‘What does it feel like to have won…….?’ by Charles Veritie
Every time I hear this question put to a winner; I cringe in despair. I don’t personally know what it is like to have won something important, but I can imagine the pleasure, the joy, the happiness that success brings. How I long for a winner to reply. ‘I feel terrible, winning this gong is the worst thing I have ever done’. A loser to reply ‘What does it feel like to have lost? ‘It feels great.’ I should be so lucky.
However, at our next Cup Final I would like to have been able to ask this question: ‘What does it feel like? to two men at the game.
Its 1998 we are at Wembley, our adversary for the third time is Newcastle.
We lost our first final against them in 1932. The final in which the ball went over the line and there should have been a goal kick to us. The whistle didn’t blow. Newcastle crossed the ball into the net, and we lost 2-1. Thus, the tagline: ‘The final when the ball was over the line’.
In 1952 we lost to the Toon 1-0, while down to 10 players.
Getting a seat at a Cup final for most of us is impossible. But one spectator gets a seat for free, and he can choose his seat and invite as many of his friends as he likes all for free. The man? Why the England manager.
I wonder what his feelings were as he watched Arsene Wenger lead out the Arsenal team on to Wembley’s green turf that afternoon. He went on to see a French wonderkid and a flying Dutchman score as we won 2-0.
I would love to have been able to ask the England manager Glen Hoddle: ‘What did it feel like to watch your mentor Arsene Wenger lead Arsenal and not Tottenham onto the Wembley pitch? My sympathy goes with Glen he must have had mixed feelings. What might it have been for Tottenham if Arsene Wenger had chosen Tottenham not their enemy Arsenal?
Then I would turn to the Newcastle Manager, a Mr Dalgleish, and ask him ‘What does to feel like to lose to Arsenal a second time in the final game of the season?’
2001 and we were in the semi-final again with another victory over THFC (The horrible football club).in the semi-final.
In our last final we played Newcastle for the third time, and it seems quite natural that, for our next final, we play Liverpool for the third time. We had won the previous two finals, so why not a third?
We were cruising 1-0 to the Arsenal when Liverpool, led by their French manager and aided by an English player, destroyed our belief with two goals in the dying minutes of the game.
Maybe we should have known the fates were against us for having stopped Newcastle from beating us a third time we should fail to win our third game against Liverpool.
2002 saw us back in the final, long remembered for a wonder goal from our Romford Pele, Ray Parlour, and a second by Freddie Ljungberg against Chelsea.
2003 and we are in the final again. Thanks to a wonder save by Dave Seaman in the semi-final against Sheffield United.
We beat Southampton 1-0 in what was our 9th win and Arsene’s 3rd and still they kepta coming.
2005 saw a penalty 5-4 win against Man U. With Patrick Vieira’s last kick for Arsenal.
Then came some seasons where we everywhere nearly there but never there. This includes in 2008 a semi-final 2-1 loss to Chelsea,
2014 we got what we craved a chance of more cup silverware but in ten minutes we were losing 2-0 in the final to Hull. Hull who? The club that Terry Neil once managed.
All was not lost; an amazing free kick goal by Santi Cazorla’ injected belief into the players and we ran out winners thanks to a Ramsey goal in the last minutes.
2015 We were at Wembley again, this time against Aston Villa who did their best to kick us off the park and in the first half and were rewarded with four yellow cards for their efforts. In the second half skill on the ball by Arsenal gave us a ‘4-0 to the Arsenal’.
2017 and once again with Arsene Wenger we dreamed the dream beating Man City in the semi-final and Chelsea 2-1 in the final.
It proved to be Arsene’s last Cup Final.
Played 8 won 7 lost 1. What a record! A record to be proud of.
Arsene Wenger made us proud to say the name ‘Arsenal’.
Copyright Charles Veritie. 6 June 2023.
Now the season is over, it’s time for the summer Arsenal quiz from our friends at Dublin Arsenal – It’s always a laugh and helps while away the time while we wait for Arsenal’s first signings to come in!
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