Sports Letter: Deserved win for Arsenal

Sir: Neil Kellas (Letters, 12 May) describes Arsenal's victory in the European Cup-Winners' Cup final as 'a profoundly depressing experience'. He considers it 'thoroughly nauseating' to hear the team praised. In his eyes, their performance 'devalues the game itself and will do nothing but harm for football in England should it prove influential'. He says that 'Arsenal deserve neither credit nor respect for their victory'. Strangely, he appears to see himself as an 'objective viewer'.

He might like to reflect on how neutral his stance actually is. He believes that Liverpool and Nottingham Forest played atypically when lifting European trophies. What matters is that those teams won their competitions. Has he forgotten Aston Villa's European Cup victory in 1982? I remember Brian Clough's commentary advice to a Villa player that night: 'Kick it lad . . . ,' he screamed, with a couple of minutes to go and Villa 1-0 up, '. . . kick it anywhere]'

Arsenal played the European game and played it well. They won the cup. They also won respect. The Parma coach praised them. A Sunderland fan I know, a man with little affection for 'Southern-softie' football, admitted he had wanted Arsenal to win, even confessing to shouting at the Italian players on his TV screen. George Graham's side deserved their success.

Yours sincerely

PHILIP ROMANS

Islington, London

12 May

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