2021 has become a year for Arsenal fans to forget.
After crashing out of the Europa League against Villarreal, the Gunners now face a season without European football, following a dismal Premier League campaign in which mid-table obscurity seems inevitable.
The last time this happened to the North London giants was in 1995, in a similarly poor season where they finished 12th in the Premier League and lost in the European Cup Winners’ Cup final to Real Zaragoza and THAT Nayim goal.
It was a different world back then, with British music ruling the airwaves, Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as James Bond, and Kate Moss proving to be the anti-thesis to the supermodels of the time.
1995 was also the start of a foreign revolution in the Premier League, with the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and Ruud Gullit arriving on our shores.
In 1995, bands like Oasis, Pulp, Blur, Supergrass were regulars on Top of the Pops – and were the new pop, or as everyone unflattering called it ‘Britpop’.
That summer saw the biggest chart battle since The Beatles and The Rolling Stones fought it out for music supremacy, when Oasis and Blur released singles on the same week.
Blur’s Country House pipped Roll With It by Oasis to the No1 spot, but Oasis would have the last laugh.
Their album (What’s The Story?) Morning Glory, featuring mega-hits Wonderwall and Don’t Look Back in Anger, became the UK’s fifth best selling album of all-time and sold 22 million copies around the world.
THE NAME’S BOND
With James Bond movies now being thrust back into the spotlight thanks to Daniel Craig and a huge budget spent on stunts, it’s hard to imagine a time when the franchise was on the wane.
In the mid-90s, after some poor outings featuring Timothy Dalton failed to eclipse American action films of the same era, we were given a new Bond.
Smooth-talking Pierce Brosnan starred in GoldenEye, with soul icon Tina Turner singing a theme tune written by Bono and The Edge, and the baddie being Sean Bean.
It reignited fans belief that there was still life in 007 and had the fourth-highest worldwide gross of all films in 1995.
Hollywood provided us with some classics too, including animated classic Toy Story, the gruesome thriller Seven starring Brad Pitt and Braveheart.
While on TV, we were rolling on the floor laughing at Father Ted’s escapades on the fictional Craggy Island.
The Premier League was in full swing – with TV money aiding clubs in spending large sums on transfers.
Liverpool broke the British transfer record with the £8.5million signing of Stan Collymore from Nottingham Forest.
But in London, Arsenal and Chelsea went cosmopolitan as the foreign invasion begun.
Dennis Bergkamp and Ruud Gullit brought in new dawns at their respective clubs, and new fortunes too.
In fact, Bergkamp fired Arsenal back into Europe the following season.
Elsewhere in football, Ajax were European champions with a brilliant team that included the finest Dutch players of their generation, including Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids, the De Boers, Marc Overmars and Patrick Kluivert.
The trial of the century, as it has been trivialised in documentary and TV shows, 1995 was the year O.J. Simpson was tried for the murders of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, who were stabbed to death outside Brown’s LA home.
The trial lasted an incredible 11 months, before a verdict was finally delivered.
Ultimately, Simpson’s lawyer Johnnie Cochran was able to convince the jury that there was reasonable doubt over the validity of the blood-stained gloves found on the scene used as evidence against Simpson.
He alleged that a blood sample had been mishandled by lab scientists and technicians, as well as claimed systematic racism and incompetence on the part of the LAPD.
On October 3, 1995 O.J. was found not guilty on both counts of murder and walked free.
MOSS IS THE HEIGHT OF COOL
In 1995, Kate Moss – then just 21 – was the epitome of cool in the fashion world.
With a look determined as ‘heroin-chic’, she was a maverick in a world of catwalk models known for being much taller and curvier than her slight 5ft 6in frame.
Famously, she appeared in her undies alongside Mark Wahlberg for Calvin Klein in 1995.
In her personal life, she was loved-up with A-lister Johnny Depp – who reportedly once poured her a champagne-filled bath.
However, their heady romance ended in 1998.
DIANA REVEALS ALL
In November, 1995 Diana, Princess of Wales, sat down with journalist Martin Bashir for a Panorama special for the BBC.
The extraordinary interview saw revelations about her relationship with former husband, Charles, Prince of Wales, and the reasons for their subsequent divorce.
Diana also spoke about suffering post-natal depression after the birth of Prince William, as well as battles with bulimia and self-harm.
The programme was watched by nearly 23 million viewers in the UK, which equated to roughly 40 per cent of the population.
25 years after the interview, the BBC director general Tim Davie was forced to apologise to Diana’s brother Earl Spencer, for the use of fake bank statements falsely indicating people close to her had been paid for spying.
A LEGACY BEGINS
Astonishingly, an unknown Tiger Woods was making waves in the golf world in 1995.
At the age of 19, he reclaimed the U.S. Amateur title at the Newport Country Club in Rhode Island.
Then, he participated in his first ever PGA Tour major at the 1995 Masters.
And he gave a very good account of himself – finishing tied in 41st and being the only amateur to make the cut.
It was the perfect dress rehearsal for his victory by 12 strokes just two years later.
As one sporting legacy began, another resumed.
Mike Tyson returned to the ring after a near four-year absence – with nearly three of those spent behind bars after a rape conviction.
His opponent at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas was seasoned fighter Peter McNeeley.
The showpiece only lasted 89 seconds with Tyson earning an easy victory via disqualification, after knocking McNeeley to the ground twice before his manager stepped into the ring to stop the fight.
But it set incredible PPV figures, including a then-record £40 million in pay-per-view buys with the fight being purchased by 1.52 million American homes.
Tyson later eclipsed that figure with blockbuster fights against Frank Bruno and Evander Holyfield twice.