Arsenal F.C. - in Popular Culture

In Popular Culture

Arsenal have appeared in a number of media "firsts". On 22 January 1927, their match at Highbury against Sheffield United was the first English League match to be broadcast live on radio.; A decade later, on 16 September 1937, an exhibition match between Arsenal's first team and the reserves was the first football match in the world to be televised live. Arsenal also featured in the first edition of the BBC's Match of the Day, which screened highlights of their match against Liverpool at Anfield on 22 August 1964. BSkyB's coverage of Arsenal's January 2010 match against Manchester United was the first live public broadcast of a sports event on 3D television.

As one of the most successful teams in the country, Arsenal have often featured when football is depicted in the arts in Britain. They formed the backdrop to one of the earliest football-related films, The Arsenal Stadium Mystery (1939). The film centres on a friendly match between Arsenal and an amateur side, one of whose players is poisoned while playing. Many Arsenal players appeared as themselves and manager George Allison was given a speaking part. More recently, the book Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby was an autobiographical account of Hornby's life and relationship with football and Arsenal in particular. Published in 1992, it formed part of the revival and rehabilitation of football in British society during the 1990s. The book was twice adapted for the cinema – the 1997 British film focuses on Arsenal's 1988–89 title win, and a 2005 American version features a fan of baseball's Boston Red Sox.

Arsenal have often been stereotyped as a defensive and "boring" side, especially during the 1970s and 1980s; many comedians, such as Eric Morecambe, made jokes about this at the team's expense. The theme was repeated in the 1997 film The Full Monty, in a scene where the lead actors move in a line and raise their hands, deliberately mimicking the Arsenal defence's offside trap, in an attempt to co-ordinate their striptease routine. Another film reference to the club's defence comes in the film Plunkett & Macleane, in which two characters are named Dixon and Winterburn after Arsenal's long-serving full backs – the right-sided Lee Dixon and the left-sided Nigel Winterburn.

The 1991 television comedy sketch show Harry Enfield & Chums featured a sketch from the characters Mr Cholmondly-Warner and Grayson where the Arsenal team of 1933, featuring exaggerated parodies of fictitious amateur players take on the Liverpool team of 1991.

Arsenal is mentioned in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy – when a bartender asks the alien Ford Prefect if he plans to watch the match, Ford replies that there's no point, and the bartender asks "Foregone conclusion, then? Arsenal without a chance?" Ford replies that it's just that the world's about to end.

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