Legends of the Game · The Premier League · Throwbacks



Let us take some time to check into the history books, I think the ‘Wenger is Stingy’, ‘Wenger is outdated’, ‘Ramsey is shitty’, ‘Walcott didn’t improve since 10years’ and the ‘injuries hurt Arsenal’ arguments have been done enough on the blogosphere.

Ever heard of Arsenal’s famous back four? Here on social media? Outside the social media?Anywhere? Rack your brains.

Are you thinking of back-four during the ‘Invincibles’ season of 2003/04, when Laureano Bisan Etamé-Mayer, Kolo Toure, Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole provided the spine at the back? No, they aren’t; and No! It isn’t Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs’s regime.

So, Who are they? Why are they called THE FAMOUS BACK-FOUR?

famous back 4
Lee Dixon – Tony Adams – Steve Bould – Nigel Winterburn


They are Lee Dixon (RB), Steve Bould (CB), Tony Adams (CB) and Nigel Winterburn (LB), they played under George Graham (Arsenal manager between 1966–1972).

The back four was renowned for its well-disciplined use of the offside trap.

However, Dixon once said: “We don’t play offside; it is not a trap. It is just organisation. Because we have played together so long we know there are certain areas of the pitch we do not go into, and if a forward makes a run which the back four think is a silly one, we will just hold the line and let him run offside.

“You never see us all run up towards the half-way like the old Milan trick. But I can see that it looks as if we play offside when four of us are all stood in a line with our hands in the air. There have been a lot of jokes about that – like the Arsenal Subbuteo team with the back four having their hands in the air.”

You can also call them THE HIGHBURY FOUR.


LEE DIXON played as the right-back for the four, he was signed from Stoke City (Division 2 then) by Arsenal boss George Graham in January 1988 following the departure of England right back, Viv Anderson, to Manchester United, he won the First Division/Premier League title on 4 occasions (1988–89,1990–91,1997–98,2001–02), the FA Cup thrice (1993, 1998, 2002), the League Cup once (1992–93). He retired from playing after winning that double in 2002 at the age of 38 and made 458 appearances in the League, scoring 25 goals.


TONY ADAMS a.k.a Mr Arsenal,an Arsenal Legend, played as a centre-back. He signed for the gunners as a schoolboy in 1980 and made his first team debut 3 years after against Sunderland in the First Division, four weeks after his 17th birthday.

He admitted to the public that he was an alcoholic, 14 September 1996. The statue of Adams was placed outside Emirates Stadium in celebration of the club’s 125th anniversary on 9 December 2011. He spent his entire playing career of 22 years as a defender at Arsenal,won four top flight division titles, uniquely captaining a title-winning team in three different decades, three FA Cups, two Football League Cups, a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, and three FA Community Shields and thus, had total of 669 appearances and 10 major trophies.


The third on the list is STEVE BOULD, also a centre-back. He moved to Arsenal for a fee of £390,000 on 13 June 1988 from Stoke City too and won the First Division title twice in 1988–89 and 1990–91, playing in the club’s famous 2–0 victory against Liverpool at Anfield where they won the title in the last minute of the last game of the season. He was voted player of the year by the club’s fans for the 1991–92 and famously set up Tony Adams with a chipped throughball for the final goal in Arsenal’s 4–0 win over Everton, the match that won them the Premier League title. Two weeks later they won the FA Cup to complete the double. He is currently an Assistant manager at Arsenal.


Arsenal have had many excellent left backs in their history, but NIGEL WINTERBURN has to go down as one of the best. He began his career playing with his hometown Birmingham City, but did not play professionally until joining Wimbledon in 1983.

He started his Arsenal career at right-back, an emergency measure employed by Graham after he’d been unsuccessful in finding a worthwhile replacement for Viv Anderson . His tackling ability, aggression and energy was superb during his time at the club, winning three league titles, two FA Cups and a European Cup Winners Cup after playing 584 times (572 starts, 12 as a sub) and scoring on 12 occasions.


When I first came to Arsenal, I realised the back four were all university graduates in the art of defending. As for Tony Adams, I consider him to be a doctor of defence. He is simply outstanding. Arsene Wenger

On Arsenal’s famous back four, (1997)




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