18 September 1976: a tale of strange days past

On 18 September 1976 it was Arsenal 3 Everton 1 with Malcolm Macdonald restored to the team and 34,076 in the crowd.

Everton took the lead following a Ross slip in defence, and then played the “what we have we hold” game, until the fouling and niggling approach got so bad that when Liam Brady was kicked to the ground once too often, everyone surrounded everyone else, which if you come to think of it is quite hard to do.  

The referee, seemingly deciding he had had enough of what the media of the day called “a bit of argy-bargy” just let them get on with it until they all looked around wondering where he was.  He then suggested the game might restart the game of football, and by and large the players agreed.

Arsenal equalised straight after half-time from Brady and took the lead shortly after via Macdonalod with Stapleton belting in the third near the end.

Macdonald made a big fuss after the match when one of the Everton defenders tried to suggest that he (the defender) had scored the second Arsenal goal as an own goal and Macdonald had no right to claim it.  It seemed an awfully curious things to do but the media found it interesting.

Much more to the point was the fact that Arsenal were playing with confidence, poise and style, something utterly missing last year and there was actually some hope for the future.

The top ten at the end of the day read

2Manchester City63308359
5Manchester United623110737
6Bristol City62318537
7Stoke City623156-17
8Aston Villa630313856
10Newcastle United61418716