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ImageMagic Arsenal Moments: aged 79, Con Collins looked back over sixty years as a devoted Arsenal fan.  Way before the Emirates Stadium, Con's first visit was to Highbury - way back in 1946 ..... “Every week four of us would go to the match together - me, my brother and two our friends. I worked doing labouring and painting mostly: I’d finish up work, then we’d have a couple of pints before the match.  

There was such a lead-up, looking forward to the game - it was the perfect end to the week.  In those days there was no floodlighting, so the game would start at 2.30.  There would be huge crowds - loads of us from Hackney: in those days a ticket cost half a crown, or an extra 1s 3d to sit in the east stand, and programmes cost sixpence.  

There are so many memories  .... like  when Joe Mercer broke his leg and you could hear the crack all over the ground; Pat Jennings, our best ever goalkeeper - he had such enormous hands;  David O’Leary - we called him “The Greyhound”. There was Ian Macpherson whose pace was deadly - he was a Flight Lieutenant in the war.  And who could forget George Best playing there - I took my daughter because she was in love with him: there was nobody could touch that lad.  Then Charlie George came along- he could hit a real screamer on his day.  One time there was a boxing match at the ground - I watched Mohammed Ali beating Henry Cooper.   

For me,  one really memorable match was in 1958 when Manchester United played us  - and beat us 5-3.  It was a great game - but what makes it really stick in the mind was it was the last one the Busby Babes played in this country before seight of them died in the terrible Munich Air Disaster.  Everyone was stunned - such a loss, that was.      

IImagen the old days the players didn’t earn so much - they got £11 a week plus £3 if they won.  You’d see the players walking to the stadium in all weathers, and you could have a chat with them.     In 1971 we had a great match at Anfield: we had to beat Liverpool by two clear goals to win the double.  I could hardly bear to watch.  Our neighbours and rivals Spurs had done the double in 1961 - and it meant the world to us to do it as well.  You can’t imagine what it felt like when we did it - it was magical: that cheeky lot at Spurs sent Arsenal a telegram that said “What took you so long?”!    And one of our worst moments - when Swindon Town beat us in the Milk Cup!  It was all so sociable in those days.  Nowadays it costs too much to go - but I have got so many happy memories.”

To find out more Arsenal facts and figures have a look at Issue 6
 
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