‘It’s up for grabs now…’
I have watched a LOT of football documentaries during lockdown. Sunderland ‘Till I Die, Manchester City: All of Nothing, heck, I even watched the Leeds United one. Sure, it was mostly to see them lose in the playoffs but still, the point stands. What I’ve realised during this nostalgia fuelled football love in is that I’m actually more interested in watching football from the past than any actual live football. Which brings us nicely onto 89…
At the end of the 88/89 season, Liverpool were closing out a decade of dominance whereas Arsenal hadn’t won the title since 1972. They went into the final game of the season separated by three points and two goals. Arsenal travelled to Anfield to play the champions elect on the final game of the season needing to win by two clear goals. What happened next will forever go down in football folklore.
89 tells the story of that fateful season and takes in Arsenal’s rise to dominance and Liverpool’s continued ruthless streak against the backdrop of the Hillsborough disaster. A documentary is nothing without subjects and the good thing about the ’89 Arsenal team is that it was packed full of characters. Tony Adams, Paul Merson, Lee Dixon, Mickey Thomas, Perry Groves, even Smudger Smith – these are all legends of the game in one way or another, and they all have a story to tell. Director Dave Stewart manages to capture the huge significance of that title victory without ever straying into puff piece territory. He captures the passion and the emotion of what they day meant to Arsenal.
At a time when football has never seemed less relevant, 89 is a beautiful reminder than football is the most important unimportant thing in the world. I miss it dearly.