BY STEVEN PYE / @1980sSportsBlog
It's about beating Spurs. So said Tony Adams on this Sky Premier League promo back in 1996. Some of us already knew this though, way before the summer in which football apparently "came home". From an early age, my Dad had subtlety told me in no uncertain terms that Arsenal were to be my team, and that if we were to win only two matches in a season, then the derby games against our North London friends were the ones to win. He wasn't aggressive about it, he didn't teach me any abusive songs about that lot - I would discover enough of those myself - but he insisted that at no cost could we afford to lose any matches against them.
The problem was, he told me all of this in 1983, a period in the history of the club often referred to as the dark ages. If you think Arsenal 2012 are bad enough then you simply had to be around in the early to mid-eighties to appreciate just how mediocre we could be. Terry Neill's reign had begun to unravel after the high profile departures of Brady and Stapleton, and by the time the 1983/84 season started, time was running out for the Irishman.
The summer signing of Charlie Nicholas had sparked a fresh wave of optimism amongst the Arsenal faithful, and after a brace against a poor Wolves side in just his second game, the press went into overdrive. "Wolves became the first English victims of the 21-year-old Scot's talents - and they won't be the last," declared Dave Horridge in The Mirror, with John Wragg in the Express boldly predicting that Nicholas "...threatens to dominate the First Division...". Naturally the honeymoon period couldn't last, and by November the same hacks were already questioning Nicholas and pondering if Arsenal's star man was about to be dropped.