Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Vultures refuse to die, but swans refuse to come to life sometime. Leeds United was to be the new big thing. A superclub on the level of the supreme Real Madrid of 1956-62. Well, well… they did not win the English title. Nor the other up and coming club – Liverpool. Nor Manchester United, still having its glorious squad of 1968. It was Arsenal in 1971 – both champions and cup winners. English competitive tradition was still alive and well. For some mysterious reason I never like Arsenal, but here they are:
Back row left to right: George Wright (physiotherapist), Bob McNab, Peter Storey, Peter Simpson, Geoff Barnett, Bob Wilson, John Roberts, Ray Kennedy, Peter Marinello, Don Howe (coach)Front row: Charlie George, John Radford, George Armstrong, Jon Sammels, FrankMcLintock, Bertie Mee (manager), Pat Rice, Eddie Kelly, George Graham, Sammy Nelson.
F. A. Cup winners: McNab, Armstrong, Kennedy, Kelly, Storey, Wilson, George, McLintock, Graham, Rice, Simpson.Exciting Arsenal were not, tough and dull – yes. Still are… Solid players, yet without real stars. Some big promise – fulfilled in the case of Ray Kennedy, but with Liverpool; unfulfilled in the case of Charlie George. Great manager – Bertie Mee, yet pretty much at the end of his career; not so great coach – Don Howe, who will build better reputation. On the wings of their success, Arsenal bought big star for the next season – Allan Ball. However, no further success will come for quite a long time.