win a League Cup. But I wouldn't take him over Aaron Ramsey. Nor would I take Perry Groves or Brian Marwood over either Arteta or Ramsey: Very good reserves, but wouldn't make it as starters on a Top 4 side today. Edge: 2014.

    Left Wing: Michael Thomas scored what is still (so far) the most famous goal in Arsenal history. He was a good, not great player; more Bobby Thomson and Chris Chambliss than Carlton Fisk or Kirk Gibson (to use baseball analogies). Santi Cazorla of Asturias, Spain over Michael Thomas of Lambeth, London is a major example of how the allowance of foreign players has improved the English league. Although I would love to see Santi Caz score a goal anywhere near as important and then do a somersault. Edge: 2014.

    Forward: Paul Merson was everything that English fans of the pre-Arsène Wenger era liked: High-scoring, high-passion, high-living. He and Wenger were never meant to co-exist. There's a little bit of Merse in Olivier Giroud, the joie de vivre. But while Ollie's off-pitch life is an improvement, it's way too soon to say that he's the better player. Edge: 1989.

    Forward: Lukas Podolski has his moments, but he's also been a bit frustrating. Hopefully, he'll have shaken off his first-season-in-England jitters. But Alan Smith, because he came in between Arsenal icons Liam Brady and Ian Wright, has been almost forgotten in how good he was. He dominated the League in both 1988-89 and 1990-91. How many Arsenal players, before or since, have had 2 such dominant seasons? Edge: 1989.

    So that's 1989 with 6 edges, 2014 with 5. Which tells me that, were the 1989 team in the League now, they'd do all right.

    The question arises: If George Graham had the kind of resources (including transfer rules) available to him that Wenger has, who would he have brought in? Might Anders Limpar have been purchased sooner? Might he have picked someone off the bench at Milan or Ajax? Would Dennis Bergkamp have been spared his rough patch at Inter?

    Hopefully, the fixture list for 2013-14 will have Arsenal's home match against Liverpool late in the season (trying "1989 + 25 = 2013" wouldn't work), and a proper commemoration can be held. And maybe, with 1989 also marking the 25th Anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, the current Arsenal players can do what the 1989 team did that night, whose 24th anniversary is this Sunday, come onto the pitch with bouquets and hand the flowers to random fans at Anfield.
  2. Jury

    Jury Mission Accomplished

    Bould over Kos, for me, at this point, Uncle. Steve Bould is most underrated (not by those who know!) CB in history of football! If we had the technology to download Boulds brain onto a chip, and somehow insert it into Kos, we'd have the greatest CB the world has ever seen!

    I'd make room for Michael Thomas too. The combination of speed, strength and goals from midfield would be so handy....but we'd have to play a 442 to get him in.
  3. Jury

    Jury Mission Accomplished

    Almost rude not to include this vid in the op! :cry:

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQmO3S2eLPE" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQmO3S2eLPE</a>" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  4. Jury

    Jury Mission Accomplished

    That Liverpool side were arguably the best team in europe - just didn't have the chance to prove it becasue....because of their fans!
  5. dpt49

    dpt49 New Member

    The most amazing thing about the side that Graham had, was that the most expensive player cost 800k, and that was Alan Smith.

    Also every player in the squad was English apart from David O'leary.

    I used to go a lot in that era and although it wasn't the most thrilling or entertaining football to watch, I have never seen a team play together as a unit better than they did.

    The whole squad cost around 3m and had the best defence seen in this country.

    As for celebrating that achievement, beating Liverpool, the best team in Europe, in the last game of the season, with virtually the last kick, to win the league, then I think we should.

    There has never been such a finale to a league season in a top league.
    The Man City win, as good as it was, doesn't come close to the drama of the Arsenal win.
  6. alboots101

    alboots101 Well-Known Member

    I think I'm right when I say, that back five was the best in Europe and It was us not them fkn bin dippers that never got a chance to prove our worth.

    With everything we have achieved with AW, that night in eighty-nine is still the best night in my forty-three years of supporting thee Arsenal.
  7. alboots101

    alboots101 Well-Known Member

    Oops.....double bubble
  8. dpt49

    dpt49 New Member

    I totally agree.
    I can't see that being topped.
    Here are a few facts that I can remember from that game.

    1. First time Liverpool had been beaten at home by two clear goals for several seasons.
    2. First time the league had been decided on the last game of the season with the two teams involved playing each other.
    3. First time the league had been decided with the game live on TV.
    4. First time the last game of the season was played with the two teams involved at a different day to the rest of the league teams.
    5. First time the league had been decided on a Friday.
    6. The league was won in injury time, with almost the last kick of the game.

    If anyone can think of any more, please add them.

    I went to a lot of the home games that season and to watch us throw away a twelve point lead was too much. But it was worth it to see us win it in such dramatic fashion.

    It is the most exciting match I have ever seen us play in by some considerable margin.
    I still watch the highlights of the match every now and then, and still don't think we are going to do it.

    Seeing the few thousand Arsenal supporters, that travelled to Liverpool, going berserk when Thomas scored, is the most emotional thing I have seen in football.
    Simply unbelievable.
  9. Chappers

    Chappers Active Member

    I laugh when I hear the media's claim that Man City's two injury-time goals is the most thrilling end to a league season ever when we went to Anfield against the best team in the English game for two decades and our direct rivals for the title, needing to win 2-0 and we scored the second in the injury-time. That is unmatched in sport period IMO and I haven't heard of a title being decided on the final day of the season between the two clubs competing for the title before or since.

    I was too young to remember at the time but coming from a family of Gooners I have heard many stories about that match. What I would give to be able to experience that day again as a grown man. You who were lucky enough to have seen it on tv or been at Anfield have been a part of something that the rest of us can never fully appreciate and you know what a priviledge and a once in a lifetime experience that day was.

    I'm not sure the club will do anything special to celebrate 25 years since that unforgettable season but I hope the players can be inspired by what we accomplished in 1989.
  10. TheCourier

    TheCourier Active Member

    Alan smith would be today's version of lewandowski in 2014. Brilliant player
  11. Wouterus

    Wouterus New Member

    Not that it matters really, but quite recently (2010/2011 season) Ajax won the Dutch League on the final day after beating FC Twente 3-1. No injury time goal though, and it wasn't decided on goals scored.

    And only last week, The Belgian League title was decided on the last day in a direct match between Anderlecht and Zulte Waregem.
  12. fabo

    fabo 6.51 / 10

    Lewandowski was alot more mobile than Smith. Smith was my first 'favourite' player funnily enough, but I think it was mainly as an alternative to my brother picking Wrighty.

    Still remember sitting in the living room in 1994 when he scored the winner against Parma.
  13. ArsenesNO1Fan

    ArsenesNO1Fan Well-Known Member

    I was 9 and didn't know Arsenal until that game, I knew Liverpool though that was the team the bullies at school supported so especially movie like. From then on I was a fan, although I was also a massive fan of Barnes despite my dislike of Liverpool, brilliant player.

    Well I'm not sure it was better than Milan to be fair.
  14. Sydney Gooner

    Sydney Gooner New Member

    I only know Arsenal under Wenger but from what I've heard Graham seems like a Ferguson-type manager.
  15. dpt49

    dpt49 New Member

    Graham was similar to Ferguson in that he was a strict disciplinarian but in playing styles the two managers were quite different.
    Graham won the league twice in three seasons by beating teams, playing a long ball game, with the best defence in the country.

    Also Ferguson was by far the biggest spending manager in the league, whereas Graham was one of the lowest.

    They both took over their respective clubs in 1986, and Graham had won the league twice before Ferguson eventually won it.

    The difference between Graham and Wenger is that, although the playing styles of the two of them is completely different, both had teams that were built from young players coming through the youth system and from very little net spending.

    Graham will be remembered for playing a long ball game and having the best defensive system where the players worked as a unit and was the most disciplined defence, probably in Europe, including the great AC Milan team.

    I remember watching the debuts of most of these players, Adams, Bould, Dixon and Winterburn, in the mid to late 80's, and they were still there when we won the double twice, under Wenger.
  16. yuvken

    yuvken New Member Elite

    "Barnes is down... Aldridge is down... Dalglish just stands there" :lol:

    What a day. I doubt anything ever will equal this. What I had to go through that day... If I told you, you wouldn't understand it anyhow. But my nail biting ended 90 minutes after it was already done (I wasn't in England, and it was late at night). And even then, I couldn't go to celebrate for another 2 hours. I'll never forget that night.

    The club will do something about it? somehow I'm not sure - I don't see a big event, anyway.

    I'd like for the club to win a f*** trophy to mark the occasion - that would be nice. Win it in like fashion at Old T, That would do.
  17. Armor for Sleep

    Armor for Sleep New Member Elite

    25 years since 89 and 10 since the Invincibles. Lets hope we have a team next season to honor those sides properly.
  18. tap-in

    tap-in Nothing Wrong With Me

    Yes it was incredible. I remember the build up before and we not only had to win but by 2 goals, that seemed like a huge ask but it might just happen. At 1-0 you just felt so near yet so far, and it would have meant coming 2nd on points, which would have been awful, as Liverpool fans found out ;) Anyway, Thomas ran onto a ball from Smith and the rest is history. Great day/season!
  19. CurryFlavoured

    CurryFlavoured Well-Known Member

  20. leo_ense

    leo_ense New Member

    Glorious moment in the clubs history, Don't see these days like this anymore unfortunately. Arsenal beating an all conquering Liverpool side on the final day for the league title.

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