After a week’s absence of writing for Gunnersphere, I jumped at the chance of writing this particular article.
No transfer news or anything like that today, just five moments that mattered most in the history of Arsenal FC. This will obviously be my top five moments, so feel free to agree or disagree with me, or even add yours belown in the comments section.
1. 30th of September 1996 – Arsene Wenger’s first day at Arsenal.
Arsenal fans didn’t have a lot to cheer about the last year before, following George Graham’s sacking on the 21st February 2005. Stewart Houston was appointed caretaker Manager until Bruce Rioch got the job on the 15th of June 1995. However, he eventually fell out-of-favour with the board and was sacked on the 21st of August 1996. Stewart Houston once again took over the reins lasting just six games before passing the throne onto Pat Rice who, in his 17 day tenure, saw the club win three games, scoring 10 goals along the way as well.
On the 30th September 1996 it was announced that Arsene Wenger would take charge of Arsenal starting on the 1st of October 1996. I was 16 at the time and it was met with a lot of ‘who?’ and sniggers from Manchester United and Tottenham fans. I knew nothing of him, as I would imagine most other Gonners were in the same boat. One of my close friends, who was an Aston Villa fan, once described him as a Gremlin during the first few days of his appointment (the one that talks from Gremlins 2!).
I went into the season with questions, it was only two seasons prior to Wenger’s appointment that we had finished 12th. 1995-1997 saw us finish 5th and then 3rd. So how would this unknown manager be able to better that? Would we go back down to being 12th?
Amazingly, Arsenal didn’t lose a game until the 1st of November. Our stats were – played 12, won six, drawn six. It then went downhill a little with just six points out of our next six games, losing on four occasions. All was not lost though. Arsenal then went on an 18 game unbeaten run which ended with the Gunners winning the Premier League in a 4-0 win over Everton to lift the title at Highbury, becoming the third club in history to win the English title. The game ended with this moment:
Arsenal then went on to win the FA Cup, completing the clubs first double since the 1970-71 season with a 2-0 win over Newcastle.
So in his first full season at Arsenal, we won the Premier League and FA Cup, who could have imagined a better way to rub it in thos United fans’ faces who gave us grief and stick for appointing Wenger.