Arsenal’s Anfield Glory – A Day To Live For
We all have a tendency to romanticize the past, instinctively and selectively remembering the good parts. The passage of time can exaggerate the significance of such moments when we nostalgically cast an eye on days gone by – recalling that summer seaside vacation 25 years ago makes the sand seem softer and the water warmer than may actually have been the case.
Then there are those rare moments experienced in the present where you know history is being made, that you are part of something momentous, that no embellishments will be required in future recollections. Moments of joy, pride, unadulterated happiness.
Although I didn’t follow Arsenal back in 1989, I can imagine how Gooners must have felt on this day 23 years ago. We achieved what seemed an improbable, even impossible title clinching 2-0 victory against a strong Liverpool side in their own backyard. And in injury time too. For those present at Anfield that day, they knew they were living one of the greatest moments of their lives. Although as YW says on his twitter timeline, the revisits get sweeter each time.
Yogi's Warrior (@Yogis_Warrior) May 26, 2012
For newer and younger Gooners, I recommend reading Arsenal On This Day’s post today which features news clippings and this wonderful memory bank entry in The Arsenal Collective. Both articles are accounts from fans who were present and are sure to give you goose-bumps. There’s also the movie Fever Pitch based on Nick Hornby’s book which culminates with the ’89 title triumph.
My personal parallel to this event is an unforgettable cricket match in 1983. India making the finals of the World Cup against the mighty West Indies was itself an achievement. The fact that we got bowled out for 183 meant the match was as good as over. But India fought back and claimed an unlikely but famous victory.
Even as a 10-year old boy glued to that old black and white television set that night, I knew it was a moment that would stay with me for the rest of my life. Such is the power of sport, to lift the human spirit beyond the unremarkableness of daily existence.
For all our present troubles, Arsenal will undoubtedly challenge and win trophies again. The shock of the 2-8 at Old Trafford, the frustration of the 4-4 against Newcastle, the Carling Cup disappointment at Wembley – these are all building towards that moment. If you’re an Arsenal supporter, you have to be in it for the long-haul. But as 23rd May 1989 proved, the reward is worth the pain.