BY PAUL BIDDISS / @The_North_Bank
The Arsenal had started the 1994/1995 season in a desperate fashion. Despite winning the opening game of the season 3-0 against Manchester City at Highbury, they would not experience victory in the league until the end of September at West Ham. In need of points and a run of form, the Gunners welcomed a lowly Crystal Palace side to The Home of Football at the beginning of October.
When I was younger opportunities to watch The Arsenal were generally few and far between. This was in part due to the difficulty of getting tickets if you weren’t a member and also down to the fact I was totally reliant on my dad funding the day out. It therefore comes as little surprise that when I was handed tickets on my ninth birthday to watch the team from the North Bank I reacted with suitable childish enthusiasm.
I had only been to one game prior to the Palace game (Ipswich in 1993) and was buzzing about seeing my hero, Ian Wright. I had built an unhealthy obsession with Wrighty following his exploits in the FA Cup finals of 1993 (Linighan’s 120th minute header another classic early memory, but that’s for another day) and although the team had started the season poorly, Wrighty had been in fine form, scoring goals at home and in Europe. After netting a brace in Nicosia a couple of days beforehand, he was on 99 goals going into the Palace game. This statistic had neither escaped my mind, nor my brother’s as we arrived on Gillespie Road alongside our Dad.