Thirty years is a pretty long time – but it hasn’t dampened the feeling of wonder when it comes to the most special, fantastical moment in our history.
To the very day, we won the title at Anfield in the face of some tall odds. With the very last kick of the game, Michael Thomas charged through the midfield and slotted past Bruce Grobbelaar to win the title via goals scored.
That’s right, even goal difference was exactly the same, and we took the title in the finest of margins – and going into the final game, George Graham’s side knew what they had to do in order to destroy the vice-like grip that Liverpool had on the Championship.
Go to the home of the champions – the champions from six of the previous nine seasons – and win by two clear goals.
Something that hadn’t been done for quite some time. To say it was a rarity would not do it justice. We had also not won at Anfield for 15 years. So the battle to achieve this could not have been more uphill.
That hopefully paints the picture of what this Arsenal team achieved, why it was so memorable, so ingrained in our footballing DNA – even if we weren’t fans at the time.
There have been title wins since then that have grabbed the attention and had everyone on the edge of their seats, but could our Anfield 89 win have been more dramatic, more heart-stoppingly jawdropping in its timing?
The last kick, against the overwhelming favourites. They weren’t an already relegated team who had surprisingly taken the lead. They were champions, with world-class players throughout, with a manager who, as a player and a manager, was bedfellows with glory and victory.
For our team to go to Liverpool and snatch the title under their noses in such fashion? How could this be matched for nerve-shredding action?
For it to be paralleled, next season would have to see a team like ours triumph at The Etihad by two clear goals, and win the title via goals scored with the last kick of the game.
Sounds like fan-fiction, but that is what we did thirty years ago – and it should rightfully be held up as the finest example of dramatic title wins.
As for Gooners, we can always find comfort in the knowledge that we had a team of titans who achieved the impossible.