Listening to 'The Tuesday Club' podcast in its former incarnation 'Its Up For Grabs Now', the Keith Dover special, they listed El Presidente's favourite games, so here's mine, although not all Arsenal (because I'm only been to about two dozen Arsenal games which haven't been half as enjoyable.
5) Arsenal 2-0 Charlton Athletic; March 2003
An odd choice to the common eye, but there is a reason. As a seventeen year old, I only started supporting the Gooners alongside my hometeam Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2002 after watching the FA Cup final and being captivated by Freddie Ljungberg and his red hair. Who remains one of my favourite players. So my Gooner supporting Uncle, got three tickets for Arsenal versus Charlton in early Marxh of 2003 which we won 2-0 after goals from Jeffers and Pires, privileged to see Francis score one of his four league goals for us and Pires play. It was also Freddie's return from injury, which as a child made my day.
4) Wolves 3-0 Sheffield United; May 2003 (Nationwide Division One Play-Off Final)
Two months after seeing my new love Arsenal, I went to see my first love Wolves and their attempt to become one of twenty in the 2003/2004 Premiership, Wolves had been a little bit shoddy against Sheffield who has finished 3rd compared to Wolves 5th place finish. However, after travelling on two trains, and sitting in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium for what felt like two hours before kick-off, we were away, after six minutes, Mark Kennedy scored, sixteen minutes later, Nathan Blake made it two, and on the stroke of half time, Kenny Miller (who was my favourite player for Wolves) made it three. At half-time we went back to 1970s days and after watching a documentary on how the Barclays Premier League was formed, David Dein said "You either went for a pee or a burger..." which was what it felt like, the queue for the loo was about 2 miles long, and we missed a couple of minutes of the second half where Paul Butler (who in 2011 has grown into a hybrid of actor/musician Jack Black and actor/comedian Matt Berry who plays Douglas in IT Crowd) gave away a penalty for a flimsy handball. Legendarily, my Dad opted for nature calling whereas I opted for "oh crickey, there's been a crowd roar must be a goal". It was of course a Sheffield United penalty, saved by Wolves legend, the unfortunately now retired Matt Murray (the greatest keeper England never had), anyway, my Dad missed the save as he trotted up moments after Murray palmed it into the crowd. Wolves went onto win 3-0 and gain access to the ‘promise-land’ for one season at least, but it did throw up some great memories as I’ll explain now.
3) Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-3 Leicester City; October 2003
Technically, the season tickets my Dad had belonged to him and my Uncle, so naturally, I didn’t go to many early games, but one I did go to, my first was a cracker. Wolves had only won one previous game before that, 1-0 against Manchester City, so when they went 3-0 down in thirty-five minutes even to Leicester, there was no way they were going to win, right? Wrong! Seven minutes after the restart and Colin Cameron got one back, eight minutes later he scored from the spot to make it 3-2, another eight minutes later and Alex Rae equalised to make it a cracking game and then to top off one of the most exciting games in my footballing history, Henri Camara scored his first Wolves league goal to make it 4-3 to Wolves and win the game, one of the greatest games I’ve ever witnessed in my life, so good only one game that season and two more games in my life could be any better.
2) Arsenal 0-0 Manchester United (Arsenal won 5-4 on Penalties); May 2005 (FA Cup Final)
Unlike the previous game, this one was dull as anything, two hours of nothing spectacular, until the penalty shoot-out. Paul Scholes had his saved from Jens Lehmann and with his last kick of his Arsenal career, captain, Patrick Vieira scored the final penalty of the shoot-out to win the FA Cup (currently, Arsenal’s last trophy won) for Arsenal. Due to the fact it was a cup final, my first FA Cup final, it obviously has to go on this list, and it was still a great game at Cardiff with a great ending compared to my last Cup Final at Wembley in our 2-1 loss to Birmingham City this year.
1) Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 Manchester United; January 2004
Just two days before my 10th Birthday, Wolves played Man Utd, my Dad gave up his ticket to my Gran who took me to the game. Throughout the game was constant abuse at Rio Ferdinand who limped off to a nine month ban forgetting to attend a Drugs test. From there Kenny Miller went on to score the only goal to chants of “Champions League, you’re havin’ a laugh” from the ground to the bus-stop. “Let’s all have a disco” also comes to mind too, for atmosphere it was my favourite ever game (not just for the Rio abuse, that was just quite humouring). I didn’t attend the 2-1 victory in February of this year, despite predicting a Wolves win for months (seriously I did!), however, what a game that was.
Those are my favourite five games, not the best, but memorable for me especially the top three.