Arsenal Gold: League Cup Finals Part 2

wearethenorthbank.com take a trip down memory lane to recount our memories of previous Arsenal League Cup Finals, with our first of a two part special building up to the Carling Cup Final on Sunday.

Littlewoods Cup Final – 24th April 1988 – Wembley Stadium

Luton Town 3 – 2 Arsenal

The experience of being an Arsenal fan is not complete without crushing disappointment. Similarly to 87, my Dad went to Wembley although this time his departure filled me with sadness. I’d already accompanied him on the North Bank many times that season. As he could only get a ticket for himself, I was left at home.

This game lives in my memory because of one man, Gus Caesar. In those days, an injury to a first team player didn’t usually result in another international being drafted in. George Graham opted for the youthful option and replaced David O’Leary with the 22 year old Caesar.

So, 8 minutes left, 2-1 up, we’d missed a penalty (inexplicably taken by Nige) and Alan Smith had hit the post. There was only one outcome. A calamitous non clearance from Gus set up an equaliser for the Hatters. Cue the inevitable late winner from Brian Stein. I was gutted. My Dad was gutted for a week. Still, it did set me up for the roller coaster we’ve endured this season. If anyone tells you that George Graham’s Arsenal were immune to capitulation, unlike Wenger’s side, point them to this game.

Coca Cola Cup Final – 18th April 1993 – Wembley Stadium

Arsenal 2 – 1 Sheffield Wednesday

And so to our last success in the League Cup. By this time we were adrift in the title race, our season kept alive by whay would prove to be a historic chase for both domestic cups. Fortunately, 5 years on from our humbling at the hands of Luton, Gus Caesar was no longer an option and the stalwart David O’Leary took his place in the back 4. As I remember, we still had injuries to contend with and there were even some sections of our support that felt Jimmy Carter might play!

After going behind to an early goal from American International John Harkes, Paul Merson got us level with what I recall as one of his trademark dribble and strikes.

The stage was then set for a back up player to cleanse the memories of Gus Caesar and win Arsenal another league Cup. The ball bobbled about a congested area and Steve Morrow struck the ball through the crowd and past Chris Woods. 1-0 down 2-1 up.

Lest we forget the fall out of this game. Tony Adams hoisted the triumphant Irishman aloft but ended up dumping him on his arm which fractured and kept him out of the FA Cup Final, a month later. Steve Morrow is perhaps the only player in our history more famous for a ridiculous what happened next moment than he is for scoring the winning goal in a Wembley cup final. Thanks Steve, wearethenorthbank.com loves you!

As for our last League Cup Final; I can’t seem to remember much about that one…

So, to all Gooners: who cares what people say about the League Cup, it’s still a Cup Final and a chance for us to create another indelible memory.