Arsenal Memories Series – 60 Years of Ups and Downs … and Counting

There has been discussion over the last few days of JustArsenal asking fans to send in their favourite Arsenal memories from long-time Gooners. One of the main protaginists in Ken1945, so I thought I’d delve into the archives as I remember the youngster (!) sending in an article himself a while ago regarding his own favourite memorablia of the good old (and the bad old!) days.

So with Arsenal currently in probably their worst position since Ken started going to Highbury, let’s begin with this one that was first published 18 months ago

With all the rumours, discussions and arguments involving our club and its fanbase, I thought “what about some nostalgic Arsenal memories that might bring a smile to our faces”?

As some of you might know, I am lucky enough to have a wife of over 50 years, who lets me indulge in my unconditional love of our club.

So much so, that I have a room of my own, with the obligatory 42inch TV, tropical fish and all my accrued physical memories of The Arsenal.

From over 1000’s of programmes, every daily newspaper report the day after Bertie Mee led us to the double at WHL, books, videos, DVD’s, pictures on the walls, models of Highbury, Emirates, all the crests that the club has had on our shirts and (courtesy of Danbury Mint) a badge for every single honour we have won…including the Charity/Community Shields.

I then thought what would be the top five items that mean so much to me and so I have laid them out, with a little story about them.

So, in date order, here they are:

1. The rosette I wore to Wembley when we lost to Swindon Town in the league cup during the 68/69 season by 3 goals to 1 and this after losing in the same competition to Leeds United the year before by 1 goal to 0.

As I left the twin towers, Arsenal scarves, rosettes, hats and everything else red and white had been thrown away in disgust…we had just lost yet another final to a club two divisions below us. I vowed to keep this rosette to remind me of the bad old days, as I was convinced that one day we would be the biggest club in the world.

2. The programme from the night we beat the Spuds at WHL to win the double and, once and for all, shove all the taunts down the tiny tots throats. What a wonderful night, remembered to this day when Bertie Mee (the most dapper of managers) appeared with his coat off and braces showing jumping up and down and laughing with the fans.

I also had a clod of the spuds pitch safely squirrelled away in my collection, but my wife, while doing the housework, threw it away!!!

3. My signed shirt of every single player from The Invincibles, authenticated by The Arsenal and with photographs of some of the players signing the said shirt. It hangs on the wall and the saddest thing is we just recently lost the first of The Invincibles in Jose Reyes.

4. Two pictures of my grandsons posing for a photograph with the great Thiery Henry. They were taken at Euston station as the boys were about to board a Eurotunnel train and the great man quite happily posed for one and waited while my daughter ran and got her other son from a nearby sandwich bar!!!

5. Any of you programme buyers who have the one from the Everton game that took place on October 24th 2015, will see that within the noticeboard section there is a message for me from my family. “KEN LOCK HAPPY 70TH BIRTHDAY” … Fancy that, me appearing in The Arsenal programme!!! My dream was to have a shirt number by the side of my name, but this is the nearest I ever got to fulfilling that dream. Along with this, I got a personal letter from the great Arsene Wenger, congratulating me on my 70th birthday and also for being a loyal supporter for over 60 years. Pride of place for me of course!!!!

I hope I haven’t bored too many of you and I sincerely hope that the younger ones who read this will have such personal and wonderful memories of the greatest football club in the world and I would love to know what Arsenal memories/keepsakes other Gooners have to tell us about.

Ken1945

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So here is an invite to send me YOUR own personal Arsenal memories of going to watch the Gunners, either at Highbury or the Emirates, depending on your age of course. Please use the email address you can find here at our “Contact Us” page

Tags Arsenal memories

22 Comments

  1. Jax says:

    Most of my Arsenal memorabillia disappeared with the ending of my marriage in the late 1970’s, but I have a couple of interesting early memories of following my school teacher (George Robb) first at Finchley FC and then at Spurs. I went with my Finchley & Spurs supporting mates to WHL where we got a 0-3 win against team that included Alf Ramsey at right back and Spurs manager to be Bill Nicholson. I remember the crowd as absolutely huge and frightening, but to be honest not much of the match. The return at Highbury was disappointing in that George didn’t play but we racked up another big (4-0) win and I was almost crushed getting out of the ground and into Gillespie Road afterwards, taken to Royal Northern Hospital and ordered by my mum never to go back “nice Mr Robb or not”. Ground safety was not much of a priority back in the days when 65000 plus crowds were released simultaneously onto the streets.
    My favourite Highbury match was the first trophy I saw I us win in 1970 (The Fairs Cup) after being 1-3 down from the first leg against Anderlecht.

  2. Dboy says:

    Thank you for sharing your memories..

  3. SueP says:

    I still have my knitted red and white scarf in which I stitched the names of the team. I had a bit of a ‘thing’ about Peter Marinello 🙂

    1. Jax says:

      I remember him well SueP…the “Scottish George Best” who had a “pretty” underwhelming career with us, but I can see why you fancied him.😂

      1. SueP says:

        Funny Jax,
        You talked about Finchley FC I lived in North Finchley as a child but moved to Whetstone later. I got his and a few others’ autographs from South Herts Golf Club, where my brother and I would cycle to on Saturday mornings before the pre match meals. Frank, Geordie A etc.
        His career wasn’t great but Hibs did well from the transfer fee which is laughable in today’s money

        1. Admin Pat says:

          I went to Finchley Grammar lol.and no I wasn’t posh like our lord…

          1. Jax says:

            From Highgate myself. We were close neighbours of Bob Stewart (Rod’s dad) who owned & managed Highgate Redwing the first proper football team I supported. Finchley, Whetstone, Totteridge. All lovely places. I believe Arsene still lives in Totteridge

          2. SueP says:

            Seriously!! How about that?!!
            I went to MossHall nursery &infants. Followed by Underhill junior in Barnet
            and finally Woodhouse GS.

          3. jon fox says:

            THEN THIS LORD JON USED TO PLAY AGAINST YOUR SCHOOL AT FOOTBALL!
            Naturally, I had my own butler and a chauffeured limo to ferry me back home and then on, via a lunch(with starched napkins , natch) on to Highbury, where in true nobless oblige fashion, I donated my usual seat in the directors box to a poor unfortunate from the wrong side of the tracks and chose to slum it with the non titled plebs on the Laundry End, or as the lower classes used to call it the North Bank. I found it cathartic to observe at close quarters how the lowly working class people lived.

  4. Marty says:

    My greatest memory of Highbury is the 1970 Fairs Cup final 2nd leg. We weren’t favorites after being beat 3-1 in the first leg but the noise around the ground was amazing and when big John buried that header to put us ahead on aggregate the whole place went nuts. Biggest disappointment was a few years later against Ajax in European Cup losing 1-0 with Stroller scoring an own goal. Seem to remember Marinello missing a 1 on 1 in the first minute which could have made a lot of difference.

    1. Jax says:

      That Sammels goal was something else wasn’t it?

  5. Sue says:

    Always kept the ticket and programme of the first time I went to Highbury. Never thought I’d ever get there, so when I finally did, it was a dream come true…

  6. Jax says:

    Another Highbury memory was a particularly unmemorable 0-0 when the ball came off the pitch towards me and hit me squarely on the forehead and went back into play. I got an ironic cheer and a mention in the next day’s Sunday Mirror that “the best piece of football all afternoon was provided by a Clock End supporter who bravely headed the ball back onto the pitch”, when in reality It was just good fortune, not that I would have admitted it.
    Similar thing happened in more recent years at AFC Wimbledon’s ground when I made a headed attempt, got it wrong and ended up with a nose bleed.

  7. jon fox says:

    BRILLIANT Ken. The stuff of dreams. Loved the whole read, who could possibly not! Interesting order of treasured items though; I reckon my rosette might well have been one you found thrown away after Swindon.

    My own meagre few blades of grass from WHL in 1971 became, in time, a disappearing stain in my photo album and shows so clearly the glorious “stupidity” of being a footie junkie. But a junkie for life and of course I’d do it all again without any hesitation, as we all surely would too, if only it were possible! GOD Bless and have a lovely Christmas, dear man.

    1. ken1945 says:

      Same to you Jon and don’t forget to send your Highbury memories to Pat!!!

      1. Alanball08 says:

        A very great read Ken
        I attended Holloway school where the great Charlie George plyed his trade
        And our school coaching staff had an a big connection one.way or another with the club
        I was fortunate enough to work at Highbury during the mid to late 70s as a 14 year old. Walking around the pitch selling from the sweet tray.
        working the food bars. If you were fortunate enough you entered the dress room to give out the gum to the players before kick off.
        Hated working the clock end in big games as the away supporters always mugged you and stole all the.money and sweets
        Gave the food on some occasions to the late Brian Moore in the upper West stand when he was commentating on the big match
        A few glorious season where I got paid to watch a match free of charge . Meet the players before and after the game as they walked off to go home

  8. Andrew Elder says:

    Great read Ken, your experiences make mine pall into insignificance. I wrote to Arsene Wenger twice, to congratulate the team on his first double and then following the ‘ Invincibles’ year. He personally acknowledged both letters something I never expected.

    Christmas & New Year greetings to you and your family and let’s hope for a better 2021!! I am working on some old Highbury memories for Pat.

    1. ken1945 says:

      Andrew and Alanball08, thank you both – your own experiences will build up an excellent article/book for Pat, of that I am certain.

      Unless one was of a certain age, the memory lane of Highbury might not mean an awful lot, but in decades to come, the younger fans of today will, hopefully, look back at their own Emirates memories.

      I just hope they are lucky enough to see the likes of the players we were fortunate enough to see grace the shirt…along with the ones who were not quite so good – as long as they wore the shirt on match days, they were “Gods” to a snotty nosed kid like myself.

      My greatest wish is that I’m still around when my grandson sees us lift the PL title again, so they had better get their act together at Head Quarters!!!!!!!!!

  9. Dan kit says:

    A great read Ken 👍
    I only got to go 4 times before the move to the Emirates ,1st time in 92 ,Monday game against Man City ,Mr Ian wright scored with a half empty stadium ,we won 1-0 .
    My family came from east London (grandad was an Arsenal fan ) and moved up to where we all live now because of the war.
    But my Nan used to take us every 4 weeks back down on the train and see her brother who stayed .
    The thing that stood out in that game as a 13 year old was what a beast Tony adams was .
    Anyway a pleasure as always to read what you write Ken .

  10. ken1945 says:

    Thanks Dan, it should be a wonderful read when Pat puts all the memories together, whether delivered directly to him or via this article.
    Have a great Christmas and go easy on the cider 🤣🤣

    1. Dan kit says:

      You too Ken
      Merry Christmas to you and your family ,have a good one 👍and stay safe .

  11. Sean Williams says:

    Lovely to read Ken. You evoke so many memories. I do hope that our younger supporters get the incredible memories we had so many times.

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