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‘I’ll marry you... when Arsenal wins the FA’ - 60 years on diamond couple George and Joyce are still going strong

PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 September 2010

Joyce and George Polston

Joyce and George Polston

Carmen Valino

FOR any other girlfriend, her beloved’s pledge to marry her when his football team win the FA might seem like waiting for pigs to fly.

George and Joyce Polston on their wedding day

But 60 years ago this week George Polston proved himself a man of his word, tying the knot with fiancé Joyce the very same year his other love - Arsenal - won the FA Cup Final.

The couple today (Thursday) celebrated their diamond anniversary with family and friends at the Hawthorn Green Care Home in Stepney, where George now lives.

But their 60 years together might never have been if football-mad George, 89, hadn’t promised to take Joyce, 83, on a date if Arsenal beat Tottenham Hotspur.

Joyce told the Advertiser: “We were brought up a ten minute walk away in Bethnal Green. We’d always been good friends.

“In January 1949 George said: ‘If Arsenal beat Tottenham I’ll take you out tonight.’ They did, and that’s when we started going out.

“Then in September we got engaged and everyone said: ‘When are you going to get married?’ George said: ‘We’ll get married when Arsenal win the FA.’”

The following year Arsenal trumped Liverpool 2-0 in the cup final and the couple said ‘I do’ at St Peter’s Church in Hackney Road.

They had first son Chris three years later before moving to Poplar in 1963. Second son Michael was born in 1966. Unsurprisingly, their five grandchildren are just as Arsenal-mad as their granddad.

George, who now suffers from alzheimers, worked as a lorry driver, furniture manufacturer and meat-scaler at Smithfields Market while Joyce worked in packaging.

The secret to their long and happy marriage? Joyce said: “Having no secrets and sharing the good and bad times with a smile.”


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