Andy Linighan is a cult hero at Arsenal. Overall he was used as back up to the guaranteed solid centre halves we had in Tony Adams and Steve Bould.
George Graham, who had an eye for a defender, recognised Linighan as someone that could easily fill a void that may be left by either of those 2 players if required. His steady displays in a Norwich shirt in the late 80’s were enough to convince Graham to part with 1.2M for his services in 1990.
In his first season at the club, Linighan won the Division One title with Arsenal having done just enough to warrant a winners medal. (10 Apps)
His claim to fame however came in the FA Cup Final of 1993. Having already played Sheffield Wednesday in a 1-1 draw the game went to a replay. The replay again was 1-1 after 90 mins, forcing a further 30 mins of extra time.
Linighan who had played much of the game with a broken nose (that Mark Bright having given him earlier in the match with an elbow) came up for a corner in the 119 minute of the match. The cross came in and there he was to nod in the winner and to make it an even better moment for him the player he beat in the air was Mark Bright.
This meant that thanks to his goal Arsenal also had a new part in English football history, as we were the first club to win the FA Cup and League cup double, and also it would have been a personal achievement for Linighan as his old club Norwich (who he didn’t really want to leave) qualified for the UEFA Cup due to his goal.
Even by the time of the two cup finals of 1993 Linighan’s place in the Arsenal side was even further in doubt. By this stage, we now had re-signed Martin Keown and Linighan only played in the finals because Keown was cup tied.
However, Andy Linighan remained at Arsenal until 1997 to be 4th Centre Back (4 centre backs? – Wenger if you are reading, take heed) when he moved to Crystal Palace, where he was made club captain and helped Palace to win promotion back to the Premier League.
Linighan moved further down the leagues after leaving Palace on a free transfer in 2000, where he moved to Oxford. Unfortunately for Andy, Oxford were relegated to the Third Division.
He later then played non-league football for St Albans before he completely retired from the game.
I was 11 years old when he scored that goal in the Cup Final and I remember the way he celebrated with pure delight. Even though he may have always been a back up player you could always rely on him and was certainly from the same mould as the likes of Adams, Bould and Keown and you can see why George Graham liked him.
He will forever remain in Arsenal history folklore.
These days Andy Linighan is a plumber in Hertfordshire. He is only 54 years old, which seems incredibly young as watching his goal from 1993 he looks about 40 then.
So if you have a burst pipe, what better way could it be to bring a true club legend FA Cup Arsenal winning goalscorer round to fix it.
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