#FlashbackFriday – Season 1967/68

By Robert Exley

Following yesterday’s offering, a look back at Arsenal’s campaign of 49 years ago

Over the summer, while on the other side of the Atlantic, the first ever Pop Music Festival took place at Monterey in California, after much protesting Arsenal decided to reintroduce the white sleeves to their shirts, with high hopes that it would bring back an Arsenal return to their thirties style prominence, as enjoyed under Herbert Chapman. Arsenal’s away kit meanwhile changed to a dark navy blue with white shorts. Bertie Mee’s second season in charge of Arsenal kicked off on the last day of July 1967, again with the regular behind closed doors friendly with Watford at Arsenal’s London Colney training ground, where the Gunners run out 4-0 winners. Seven days on, the first game in front of an audience had been the regular visit of Rangers in early August, lining up for the Gers that day would be none other than future Man United boss Alex Ferguson.

Events off the pitch however put the long term future of the fixture in doubt, as a running battle occurred on the North Bank between Rangers and Arsenal fans, involving glass bottles thrown. Some observers claimed there was more to it, as the areas surrounding Highbury by this point contained a lot of first and second generation Irish and with the Gers longstanding links with Protestantism, both sets of fans had spent much of the day provoking trouble. One upshot however was that it would be another thirty years before Rangers would visit Highbury again and following the game, Arsenal banned the sale of all bottled and canned beer and beverages in the ground.

In the match day programme for the next home game, blame was levelled at the Rangers fans, stating: ‘Incidents such as the one which occurred on the North Terrace when we played Rangers cannot be tolerated and unless strong action is taken the terraces of football grounds will be occupied only by thugs; decent people will stay away. Although on this occasion the trouble was caused by a group of Rangers’ supporters there was enough evidence from last season for us to know that it could happen again’. In the match itself, Arsenal enjoyed a comprehensive 3-0 win, courtesy of goals from George Johnston and two from Jon Sammels. The following Wednesday saw another home friendly, with a fixture against a Maccabi Select XI from Israel. In front of a crowd of just 6,335, Arsenal ran out 1-0 winners, with another from George Johnston.

On the last Saturday before the start of the 1967/68 League season, as Pat Jennings would score for Spurs from a drop kick at Old Trafford in the Charity Shield, Arsenal headed to Germany to face Hertha Berlin. George Johnston’s third goal in as many games gave the Gunners a first half lead, however with two second half goals for the Germans Arsenal would crash to a 1-2 defeat. Forty eight hours on, the Marine Offences Act came into effect, meaning that Pirate Radio stations such as North Sea based Radio London, were forced off air.

The following Saturday, Arsenal’s league season kicked off with a visit from Stoke City on the penultimate Saturday of August 1967. In front of a crowd of 27,144, goals for George Graham and Jon Sammels earned the Gunners a 2-0 win. Three days on, Arsenal headed to Anfield to face a Liverpool side whose opening game with Man City ended in a goalless draw. An attendance of 52,033 turned out for the game. A Liverpool Echo write up of the game stated: ‘Arsenal Stun Kop – but oh, how they need a marksman’. That however is exactly what Liverpool had in their favour. Two Roger Hunt goals inflicted a 0-2 defeat on Arsenal.

The following Saturday, Arsenal headed to the City Ground to face Nottingham Forest. The Gunners crashed to a 0-2 defeat as a result of two goals from Alan Hinton. Forty eight hours on, Arsenal would play Liverpool again back at Highbury, on the late August Bank Holiday Monday. It would be the fourth time in four months that the two sides would meet in the League and just forty eight hours prior, Liverpool enjoyed a thumping 6-0 win over Newcastle at Anfield. An attendance of 33,420 would turn out for the occasion. An own goal from Tony Hateley (father of eighties AC Milan and England star Mark) gave Arsenal a first half lead. In the second half, Jon Sammels doubled Arsenal’s lead.

Also, 1967/68 would be the first season in which substitutions would be permitted for tactical reasons rather than for injuries, as had been the case for the previous two seasons. The first such occurrence for an Arsenal player occurred in this match, with George Johnston coming on for John Radford. With no further scoring, Arsenal ran out 2-0 winners over Liverpool. Arsenal ended August 1967 in ninth place and three points behind league leaders Spurs, who had won three and drew one of their first four games. September 1967 started with a visit to Highbury from Coventry City. The Sky Blues were promoted to the old First Division for the first time the season prior under the management of former PFA Chairman and prime mover behind the abolition of the maximum wage – Jimmy Hill.

After his success in abolishing the maximum wage in 1961, Hill quit playing and was no longer involved with the PFA. He was then appointed boss of Coventry City and in six seasons took them up from the third tier to the top flight. Just ahead of the 1967/68 season however, Hill decided to quit Coventry rather than try his luck in the top flight. Jimmy’s attentions had been drawn to the presentation of Football on television and first became the technical adviser to the BBC’s thrice weekly football based drama series ‘United’. The show was unpopular with the viewers as it was not deemed a realistic enough portrayal of the game for traditional male football fans, while also being too male in its subject matter for female soap viewers.

In 1967, it was axed by the BBC and all 147 episodes of the show were wiped. Within a few months after its axing, Hill was then appointed as Head of Sport at David Frost’s fledgling ITV franchise London Weekend Television, where along with commentator Brian Moore he helped develop their successful regional football highlights show ‘The Big Match’ – their answer to the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’. On Hill’s exit from Highfield Road, former Man United and West Ham full back Noel Cantwell took over the reins. The Sky Blues however had failed to win any of their first four fixtures in the top flight – drawing two and losing two and stood second from bottom of the table.

Highlights of the game were shown on ATV London’s ‘Star Soccer’. Coventry took a first half lead with a goal from Bobby Gould. With twelve minutes to go, George Graham equalised for Arsenal. No further scoring meant that the game ended in a 1-1 draw. The midweek saw a trip to the Hawthorns to face West Brom. Goals for George Armstrong, Colin Addison and Jon Sammels earned Arsenal a 3-1 victory, with Clive Clark on target for Albion. The following Saturday, Arsenal headed to Bramall Lane to face tenth place Sheffield United in front of 14,939 spectators.

Goals for Colin Addison, Frank McLintock and two for George Graham earned Arsenal a 4-2 victory, with future Leeds United star Mick Jones and future Chelsea star Alan Birchenall on target for the Blades. Three days on, Arsenal kicked off their League Cup campaign with a trip to Highfield Road to face Coventry City. Goals for George Graham and Jon Sammels earned Arsenal’s passage to the third round with a 2-1 victory, while Ernie Machin was on target for Coventry. The following weekend had been the North London Derby at Highbury against a Spurs side that had won five of their first seven league games.

An added element to this Derby had been that on the morning of the match it had been the wedding of George Graham to a model by the name of Marie Zia at Marylebone Town Hall. His best man that day was his old Chelsea team mate Terry Venables, who was now turning out for Spurs. Later that day, they met on the pitch. Highlights of the game were covered by ATV London’s ‘Star Soccer’. George also scored on the pitch, along with Colin Addison, John Radford and a Terry Neill penalty as Arsenal ran out 4-0 winners – only Arsenal’s second North London Derby victory of the 1960s and their biggest win over the Auld Enemy for fifteen years.

A week later, Arsenal had another home fixture with the visit of Mercer and Allison’s Man City, highlights of which featured on the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’. The Blues were riding high having won five of their first eight games. In front of a crowd of 41,567, a John Radford goal gave Arsenal a 1-0 win which pushed them up to second in the table and only kept off of the top by Liverpool on goal average. On the last day of September 1967, Tony Blackburn launched Radio One by playing ‘Flowers in the Rain’ by the Move. Later that day, Arsenal’s winning run came to an end on the last day of September, with a trip to St. James’s Park to face thirteenth place Newcastle United. Goals for Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson and Wyn Davies meant Newcastle inflicted a 1-2 defeat on Arsenal, while George Graham would be on target for the Gunners.

Arsenal’s first fixture of October 1967 meant a trip to Old Trafford to face reigning League Champions Man United in front of a crowd of 60,201, which would be captured by the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’. A headed goal for John Aston inflicted a 0-1 defeat on Arsenal. A running battle between Ian Ure and Denis Law also saw the pair sent off with eight minutes left to play. The Gunners however got back to winning ways in midweek on meeting Reading in the third round of the League Cup. A goal for Peter Simpson meant a 1-0 win over the Royals, in front of a crowd of 27,866 at Highbury to put the Gunners through to the last sixteen. Back in the League, Arsenal faced a visit from Sunderland in front of 30,864 spectators. Goals for George Graham and John Radford meant a 2-1 victory for Arsenal, while George Kinnell was on target for Sunderland.

The Gunners’ penultimate fixture for October 1967 was a trip to Molineux to face Wolves, delayed by forty eight hours due to the Home Internationals/Euro 1968 double headers on the weekend. Goals for George Armstrong and George Graham were not enough to prevent a 2-3 defeat for Arsenal, with Alun Evans on target for Wolves and two for Derek Dougan. This would be Arsenal’s final game with Dave Sexton as First Team Coach. Chelsea’s poor form under Tommy Docherty led to the exit of the former Arsenal Right Half, with Sexton taking over as boss at Stamford Bridge. Sexton’s exit meant that Don Howe was promoted to First Team coach.

Five days later, Arsenal’s final game of October 1967 would be a visit to Highbury from bottom of the table Fulham. The 29,867 which turned out for this London Derby were rewarded with an eight goal thriller. A hat-trick for John Radford and two goals for Colin Addison meant a 5-3 victory for Arsenal, while Jimmy Conway, future Chelsea star John Dempsey and future Leeds forward Allan Clarke among the goals for Fulham. The Gunners ended October 1967 in fifth place, though just three points behind league leaders Liverpool. The first day of November saw a visit to Highbury from second tier Blackburn Rovers in the fourth round of the League Cup.

20,044 people turned out for the tie. Goals for Colin Addison and George Graham gave Arsenal a 2-1 victory and their passage to the Quarter Finals. Arsenal’s first League fixture in November was a visit to Elland Road to meet eighth place Leeds United. Mick Jones headed home his first League goal for Leeds United from an Eddie Gray corner after 25 minutes. This would be his second goal against Arsenal in two months after transferring from Sheffield United, however the former Blades man limped off injured at half time. Peter Lorimer added a second from the penalty spot eleven minutes into the second half. A deflected effort by McLintock deceived Gary Sprake in the Leeds goal to pull one back for Arsenal. Nine minutes from time however, Eddie Gray slammed home a Jimmy Greenhoff centre to complete a 1-3 defeat for Arsenal.

The trip to West Yorkshire would be the final appearance of Colin Addison in an Arsenal shirt, before transferring to Sheffield United, after the Blades sold both Mick Jones and Alan Birchenall. As Addison would explain in his own words in an interview with the Nottingham Post in 2013: ‘I got a few goals (at Arsenal) but I got a few injuries and it didn't work out for me in London. I never really settled. Bertie Mee was as straight as a dye and a great man-manager and, after about 20 months, he decided it might be best for me to move on’. One week later, Arsenal faced a visit from sixth place Everton to Highbury, who were just two points above Arsenal in seventh place. The game would be covered by the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’.

Scenes from the game would also be used for the BBC’s ‘Wednesday Play’, in the Ken Loach directed docu-drama ‘The Golden Vision’. Jimmy Husband gave Everton the lead, before goals from Jon Sammels and George Johnston put Arsenal a goal up at half time. In the second half, an equaliser from John Hurst earned Everton a 2-2 draw. In midweek, Arsenal headed to Rotterdam to play a friendly with Dutch side Feyenoord. A crowd as big as 60,000 turned out for the game. Jon Sammels scored twice for Arsenal, however the Dutch side inflicted a 2-3 defeat on Arsenal. The penultimate league fixture of November 1967 for Arsenal was a trip to Filbert Street to meet Leicester City.

Highlights of the game would be covered by ATV London’s ‘Star Soccer’ (though again ATV London footage from 1967/68 seems to be unavailable on the internet’s video sharing websites, presumed wiped). Goals for John Radford and George Johnston earned Arsenal a 2-2 draw, while Frank Large and Jackie Sinclair were on target for the Foxes. Three days on, Arsenal would face another friendly away fixture, this time to face Portsmouth. Arsenal crashed to a 0-2 defeat. Arsenal’s last league fixture in November would be West Ham’s visit to Highbury, covered again by ATV London’s ‘Star Soccer’. The Hammers would be languishing within the relegation zone, the game however ended in a 0-0 draw.

Arsenal ended November 1967 in eighth place, five points off of League leaders Man United. On the penultimate day of November 1967, Arsenal headed to Turf Moor to face Burnley in the Quarter Final of the League Cup. The match would be a piece of televisual history, as it would be the first competitive game in Britain to be available on pay per view. Back in the late 1960s, a company called Pay-TV was founded and jointly owned by the Associated British Picture Corporation, British Home Entertainment and British Relay Wireless. It provided an experimental coin-slot TV service, which was limited to 10,000 subscribers and operated in the Westminster and Southwark boroughs and then later in Sheffield.

Pay-TV viewers got their ten shillings worth in terms of goals. With Frank McLintock on target and two for George Graham, Arsenal earned a 3-3 draw and a replay back at Highbury. Three days on, the two sides met again at Turf Moor in the League. Highlights of the game were covered by the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’. The match gave a debut to Pat Rice, who came on as a substitute for George Graham. However a goal for Gordon Harris inflicted a 0-1 defeat on Arsenal. Both sides then headed to Highbury in the midweek for the League Cup replay. Goals for Terry Neill and John Radford earned Arsenal a 2-1 win and their passage to the Semi Final to face second tier Huddersfield Town.

Arsenal then faced a visit from Sheffield Wednesday, which was covered by ATV’s ‘Star Soccer’. Frank McLintock had put Arsenal a goal up in the first half. Three minutes into the second half however, the game was abandoned due to snow. Nine days before Christmas, Arsenal headed to the Victoria Ground to play Stoke City. A goal for George Graham earned Arsenal a 1-0 win. Arsenal’s last game before Christmas was a visit from mid-table Nottingham Forest on December 23rd. Goals for George Armstrong and two for George Graham earned Arsenal a 3-0 win. On Boxing Day, Arsenal headed to Stamford Bridge to meet Chelsea. Terry Neill put Arsenal ahead from the penalty spot, before two goals from Alan Birchenall inflicted a 1-2 defeat on the Gunners.

In the interim between Christmas and New Year, with ATV London’s ‘Star Soccer’ covering events, eighteenth place Chelsea visited Highbury in the return fixture, which meant the return of Dave Sexton to Highbury. John Radford gave Arsenal the lead, however Peter Osgood equalised from the penalty spot. With no further scoring, the game ended in a 1-1 draw. Arsenal ended the calendar year of 1967 in ninth place and ten points adrift of league leaders Man United with a game in hand. Arsenal’s first game of 1968 was a trip to Highfield Road to face Coventry City, who hovered one point above the relegation zone.

Bobby Gould gave the Sky Blues the lead, before a George Graham equaliser earned Arsenal a 1-1 draw. For Arsenal, it would be three draws on the trot with a visit from a Sheffield United side in nineteenth place and just three points above the relegation zone. Highlights of the game would be covered by the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’. A goal for Colin Addison on his return to Highbury and another George Graham goal meant another 1-1 draw for the Gunners. Without a win in four games, Arsenal went into their Semi Final tie with Huddersfield in poor form. Herbert Chapman’s old side stood mid-table in the old Second Division at the time of their visit to Highbury for the first leg.

A crowd of 39,986 turned out for the event. Goals for George Graham, John Radford and Bob McNab against his old club meant that Arsenal scraped through the first leg with a 3-2 lead to take to the away leg at Leeds Road. Three days on, Arsenal headed to White Hart Lane to face Spurs who stood one place above Arsenal in the table. A crowd of 57,886 turned out for the event, while highlights of the game were shown on ATV London’s ‘Star Soccer’. A goal for Alan Gilzean meant a 0-1 defeat for Arsenal. The final Saturday of the season saw Arsenal kick off their FA Cup campaign for 1967/68 with a trip close to the Welsh border, to meet third tier Shrewsbury Town in the third round.

A crowd of 18,280 turned out for the tie. A John Radford goal saved Arsenal from a giant killing, as Arsenal left Shropshire with a 1-1 draw. The replay took place three days later back at Highbury. Goals for Jon Sammels and David Jenkins earned Arsenal’s passage to the fourth round with a 2-0 win. Arsenal’s first fixture of February 1968 was a trip to Maine Road to face Man City, who stood third in the table. Making his debut for Arsenal was Bobby Gould, who having scored twice against Arsenal this season had transferred to Highbury. Arsenal took the lead with a goal from George Graham, however a Francis Lee equaliser meant a 1-1 draw.

Three days on was the second leg of the League Cup Semi Final at Leeds Road in Huddersfield. Goals for Frank McLintock, Jon Sammels and David Jenkins secured Arsenal’s passage to their first Wembley final since 1952 with a 3-1 victory (6-3 on aggregate). The following Saturday was back to League action again with a visit from Newcastle United to Highbury, highlights of which featured on the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’. The game ended in a 0-0 draw. The penultimate week of February 1968 was a trip to Vetch Field for Arsenal’s FA Cup fourth round tie away to Swansea City (then known as Swansea Town). The Swans were then languishing in thirteenth place the old Fourth Division.

The tie drew the Swans’ record attendance of 32,786. Arsenal won the game 1-0 with a goal from future Wales manager Bobby Gould (his first for the Gunners) and were now seemingly on a dual carriageway to Wembley after reaching the last sixteen of the FA Cup. Before Arsenal headed to Wembley for the League Cup Final, the Gunners were to face reigning Champions Man United, who were in the hunt for their second successive League title. The match was the one hundredth league meeting between the two sides and the match day programme has been uploaded on the ‘Angry of Islington’ blogsite of long-time Gooner contributor Phil Wall.

Interestingly, this fixture was played out at the same time as Scotland met England at Hampden Park for the British Home International Championship/Euro ’68 qualifier double header and deciding fixture as which side would progress to the Quarter Finals of the European Championships. As a result of this, Bobby Charlton was on international duty and unable to turn out for Man United. Denis Law however hadn’t been selected for the game and George Best and Northern Ireland were to play Wales in the midweek, therefore United still had two thirds of the Holy Trinity left to call on. There had been no Arsenal players called up for either England or Scotland, the Gunners therefore had a full squad to call on.

A crowd of 46,417 turned out at Highbury for the event. Goals for George Best and an own goal from Peter Storey inflicted a 0-2 defeat on Arsenal. Seven days on, on March 2nd 1968, Arsenal headed back to Wembley for the first time in a generation to meet Don Revie’s Leeds United in the League Cup Final. What is interesting however is that the League Cup final wasn’t a fixture shown live on television. From a quick look BBC Genome also, it doesn’t look like it was even covered live on the Radio, so unless you were able to get a ticket for Wembley its highly unlikely you would have followed the game in real time. Luckily, highlights were shown across the ITV network, though not shown until the following day.

As this Pathe News piece on the final states, the game against Don Revie’s side turned out to be one of the least glamourous games ever staged at Wembley. On twenty minutes, Arsenal keeper Jim Furnell had been impeded by Paul Madeley at a corner and Terry Cooper volleyed the ball into the Arsenal net. The remainder of the encounter was quite an ugly affair, with one incident in particular being Frank McLintock fiercely challenging Gary Sprake leading to a bit of a free for all between the Leeds and Arsenal players within the goal mouth. With no further scoring the game ended in a 0-1 defeat for Arsenal and Leeds United’s first major trophy win. One week later, for the second season in a row Arsenal would face Birmingham City in the fifth round of the FA Cup, this time at Highbury.

The Midland side were still languishing in the second tier and stood in fifth place with high hopes of promotion to the top flight as they were just three points off of League leaders QPR. A crowd of 45,515 turned out for the tie, though Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw, with John Radford on target for the Gunners and Geoff Vowden scoring against Arsenal or the second season in a row. The replay took place three days later back at Birmingham’s St Andrews stadium, with a turnout of 51,586 for the tie. Jim Furnell would lose his place in the starting line up to Bob Wilson, who remained Arsenal’s first choice keeper from hereafter. Despite a goal from Bobby Gould, two goals for Barry Bridges inflicted a second FA Cup giant killing on Arsenal within twelve months with a 1-2 defeat.

Birmingham also defeated Chelsea at home in the Quarter Finals, before losing to fellow West Midlanders West Brom in the Semi Final. The Blues also missed out on promotion after finishing 1967/68 in fourth place. As for Arsenal, in a manner rather similar to Arsene Wenger’s sides in the last decade, the Gunners’ season had unravelled within a matter of days and effectively consigning Arsenal to a fifteenth straight trophy-less season. The following Saturday, Arsenal’s league fixtures resumed with a visit from a Wolves side who were just two points off of the relegation zone. Goals for John Holsgrove and Frank Wignall inflicted a 0-2 defeat on Arsenal, which meant that the Gunners had failed to win all but one of their last seven games, their only victory coming against fourth tier Swansea Town.

For the penultimate fixture of March 1968, Arsenal headed to Craven Cottage to face bottom of the table Fulham, who were now managed by future England boss Bobby Robson. Les Barrett gave Fulham the lead, however goals for Bobby Gould, George Graham and David Court meant a 3-1 victory for Arsenal. The Gunners last fixture of March 1968 occurred on a Friday evening at the Boleyn Ground against fifteenth place West Ham. The fixture was rearranged from the week when Arsenal played Leeds United in the League Cup Final, earlier in the month. The reason why it had been played was because both Arsenal and West Ham were scheduled to play Leeds United and West Brom respectively, but both were both otherwise engaged in the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup.

Goals for George Armstrong for Arsenal and a nineteen year old Trevor Brooking meant a 1-1 draw, as Arsenal ended March 1968 in tenth position. Arsenal started April with a trip to Goodison Park (where the Gunners had failed to pick up a win for over a decade), to face fifth place Everton on Easter Saturday. Two goals for Joe Royle furthered Arsenal’s misery as Everton inflicted a 0-2 defeat. Arsenal’s next fixture was the following Wednesday with a trip to the Dell to face sixteenth place Southampton, who were just two points off of the relegation zone. Two goals for Welshman Ron Davies saw Arsenal suffer a 0-2 defeat. .

The following Saturday, saw a visit to Highbury from fifteenth place Leicester City. The Highbury attendance had now dropped to as low as 19,108. Goals for Bobby Gould and George Graham earned Arsenal a 2-1 victory, while David Nish would be on target for Leicester City. The result would be only the second league victory for Arsenal since Christmas. Forty eight hours on, Southampton came to Highbury for their return fixture with Arsenal. The Saints had managed to pull themselves up to fifteenth place since their last meeting with Arsenal five days prior. Goals for Terry Paine, Mick Judd and Joe Kirkup meant Arsenal suffered a 0-3 defeat. .

The penultimate Saturday in April 1968 saw Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech in Birmingham in response to Labour’s Race Relations Acts, while Arsenal head to Roker Park to play nineteenth place Sunderland, with a gate of 31,255 swelled by thousands of Rokerites turning out to cheer their side on to top flight safety. Goals for Charlie Hurley and a Bob McNab own goal meant that Arsenal suffered a 0-2 defeat. This therefore meant that Arsenal had suffered a run of just six wins out of twenty three games in all competitions – four of which had been against lower league opposition (if you recall the scene from the 1997 film adaptation of Nick Hornby’s ‘Fever Pitch’, where the pessimistic old man in the man in the café back in the sixties bemoaned that Arsenal were rubbish this season, last season and will be rubbish next season and the season after - this kind of form was probably what he was referring to!). .

This poor run of form saw Arsenal drop to tenth in the league. The Gunners however got to finish 1967/68 on a high with five straight victories in their final five games. The final Saturday of April would see the visit of Burnley to Highbury. The crowd was still at a low of 15,278, however goals for George Armstrong and David Court earned Arsenal a 2-0 win. Three days later, on the final day of April 1968, Sheffield Wednesday came to Highbury to complete the fixture which had been called off midway through due to snow, the previous December. Goals for David Court, John Radford and Bobby Gould earned Arsenal a 3-2 win, while John Ritchie and Peter Eustace would be on target for Wednesday. Forty eight hours later saw the start of the May ’68 student protests in Paris, while the return fixture with Sheffield Wednesday came back at Hillsborough the following Saturday. .

Jim McCalliog gave Wednesday the lead, however goals for John Radford and Bobby Gould meant Arsenal bagged a third straight win on the bounce. Arsenal’s penultimate league fixture of the season would be the visit of Leeds United, with much bad blood still remaining from the League Cup Final just a couple of months prior. The West Yorkshire side were still in the hunt for their first league title and stood three points behind League leaders Man City with two games left to play and a game in hand over their rivals. They were also in the middle of a two legged Inter Cities Fairs Cup Semi Final with Dundee. Leeds United however were without Norman Hunter and Terry Cooper, who were on international duty to face Spain in the second leg of England’s Euro ’68 Quarter Final tie. .

There had also been injuries to centre half Jack Charlton and goalkeeper Gary Sprake. Arsenal took the lead with a Paul Madeley own goal, before Mick Jones equalised for Leeds United. Frank McLintock would pounce after a drop from Leeds keeper David Harvey, to restore Arsenal’s lead. Peter Lorimer however would equalise before the break with the two sides going in at half time with two goals each. Bobby Gould put Arsenal ahead in the second half, before Johnny Giles equalised for Leeds for the third time. With seconds left on the clock, Arsenal found a winner from George Johnston to earn a 4-3 win and bury Leeds United’s title hopes. The West Yorkshire side however would add the Inter Cities Fairs Cup to their 1967/68 trophy haul. .

Arsenal’s final League fixture of the 1967/68 season would be a visit to Highbury from FA Cup finalists West Brom. Goals for Frank McLintock and Bobby Gould earned Arsenal a 2-1 win, with Doug Fraser on target for the Albion. West Brom however were to seal the FA Cup the following week with a 1-0 victory over Everton. Arsenal ended 1967/68 in ninth position and fourteen points behind League Champions Man City, under the two points for a win system. While Man United also became the first English side to win the European Cup with a 4-1 victory over Eusebio and Benfica at Wembley, Arsenal ended the 1967/68 season with a trip to the Far East, as the first English professional club to tour Japan. .

There then followed three matches within a week against the Japanese Olympic XI to help prepare them for the upcoming Mexico City Olympic Games, as well as promote Football to the Japanese public. The first of which took place in Tokyo in front of 58,000 spectators. Goals from Terry Neill and two for Bobby Gould earned Arsenal a 3-1 win. The second game three days later, took place at Fukuoka in front of a smaller crowd of 13,000. Nineteen year old sub, Isle of Wight born David Simmonds, scored to give Arsenal a 1-0 win. Arsenal’s final game against the Japanese XI was on returning to Tokyo. 68,000 spectators turned out to witness a 4-0 win for Arsenal, with goals from David Jenkins, another for David Simmonds and two for Frank McLintock. .

The Japanese Olympic side meanwhile went on to take the Bronze medal at the Olympic Games the following October. Arsenal however had one more fixture to play at the start of June 1968 against a President’s All Star XI. With goals from David Court, Bobby Gould, as well as substitutes David Simmonds and a hat-trick for David Jenkins coming off of the bench, Arsenal ran out 6-2 winners. After three goals on the Japanese Tour for David Simmonds, he never went on to make a first team appearance for Arsenal, but found notoriety for scoring for Colchester against Leeds United in their shock FA Cup giant-killing three years later. .

The conclusion of Arsenal’s tour of Japan had meant the end of the Gunners’ fixtures for 1967/68. Though a domestic final was reached, along with a top half finish, Arsenal’s ambitions of returning to glory were still a long way off. As will be seen next week, another final would be reached in 1968/69, however more heartache would follow before Bertie Mee would restore glory in London N5.

Robert Exley can be found on Twitter and is the editor of Upstart Football, whose #FlashbackFriday edition this week covers a review of the Euro ’72 Championships with all available video links.

16th June 2017 10:45:07


Comments and Reaction

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Yes its Ron  12:40pm 16th Jun 2017

My first Final! Pretty sure it was Jack Charlton who fouled Furnell to create their goal not Madeley though.Hateful team Leeds. Dirtiest side to ever take to a Div 1 pitch possibly. They invented gamesmanship under that bar steward Revie. Cloughie was right when he went there and told them to throw their medals in the bin as they were all falsely won. - Post No. 108078

Badarse  13:21pm 16th Jun 2017

Remembering is a bitter sweet event, great to re-live, not so good to realise that that part of your life has evaporated. At a few games that year-the 2-2 Everton game, that bizarre experience of the brown bottles coming down from the Clock End against Rangers in the friendly match, and was at the Final, at the end where we conceded the goal. Thanks Rob. @Ron it was definitely Paul Madeley who leapt into 'Fingers' and fouled him. Some of the papers got it wrong as Leeds had begun stationing a big man in front of the keeper under Revie's instructions. That always impeded the keeper and fundamentally obscured his view. I believe Charlton backed into Furnell setting him up, and Madeley delivered the coup de grace as he clattered into him. Outrageous incident but allowed, as we began to see it more often. The lads wore those blue and white hooped socks that day too. I think my ticket had a 10 or 15 bob face value, so 50 or 75 pence. - Post No. 108081

Yes its Ron  15:08pm 16th Jun 2017

ok Baddie . Got that re Charlton. Yes, it seems like only yesterday doesn't it. I couldnt go the following yr nor did i get to go in 72 v Leeds. In fairness, they had cleaned up their act a bit 72 i think. Still obnoxious tactics but the sheer dirty tackling had been toned down a bit. I confess to being a Chelsea fan in 1970 v Leeds as i was lucky enough to go to Old Trafford to see Chelsea go to toe to toe with them and win the FAC. What an atmosphere that was at that match. A great memory albeit a Chelsea glory night. They were a popular side for neutrals back then though werent they - Cooke Ossie Bonetti Webb Hutchinson (of the massive long throw in) Hollins Houseman and Co, thats my defence and im sticking to that!! - Post No. 108082

Yes its Ron  15:20pm 16th Jun 2017

Baddie - just seen yr comments on F Mac on the other thread. I can see why you say that. He burned passion Arsenal and winning didnt he. A good many Clubs had some real leaders for Captains back then though of course. Mike Bailey for Wolves was one i always liked. Harris at Chelsea was a good one too. Labone at Everton. Mackay at Spurs too. He was a class player as well. Quite a few others who i cant think of right now. - Post No. 108083

Badarse  10:09am 17th Jun 2017

Firstly Ron I have to again say that I am indebted to you for the mention of Eric Gales. As mentioned on different occasions I am first and foremost an old Beatles man, but my musical interests stretches this way and that. I know what I like but equally what I cannot listen to. I do like the guitar work of individuals, Clapton et al, I have now added another to that list thanks to your awareness and knowledge, so good man, ta! Yes Leeds began to clean up their act for sure, we met in that League Cup Final in their raw days. Here's a comparison, Revie acting religious, pious and devout, (in Bremner's book, 'You get nowt for coming second', I believe he said, "We sat down to eat the dinner and he made us pray before we began eating"). Ironic that Jamerson used his piety as a vehicle for the ugliness that spewed forth...there's that 'forth' word again! Yes there were natural skippers back then. As I oft say it is just evolution. Differing circumstances, altered dynamics, and lo! We have colourless individuals acting like hired guns, with business-minded footie clubs, and a new breed of supporter/visitor to those stadiums. Darwin you have a lot to answer for despite being one of my champions. Just an opportunity to 'boast' a bit, saw the 68, 69, both legs in the 70, 71, and 72 finals. - Post No. 108084

mbg  17:21pm 17th Jun 2017

That's probably where TOF is at the minute, as he's gone off the radar (chance would be a fine thing)bogeying around Monterey,(is there a pop concert on or a beach ?) working hard day and night around the clock to sign our next nice boy. wenger out. - Post No. 108085

Badarse  18:08pm 17th Jun 2017

Good morning mbg, I've boogied around Monterey but have always resisted bogeying-I find it just gets up people's noses, don't you? By the way Monterey-Cannery Row, a literary hero in John Steinbeck set two books there. We shall discuss tonight at the Online Gooner Virtual Book Club gathering-see you there. - Post No. 108086

markymark  17:30pm 18th Jun 2017

Badarse - you mention Revie was religious . Something I didn't know. Whenever I see pictures or film extracts of Revie he reminds me of various Met Inspectors / Yorkshire Police / West Midlands or Local councillors . All probably pulling the pious trick but corrupt to the core. Still it's probably still happening today but not quite as comic as the Vice Squad raiding porn joints then selling it back at a profit. Onwards and upwards lets have a lovely summer of Brexit vote and GE part two. - Post No. 108087

TOOAW  18:22pm 18th Jun 2017

@markymark. A little bit of egg on your face my friend. Prior to Wenger's signing of his contact extension, you were adamant that Gazidas was going to be the dark horse in all of these shenanigans. Same board, same backroom staff, no D.O.F. Same Arsenal. They had you hook line and sinker son and made you look a fool in believing so. AFC is a business in which the model is doing exceptionally well. Good old Arsenal. - Post No. 108088

Bard  18:55pm 18th Jun 2017

Baddie as we were talking music. I can recommend Arsene and the Muppets new 4 cd collection its called Catalyst for change. Its actually an annual re release of the same album but under a different name. About 5 years ago it was called 'Project Youth'. It starts of well but the improvisation in the middle is unintelligible. I like 'Believe in me' and later there is a surreal track called 'I will take you to the next level'. The reviews on Amazon are pretty scathing but apparently he has a loyal following who havent yet realised that its the same album over and over again. Enjoy. - Post No. 108089

CORNISH GOONER  20:23pm 18th Jun 2017

Boogy/bogies - what the hell is going on here? I can confirm there are no bogies in clear air Cornwall. As to the footie, it's clearly going to be the same old, same old (very difficult to get excited about all the rumours around Tier 2 players who might be avaricious enough to come to L'Arsenal) so I shall be switching off for a while & concentrate on the Lions Rugby whilst the few remaining AKBs (you know who you are) get moist over the impending "excitement" of another yet Arsenal transfer window driven by our unique Commander in Chief. Meanwhile, I leave you in the capable hands of my compatriot "a cornish gooner". When things eventually & inevitably go tits up next season I hope the pair of us will be able to organise a protest march up to England. Bonsoir mes amis. - Post No. 108090

markymark  22:25pm 18th Jun 2017

TOOAW - well if Gazidis is going to say catalyst for change, oversea Wengo's extension then not resign after he goes on without any change it's a sad inditement on him. Whereas If your Wengo F's up in February again it's double egg and turds in your face. - Post No. 108091

A Cornish Gooner  1:53am 19th Jun 2017

@(Thank God)TOOAW So we're not signing Darren Burgess then? Cornish. Sign me up for your 'Pensioners Against Wenger' movement. - Post No. 108092

peter wain  8:09am 19th Jun 2017

our underwellming performance in the transfer market precludes a mid table performance next season verging to flirting with relegation. Wenger out now. - Post No. 108093

Badarse  10:17am 19th Jun 2017

The meeting of the Online Gooner Virtual Book Club was once more a success. Ron had read, 'Top European Coaches, and Ordinary English Buses.' He said he'd never read a book on transportation again as it didn't get you anywhere. Bard, having last read Nosferatu, opted to read Bram Stoker's Dracula-(for the fifth time in Book Club). He was once more angry claiming the factual inaccuracies by citing the cloves of garlic he keeps down his socks as irrefutable proof of one such falseness. SKG had refused to read a book claiming the comfort of the Daily Express he has read and trusted all his life as his only moral compass. He sat with it rolled up in his back pocket as a sign of reverence. (we ate fish and chips afterwards and we served his in a copy of the Sunday Express to wind him up-naughty boys). He admitted that he had read Highbury again by Jon Spurling and cried all night. jeff wright was there but again he sat alone in the corner of the hall with his back to us. He'd read The Complete Works of The Brothers Grimm', his one comment being, 'You couldn't make it up!' mbg did attend despite playing hard to get during the day. He had declined a new book for this month as he hadn't finished colouring his last one yet. The one positive is he has agreed to The Online Gooner's Virtual BBQ at his drum this summer-the goldfish are safe! jj appeared unexpectedly and had glowing comments about the book he'd read of one of his heroes. It was 'Jamie's 15 minute Meals'. jj was full of such bizarre one worded comments, and one-liners galore it was difficult to completely understand his gibberish, but we got the drift. Holloway Pyrex Bowl; Winkle Pizza; Bobby-socks Pires whipped delight; and Mucker, Pukka, Sucker as a final Camus-like goodbye. The Mark of Nark was there having read Magnificent Bastards by Rich Hall-a good choice; I read Slam by Nick Hornby-an excellent read. See you all again in a month, readers. - Post No. 108094

Badarse  11:02am 19th Jun 2017

Good moaning Dark Lord, how are you hanging? I already have that CD, also a copy in green vinyl, a collector's item-musical gold! As a comparison, we have a dullard approach to politics-the current laughing stock of Europe. Year on year we buy new copies of, 'Blue on Blue', believing that we shall get magnificent improvements, or at least hang onto the little bit of good fortune fate may have decreed us. When things go horribly wrong we immediately look for scapegoats, then continue making those same errors of judgement. The merits of an individual football club manager pales in the face of those poor lost souls predicament-victims of an avoidable tragedy. Possibly we all suffer from a form of snow-blindness, or altered perceptions; perhaps it is just a flaw in human nature, no? - Post No. 108095

Badarse  11:43am 19th Jun 2017

Hi Mark of Nark. Yes ironic that Revie was a bible-puncher, yet he was snake-like in his behaviour...'Excuse me Badarse, we've been demonised ever since that fairy story Genesis painted us as evil, and all because we have low down bums, but you might also say we are well-grounded.' Sorry serpents of the world,(excepting Rupert Murdoch), my gaffe. As England manager-a post he had campaigned for-he was secretly setting up a deal with rich Arabs for a new post. Religion does not have the monopoly on good or bad behaviour though, a fact oft overlooked. If someone pulled a 'pious trick' on me it wouldn't wash-as a humanist I see through their spiel. Met the Mayor and Mayoress on Friday and avoided a political rant, just kept it light and friendly-they went away wrapped in their bubble, I stood with a prick in my hand wanting to burst it-(surprising what you can do with a little pin)-but resisted in the knowledge that I could see through them, but they didn't even see me, so their 'trick' didn't wash either. Enjoy your summer buddy, but don't forget the summer Virtual BBQ at mbg's. On the subject of BBQs, we decided spontaneously to have one on Friday evening as a tribute to Jo Cox's memory-as there was only the two of us there wasn't much of a Q, but it was nice to reflect on the loss of this beautiful and intelligent young lady. - Post No. 108096

mbg  14:14pm 19th Jun 2017

And your messiah has plenty of them, and not only in his hooter either. wenger out. - Post No. 108097

A Cornish Gooner  14:39pm 19th Jun 2017

TOOAW Darren Burgess AND Huss Fahmy? Looks like change to me. - Post No. 108098

Herd  16:12pm 19th Jun 2017

I was at the Spurs Home game and the United and Newcastle one ! I thought Simpson hit the long pass back to fingers furnell who then muffed it big time but i remember Best in blue being amazing ! - Post No. 108099

Badarse  16:36pm 19th Jun 2017

1968 was a funny year for me-I have endeavoured to make every year funny for my compatriots, Dark Moanies too. I was at Wembley in April for the European Nations Q/F game against Spain, and returned a short while after to see Man U lift the European Cup, and Matt Busby joining in pitchside celebrations, a decade on from the air crash. I think mentioning this fact once before set that Rottweiller mentality of AKB off believing that I was a Man U fan-silly billy. Saw so many games in those days all over the place-wish I had my time again. Thanks once more Robert, another memory triggered. Here's a funny one. Was at the home of someone we know in the afternoon, last Friday week. They were preparing for a couple arriving in a couple of hours for their airb&b let, it transpired it was Lineker and his agent; we enquired afterwards if they had made a mess or not-they hadn't. It's a funny old game. - Post No. 108100

mbg  18:42pm 19th Jun 2017

peter wain, the wengerites still believe he's out working day and night to sign top top class qualittee, the only problem is he hasn't brought enough fags with him, still offering tens instead of twenty's. You couldn't make it up. We want wenger out. - Post No. 108101

Badarse  19:42pm 19th Jun 2017

mbg, who are all these Wengerites that you constantly refer to? They are praying to their Messiah, they think this, they do that. How do you know all these crazy characters? I suggest it may be the circles that you move in, and remember, there is only one of you, so stop looking in the mirror as you type. - Post No. 108102

mbg  20:36pm 19th Jun 2017

Apparently TOF is about to beat the mighty Everton to the signing of his latest wonder kid Sander Berge (reminds me off a barge on the Thames, no doubt knowing TOF will sink like one.) he must have brought tipped fags with lighters. We want wenger out. - Post No. 108103

Badarse  21:08pm 19th Jun 2017

mbg, I think we are the only ones here, all the rest have gone home. Turn the lights off and tip toe quietly, come on, we can pop to Pizza Hut and I'll treat you to a winkle pizza. Pardon? You can't tip toe in wellies? Well walk as normal as possible and don't shuffle sideways as you usually do. Shhh! We don't want to wake up the OG Admin man. And please stop winking-it's not pleasant to look at. I bagsy the window seat. - Post No. 108104

markymark  23:25pm 19th Jun 2017

A Cornish Gooner - I'm particularly pleased with Huss. I met him once and he recommended one of the Team Sky doctors after I'd been moaning about my right knee (arthritis). Anyway just one injection and there I was belting down the road smashing all my previous bests and within touching distance of an Olympic Trial. I suffer from Asthma as well, I hear he's amazing with that as well:) - Post No. 108105

mbg  0:29am 20th Jun 2017

Apparently TOF's in for (the wengerites favourite phrase) among others lacazette, lemer, and mbappe, yes the three of them can you believe it ? (we certainly know who do and will) not sure which one it is think it's lacazette or it could be big Baps who have 30m on their heads and TOF is reportedly only willing to pay 16, now that I do believe. wenger out. - Post No. 108106

A Cornish Gooner  0:48am 20th Jun 2017

markymark Yes good news about Huss. Hopefully there's a plane load of 'decongestants' (anti-bogeying medicine Baddie) destined for the Emirates. With any luck we could end up with a 'different' squad of players without signing anyone. - Post No. 108107

peter wain  8:31am 20th Jun 2017

another day and no movement in the transfer market. Still we have signed with universal so may be we will get some good films. Looks like Ox is joining Sanchez Ozil and Bellerin in leaving. Question to Mr Wenger will you have first team left in August? - Post No. 108108

CORNISH GOONER  11:13am 20th Jun 2017

A quick question - why has Ivan The Terrible signed yet another hotshot lawyer to "assist" Big Dick Law with contractual stuff when we all know the few "big" signings will be of the Lacazette level? Hope they haven't saved money there as well & inadvertently recruited a Conveyancing Bloke from Rightmove. Ivan to The Ostrich - "done a good deal there Boss - only £60k a year plus a profit share on player sales". - Post No. 108109

Yes its Ron  11:15am 20th Jun 2017

Baddie. Footie aside for the moment and to better things, did you hear Hilary Mantel this morning on Rad 4? - Reith Lec?. Brilliant stuff. Try and catch it if you didn't. Well worth it and im sure you ll agree that it resonates with much of how things re AFC are perceived and conveyed on here by all of us at times. - Post No. 108110

Yes its Ron  11:43am 20th Jun 2017

CG - 'Lacazette level' is where it is now, though hes seems a decent player doesn't he? I dont know too much about him but his record seems decent. Gunners supporters have to accept that the so called mega signings just arent going to materialise at Arsenal. Arguably, they never have. He seems a better bet than say, spending loads on such as Lukaku who i thing is wildly over rated to be honest. Lacazette would partner Wellbeck pretty well? - Post No. 108111

CORNISH GOONER  12:05pm 20th Jun 2017

Hi Ron - thanks for the Hilary Mantel tip off, I had forgotten. Eagerly awaiting the third & final part of her brilliant Cromwell/Henry novels. Forgetting the sheer awfulness & mediocrity of today's Arsenal, it does seem to reflect the total lack of self awareness of where we are as a country presently. I feel so sorry for the majority of youngsters entering the uncertain world of work &, frankly, oldies such as me with the diminishing of the NHS etc. Had a lot of unsolicited calls from Health "providers" recently wondering if we would like to stump up £400 per month. Unusual for me to be online at this time of day - BUT IT'S SO BLOODY HOT!! Even our dogs are looking for cool places indoors. Will never complain about our normal Cornish mizzle again! - Post No. 108112

Yes its Ron  12:29pm 20th Jun 2017

CG - Hi Matey. I know exactly what you mean and echo all that you say.Hot indeed, but there are far worse places than yr manor to be in it!!Im down on the edge of Exmoor/Somerset border at Xmas this yr cycling. Yes, take a listen to her. Its about our perception of history, what History is and how we relate it to fiction. It really is good. Lots of other stuff in there too. PS i saw Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies in the West End 2 yrs back. Great plays and recommend strongly. You've perhaps already seen them im guessing? - Post No. 108113

mbg  13:39pm 20th Jun 2017

Ron, if CORNISH hasn't, I bet I know someone who has. wenger out. - Post No. 108114

Issue #269 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

16th February 2018

Frozen North Provides Relief For Arsenal

Rare comfortable away win for Gunners v Ostersunds