Fan Favourites… 03 May 1998

Tom Cunliffe-Whitford, 21 January 2019

Sunday 3rd May 1998. Back row. Up in the gods (East Upper). Which was a positive, I could stand for the duration of the game.

Stood on my chair was also an easier position from which to ignore my mother – I hadn’t at this point forgiven her for not letting us buy a blow-up Premier League trophy on the way in to Highbury. We apparently didn’t want to ‘jinx it’. Jinx it?

We had been 12 points behind Manchester United well into the New Year, but as things stood we were just one win from three games away from the title – Arsenal’s first Premier League title and first league title since 1991. Jinx it? No chance. We were going to be Champions.

As a 10 year old boy this would be my first title proper; a tad too young to get away with ‘Yeah I was on the terraces at Anfield in 89.’ No, this would be it, the game I would remember most forever and a day, until all my days were through.

Our captain, Mr Arsenal, had sealed a 4-0 win.

Except it wasn’t. In fact much of the game is a blur. I do vividly remember Overmars screaming clear to grab our second. I do somewhat remember Tony Adams in that absolutely outrageous position clean through after being ‘put through by Bould.’ He then of course went on to chest the ball before hitting a clean volley with his left foot into the corner in front of the North Bank. Our captain, Mr Arsenal, had sealed a 4-0 win.

But do I remember him doing that? If I am honest with myself, no. That moment being etched in my mind probably has more to do with Martin Tyler’s famous commentary and how many hundreds of times I have watched it back.

No, the reason Arsenal vs Everton is the live match I remember more than any other is for everything else live football gives you. I was there with my family (brother and both parents) but the rest of them too. The other 38,415 in Highbury and however many more joined us in the May sunshine.

I remember the stench of onions more strongly than any other game despite being full from the café (I had spaghetti bolognaise). I remember my mother’s refusal to jinx the result. I remember the ‘Champions’ t-shirts and flags being sold. The ‘two bags for a pound’ sweets being demolished. I remember looking out of the windows of the East Stand and watching Ian Wright wave his medal at the fans below us on Avenell Road. I remember hundreds of people partying on the Blackstock Road as we failed to drive away from the stadium. I remember the carnival.

I remember not being able to sleep when I got home because we were champions. I had the flag to prove it.

Named after Michael Thomas, Tom is a season ticket holder at the Arsenal.

By |2019-01-21T15:56:57+00:00January 21st, 2019|

Leave A Comment