Geordie Brace For Arsenal On This Day, 5th September 1970

A double from George Armstrong meant Arsenal triumphed in the first north London derby of the double-winning season. It would be four and half years before the winger would repeat this, January 1975 in a 3 – 0 win over Coventry City at Highbury.

The 1970-71 season started two wins and three draws in the opening six matches. To put matters into perspective, that run of fixtures included the visits of Manchester United and Don Revie’s Leeds United to Highbury, as well as visiting the previous season’s FA Cup winners, Chelsea, and Champions, Everton. The small matter of a London derby at Upton Park completed arguably the most difficult start to a season imaginable.

To emerge from those with a solitary defeat – at Stamford Bridge – was impressive and the solid foundation upon which the season’s glory was built.

The crowd of 48,713 was bettered twice at Highbury in the League, the visits of Manchester United and Stoke City in the final home game of the season, were the occasions when the attendances topped 50,000.


11 thoughts on “Geordie Brace For Arsenal On This Day, 5th September 1970

  1. Excellent bit of History, as always. Big thanks.

    I’m somewhat surprised at the attendances described above. I was (and still am) under the impression that the official capacity in the years 1970-75 (please tell me if I’m wrong) was approximately 63,000.

    I’m aware of the 73,000 record attendance (which was of course ‘illegal’). I’m also well aware that the all-seater stadiums (ours included) didn’t happen until the late 1980’s.

    A follow-up to my comment(s) would be gratefully appreciated.

    • Al

      The attendances rarely got into the 60s from 1970 onwards, mid to high 50s was generally the max. As a whole, attendances declined during the era you mentioned due to the escalating violence and sterility of the football on offer; it was a joyless offering from which English football is beginning to recover but you still see it existing at the highest level at Stoke.

  2. @ Yogi
    Thanks for reply…
    I was a regular in the period of the two games covered in the post (in fact I attended both matches).
    I wonder if there was maybe some extra seating at the bottom of the East and West stands, which would have decreased the capacity, though I feel pretty sure it’s not so.
    What’s especially confusing me to a degree is that in the double season, specifically, and also the follow-up season (rather obviously), I couldn’t get tickets at times (a complete sell-out I assumed), and had no choice other than purchase from touts (including Fat Stan). I can only imagine (now, with hindsight) that the seats ONLY were completely sold out, but standing space was available on the terraces. I always bought a seat, for the better view (East Stand top-tier preferably).
    Also, I don’t know if the excellent Arsenal Handbooks, with seemingly EVERY minute amount of info, actually recorded in print the attendances. Unfortunately, my handbooks (inc this period) are in England.

  3. @ Andy, cheers buddy!

    I was right in believing approx 63,000 was the official capacity… one fixture (only) in each season of 1970-71, and 1971-72 that touched the figure.
    Some of those attendances were amazingly low. Yogi did touch on the hooligan factor, but even so… I wonder what the general attendances were at the like of Old Trafford, or Anfield. Same?

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