Born is the King of Highbury
The first King of Highbury was a striker of amazing talent. Fantastic first touch, a rocket shot in both feet and he could also look after himself. Even better than that though, he was one of us.
Born in Hollway, Charlie George was a proper local lad who literally stepped off the Highbury terraces and onto the pitch.
Charlie, with his skinhead haircut and cocky swagger, burst onto the scene in the 1969/70 season. Goals against Dinamo Bacau and Ajax on the way to Arsenal winning the Fairs Cup elevated him to immediate superstar status at Highbury. Indeed his brace against Ajax caused Johann Cruyff to comment on what an excellent player he was. High praise indeed!
Charlie scored against Everton on the opening day of the 1970/71 season but, in doing so, he broke his foot and didn’t return to the starting line-up until February.
Sporting a new long haired he look, he returned with a goal. This time against Pompey in a 3-2 win in an FA Cup 4th round replay. He followed this up with both Arsenal goals away at Man City in the 5th round and the winner against Leicester in the 6th round. Charlie seemed to have developed a habit of scoring winners in FA Cup ties.
Although Charlie only scored 5 goals during our league campaign that season they always seemed to be when we needed them most. The winner against Newcastle at Highbury, with time running out and only 4 games left, was probably the most important of these.
With the league title in the bag it was onto Wembley and the FA Cup final against Liverpool. On a boiling hot day, the game was level at 1-1 with 5 minutes of extra time left. Cue Charlie George. A neat interchange of passes with John Radford and Charlie exploded a 20 yard shot past Ray Clemence and Arsenal had won the double. His celebration of that goal is still an iconic Arsenal image, Charlie lying flat out on the pitch with his arms outstretched before being lifted up by his team-mates.
Unfortunately, that was as good as it got at Highbury for Charlie. Despite being adored by the Highbury faithful, his relationship with Arsenal manager Bertie Mee was anything but cordial. Mee always felt Charlie wasn’t disciplined enough and should work harder. Charlie didn’t agree. Pele and Cruyff weren’t asked to track-back so neither, he reasoned, should he.
Don Howe had always been the mediator between the two but once he left to manage WBA, an already bad relationship deteriorated further. Eventually something had to give and in 1975, after 157 games for the Arsenal, Charlie was sold to Derby County.
Although gone, Charlie was never forgotten by the Arsenal fans and he always received a rapturous welcome whenever he played against us.
Born in flat in Holloway
He’ll play for England one fine day
Yes he will, i know he will
Oh Charlie, oh Charlie
Scored two goals at Man City
Got the winner at Wembley
He’ll go down in history
Oh Charlie, oh Charlie
Charlie George – The original and undisputed King of Highbury
Wrote by Libertine @ Goonersworld