Arsenal: The Agony & The Ecstasy

A 46 year journey in the endless pursuit of glory

Wembley 2011, that's what started me thinking, really thinking. On that grey and gloomy day, I shuffled away from the stadium amidst a throng of subdued, downcast faces, edging back down Wembley Way, trying unsuccessfully to avoid the puddles, to the Underground station and deliverance from this place of misery. In the 88th minute a piece of slapstick defending had handed the Carling Cup to Birmingham City. Their fans were delirious. I was not.


When I got home I sat on the sofa and stared blankly at the television, not really aware of what was on. My mind grappled with mental arithmetic; the answer to these calculations was stark and depressing – that afternoon I had witnessed Arsenal losing an eleventh final. Eleven! One after the other those bleak occasions flickered through my memory like clips from an old movie, an image here, an emotion there. I thought I had exorcised those depressing memories of past years, but they were all there still:  1972…1978…1980 (twice!)…and still they kept coming as the years rolled by…and now 2011 too.

The Agony & The Ecstasy - and the birth of a book

And then I remembered there were others that I hadn’t attended and could add 1968 and 1969 to this roll of pain, when I had listened in anguish to the radio as other teams took the glory. That just didn’t seem fair to me that evening, and the fact that I’d seen Arsenal lift ten Cups in that same period, from Copenhagen to Cardiff, and, of course, at Wembley too, did not lift my mood at that moment. And I shouldn’t forget six winning League campaigns. But none of that mattered right then, it was what seemed to be the injustice of so many losses that occupied my thoughts.


In fact the more I thought about it the more it hurt, and then I started writing, I needed to understand hurt so much. And so I went back to be beginning.


Just over a year later I finished - I hadn't realised I had so much inside me that I needed to get out.!


And those outpourings are now brought together in the pages of Arsenal: The Agony & The Ecstasy.


A Fan's Journey 1966 - 2012

front cover final 2a

Over the pages of this website I have tried to give a flavour of the book, added images of the final days of Highbury and others that illustrate the Agony and Ecstasy that is part and parcel of supporting Arsenal Football Club.

I hope you find it interesting.


Ian Castle




1st  Aug. 2020 - FA Cup Final


Arsenal 2 - 1 - Chelsea


Today the Ecstasy returned!


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