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Famous comeback clinches Fairs Cup

Story Highlights
  • Arsenal's 1970 Fairs Cup victory
  • End of Arsenal's trophy drought
  • Bertie Mee's Arsenal team
  • Ray Kennedy's away goal
  • Arsenal vs Anderlecht Final
  • Frank McLintock's trophy win

In 1970, Arsenal dramatically ended their 17-year trophy drought by clinching the Fairs Cup. Their victory marked the return of the glory days to Highbury and was seen as a pivotal moment in the club’s history.

The journey to the Fairs Cup final was a challenging one. In the semi-finals, Arsenal faced off against the formidable Ajax, which boasted football legends such as Johan Cruyff, Rudi Krol, Piet Keizer, and Gerrit Muhren. Despite the challenge, Arsenal prevailed and moved on to face Anderlecht in the finals.

The first leg in Belgium seemed to be a disaster for Bertie Mee’s side as they found themselves down by three goals. However, a late header from substitute Ray Kennedy infused a spark of hope for the team. Following a rallying call from Frank McLintock, Arsenal emerged as an unstoppable force in the second leg at Highbury.

Eddie Kelly’s early goal set the stage, and the team continued to apply pressure. Their efforts paid off when John Radford scored a second-half header to level the aggregate. While they held an advantage due to Kennedy’s away goal, Anderlecht’s Mulder reminded Arsenal of the work ahead when he hit the post. Finally, Jon Sammels secured a 3-0 victory for the night and 4-3 on aggregate, effectively silencing Anderlecht.

The final whistle signaled the end of the match and the end of Arsenal’s long trophy drought. Fans rushed onto the pitch to join in the celebration, and after four previous unsuccessful attempts, McLintock finally had a trophy to his name.

Match Details:

Arsenal 3-0 Anderlecht (Arsenal win 4-3 on aggregate)
Fairs Cup Final 2nd Leg
Arsenal Stadium, Highbury
28 April 1970

Scorers: Kelly 25, Radford 75, Sammels 76

Arsenal Team: Bob Wilson, Peter Storey, Bob McNab, Eddie Kelly, Frank McLintock (c), Peter Simpson, George Armstrong, Jon Sammels, John Radford, Charlie George, George Graham.

Manager: Bertie Mee

Anderlecht Team: Jean-Marie Trappeniers, Georges Heylens, Maurice Martens, Tomas Nordahl, Roland Velkeneers, Julien Kialunda, Gerard Desanghere, Johan Devrindt, Jan Mulder, Paul Van Himst (c), Wilfried Puis.

Manager: Pierre Sinibaldi

Attendance: 51,612

Referee: Gerhard Kunze (East Germany)

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