"Excitement is a mild description for the scenes in Woolwich and Plumstead on the return of the football champions on Saturday night. A host of admirers met them at Dockyard Station and drove them in open carriages, shouting and singing. There were celebrations everywhere all evening and, we fear, a good deal of drinking was mixed with the rejoicing and exultation."
The Kentish Independent reports on the rise of fanaticism (and early WAG culture?) in the aftermath of Woolwich’s Arsenal success in the London Senior Cup in 1891.
"Getting the boys back to Highbury that afternoon was like trying to drive a flock of angry lions. The pills not only left us raring to go but also developed the most red-hot, soul destroying thirst I’ve ever known."
Arsenal manager Leslie Knighton describes the effect of ‘pluck pills’ on his team before a game with West Ham. The match was called-off due to fog.
"I've got a little tiny chap waiting for you. Says he's come to play for Arsenal. He's asleep in the dressing-room."
The Arsenal groundskeeper informs Leslie Knighton of his new arrival ‘Midget’ Moffat in 1923...not Andrey Arshavin in 2008.
"Arsenal Football Club is open to receive applications for the position of TEAM MANAGER. He must be experienced and possess the highest qualifications for the post, both as to ability and personal character. Gentlemen whose sole ability to build up a good side depends on the payment of heavy and exhorbitant [sic] transfer fees need not apply."
Henry Norris' job advertisement that roused the interest of Mr. Chapman.
"You can attack too long, though I do not suggest that the Arsenal go on the defensive even for tactical purposes. I think it may be said that some of their best scoring chances have come when they have been driven back and then have broken away to strike suddenly and swiftly."
Herbert Chapman discusses a tactic which appears to have inspired Arsene Wenger.
"It is laid down by law that the team who scores the most goals wins. To accomplish this, you must be sure that the defence is sound. All this, I know, is elementary but it is also the rock bottom of football."
Herbert Chapman gets to grips with the basics.
"Spectators are on the whole good judges, though they are liable to be smitten with strange and extraordinary prejudices , especially in regard to individual members of a side."
Herbert Chapman tackles the subject of barrackers in the Highbury crowd.
"There are two kinds of visionary; those that dream of a whole new world, and those who dream of just one thing. Chapman's vision was of the greatest football team in the world. His genius was actually creating something close to that."
Bernard Joy (AFC 1935-47) reflects on Herbert Chapman’s achievements at Arsenal.
"There was an aura of greatness about him. He possessed a cheery self-confidence. His power of inspiration and gift of foresight were his greatest attributes. I think his qualities were worthy of an even better reward. He should have been Prime Minister, and might have been but for the lack of opportunities entailed by his position in the social scale."
Cliff Bastin (AFC 1929-47) on the man who signed him for Arsenal.
"Nobody had greater faith in the qualities of Alex James than Alex James himself, not even Herbert Chapman, and that is saying something."
Cliff Bastin talks about his strike partner Alex James (AFC 1929-37).
"Herbert Chapman worked himself to death for the club and if that is my fate, I am happy to accept it."
Tom Whittaker looks back at the work of one of his predeccessors after taking over as manager in 1947.
“I am really proud of you chaps. You played great football. I am as proud of Arsenal today as ever I have been.”
Manager Tom Whittaker gives his post-match team talk after defeat to Newcastle United in the 1952 FA Cup final.
“I thought football’s greatest honour was to captain England. I was wrong. It was to captain Arsenal today.”
Joe Mercer reflects on losing 1-0 to Newcastle in the 1952 FA Cup final despite a brave stand from Arsenal who played for 55 minutes with ten men after Walley Barnes went off injured.
“It was heartbreaking for me. Maybe I was too nice, but that is the way I am. But I wanted so much to make Arsenal great again, and I did feel that with the young players we were moving along the right lines.”
Billy Wright reflects on his time at Arsenal. He was relieved of the manager’s job in the summer of 1966 after the club finished 14th in the table.
“I would not normally say this as a family man, but I am going to ask you for the sake of this football club to put your family second for the next month. You have the chance to put your names in the record books for all time”
Bertie Mee makes a heartfelt plea to his squad after they reached the FA Cup final by beating Stoke City in a replay.
“Arsenal have got as much chance of being handed the title by Spurs as I have of being given the Crown Jewels. They are the last people we want winning the Championship.”
Tottenham Hotspur’s Alan Mullery speaks the day before Arsenal clinch the league title at White Hart Lane in 1971.
“People say why did I lie on the floor after the goal, they said I was tired. But I think I was a lot cleverer than people thought.”
Charlie George explains his time-wasting after scoring THAT winning goal against Liverpool in the 1971 FA Cup final.
“Once an Arsenal man, always an Arsenal man.”
Bob Wilson explains one of life’s eternal truths.
“The club is so superbly run. They say a swan serenely glides across the water and underneath it is paddling like mad. At Arsenal they don’t even have to paddle, they glide”
Malcolm MacDonald takes a creative writing course.
“This is enjoyable pressure.”
George Graham talks ahead of Arsenal’s title-winning decider at Anfield in 1989.
“We have laid a foundation of belief at Highbury. If you lose hope, or lose belief, you may as well get out of football. Tonight was the fairy tale, the unpredictable that makes us all love football.”
George Graham speaks in the aftermath of Michael Thomas’ legendary last-gasp title-winning goal.
“I never thought of taking him off. It’s nothing to worry about, it gives the face character.”
George Graham praises the grit of Andy Linighan who scored the winning goal in the 1993 FA Cup final despite suffering a broken nose during the game.
"Remember who you are, what you are and who you represent."
David Rocastle utters his immortal words of inspiration.
“I was a scorer of great goals. Great own goals.”
Steve Bould makes Arsenal fans think twice about his capabilities as a potential defensive coach.
“As far as I’m concerned, Tony is like the Empire State Building”
Ian Wright pays homage to Mr Arsenal
“Sometimes there is nothing better in life than being a Gooner.”
Kevin Campbell gets to grips with life at Highbury
“I made Tony Adams one of the youngest captains in Arsenal’s history and I never had any doubts about him doing the job. The modern game is short of dominant personalities, so Tony stands out like a beacon”
George Graham explains his decision to hand Tony Adams the captain’s armband at age 21.
“Fergie said I was a Manchester United player in the wrong shirt – I said he was an Arsenal manager in the wrong blazer.”
Tony Adams teases one of Arsenal’s biggest adversaries
"Ian Wright, Wright, Wright. So good, they named him thrice."
Commentator Jonathan Pearce relays the adoration of Arsenal supporters for one of the North Bank's greatest heroes.
“I realised when I joined Arsenal that the back four were all university graduates in the art of defending and Tony Adams was the doctor of defence.”
Arsene Wenger reflects on the brilliance of the famous back five.
"Other clubs never came into my thoughts once I knew Arsenal wanted to sign me."
Dennis Bergkamp explains that he didn’t have to think long once he received a call from the Gunners.
"To me, he will always be the Romford Pele."
Marc Overmars reflects on the nickname he endowed on Ray Parlour.
“I can understand everyone, everyone except Ray Parlour.”
Japanese international Junichi Inamoto reveals that understanding English isn’t the same as understanding Essex.
"Roman Abramovich has parked his Russian tanks on our lawn and is firing £50 notes at us."
Former vice-chairman David Dein name checks Chelsea's new owner after Arsenal rejected a huge double bid for both Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry.
“Our objective is to keep Arsenal English, albeit with a lot of foreign players.”
Peter Hill-Wood stands firm in the face of interest from Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov...but not for long.
“Pat Rice is a guy who is ready to give his life to win.”
Arsene Wenger praises the tireless commitment of his number two.
“To the aesthete football is an art form, an athletic ballet. To the spiritually inclined it is a religion.”
Thierry Henry proves his not just creative with a ball at his feet.
"If you eat caviar every day it's difficult to return to sausages."
Arsene Wenger reflects on Arsenal fans booing a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough in November 1998.
"We live a society where everybody knows everything and it looks like it is a shame to say I don’t know.”
Arsene Wenger hits out at the constant sniping in the media.
“We didn’t think he would play on Sunday because he was suspended – that makes me think he has all the qualities to join Arsenal.”
Arsene Wenger talks the arrival of signing Jose Antonio Reyes from Sevilla.
"Tottenham, and I hope the English fans will forgive me, are a club in mid-table and I need more."
He may have destroyed Arsenal’s Champions League hopes in 2006, but Samuel Eto’o has still found a way of courting Gooners.
"I think in England you eat too much sugar and meat and not enough vegetables."
Arsene makes clear what he thinks of Les Rosbifs’ diet.
"Everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife at home."
Arsene Wenger responds to Sir Alex Ferguson’s 2002 claim that Manchester United had been the best side in the Premier League since Christmas that season.
"In season 2003-04, a team went unbeaten in the league. That team is Arsenal."
Thierry Henry outlines the basics of being an 'invincible'
"To remain unbeaten in a championship like the English championship now is really unbelievable. I want to win the Champions' League but, really, this is more important. It is something amazing, something special. How can you do it?"
Even Arsene Wenger struggled to comprehend how his side avoided defeat for 38 games in 2003/04.
"Sometimes I see it [a foul by an Arsenal player], but I say that I didn’t see it to protect the players and because I could not find any rational explanation for what they did."
Arsene reveals that sometimes he does see what he says he didn’t.
"It looks like you are burned in the village quicker now than before. And the fire is always raging."
Arsene Wenger reacts to the cutthroat nature of managing at the highest level.
“I don't like it when people say, 'You are the new Patrick'. No I'm not. I'm Cesc Fabregas. I am different."
Cesc Fabregas makes clear he’s his own man...despite being only a boy.
"We can be proud...we can be so proud."
Thierry Henry reflects on defeat in the Champions League final, 2006.
"Arsenal will be in my blood as well as my heart. I will always, always, always remember you guys. I said I was going to be a Gunner for life and I did not lie because when you are a Gunner you will always be a Gunner. The club is in my heart and will remain in my heart forever."
Thierry Henry says goodbye.
"I don't kick dressing room doors or the cat or even football journalists."
Although sometimes you suspect Arsene wouldn’t mind a go at the latter.
"If I go into a season and I say, 'For fuck's sake, if we don't win anything, they will all leave,' I have already lost. The problem of the media is always to imagine the worst. The problem of the manager is always to imagine the best."
Arsene Wenger - Ever the optimist, despite the doom and gloom of the last six years.
“When I arrive at the gates of Heaven the Good Lord will ask ‘what did you do in your life?’ I will respond ‘I tried to win football matches.’ He will say: ‘Are you certain that’s all?’ But, well, that’s the story of my life.”
An ageing Wenger turns his mind to more pressing conversations ahead.
"Please be tolerant of those who describe a sporting moment as their best ever. We do not lack imagination , nor have we had sad and barren lives; it is just that real life is paler, duller, and contains less potential for unexpected delirium."
Nick Hornby justifies the madness of a football fan in Fever Pitch.