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GCR Books

After one 4-0 victory let’s remember another similar scoreline on this day

By Tony Attwood

Arsenal 4 Tottenham 0, 13 August 1988.

The Makita tournament was a summer tournament in London, which Arsenal organized initially as the Wembley International Tournament in August 1988.  Of course was the era of the first division so we didn’t have Premier League Betting, but after what happened I was sorely tempted to put a bit on us winning the first league game by the same score – or me.  We were good!

But I rush ahead.  Later Makita became the sponsor and it lasted at Wembley until 1991 before going on tour until 1994.  In a sense it was the precursor of the Emirates Cup – this year abolished under instruction from the Olympik Committee Diktat Division.

The first edition of the tourney included on 13 August the game Arsenal 4 Tottenham 0, which is why, after watch us in Germany yesterday I thought it time to bring this up.  Merson, Marwood (2) and Smith scored and Tottenham were shocking – I know, because I don’t think I have ever laughed so much actually at a game.

Indeed Tottenham even managed to lose to Milan 2-1 as well as to us.

We also beat Bayern Munich 3-0 with Smith getting two and Dixon the other so we won the cup.

It was one of the really jolly times of football.  I remember the Tottenham fans huddled in one little corner – far fewer of them than us it seemed – and refusing to join in with our Mexican Wave.  God they looked miserable.

Of course the jollity continued.  True, the first five games of the season had a bit of up and down in them – with an away win of 5-1 against Wimbledon on the opening day (remember those days, when they used to give us three sides of the Wimbledon ground),  then insanely we lost to Villa at home.

Next we beat Tottenham again, away, 3-2 and then drew with Southampton at home.  And then we bloody lost to Sheffield Wednesday away 2-1.  Roger and I sat through a lot of this, from the Wembley fun to the Wednesday disaster, and Roger was fairly miffed I can tell you.   I was reduced to saying, “It will be all right – we can’t be that good against Tottenham and then throw it away.”

“How long have you been supporting Arsenal?” he asked ironically.  At least I think it was ironically.  He was driving, so I didn’t debate the point.

But I was right.  Six wins and a draw in the next seven, followed by another five wins in a row a little later.  On Boxing Day we beat Charlton away to go top, and we ended the season with, oh what was it, I can’t quite recall, some sort of game at, err, Liverpool.  We won 2-0.  Roger went to that one.  I chicken out.  Hey ho.

The story of that year is of course told endlessly, but rarely with that little preliminary included at Wembley.   Over those couple of days we knew we were good.  Soon after we discovered just how good.

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