“the worst 45 minutes [by Arsenal] that any of their fans could remember”.

Here are the Anniversaries from 31 August – part of our regular daily look at Arsenal’s history.

Our most recent article on Arsenal’s history is As the death toll mounts Arsenal keep playing: October 1914

Meanwhile if you are fascinated by the headline quote – it comes from a match on this day… in the Unbeaten Season.


31 August 1906: Percy Sands signed as a professional, although he had been playing with Arsenal as an amateur since 1902, while also working as a teacher.  He played for the club for 17 years playing 327 games.  

31 August 1909: the FA agreed that professional players could be members of the Association Football Players Union and a dispute between players and the FA came to an end allowing the season to start on the following day.

31 August 1910: George Burdett signed from Tottenham as an amateur. He played 28 games for Arsenal across two seasons and was a musician with the Royal Artillery Band at Woolwich.

31 August 1925: Joseph Toner’s last game.  It was Chapman’s second game with the club, but having seeing his side lose at home to Tottenham and draw 2-2 at home to Leicester on this day, he started to take dramatic action.

31 August 1929: Arsenal debut for Alex James, after playing 147 games for Preston – a 4-0 home win over Leeds in front of 41,885.  Jack (2) Hulme and Parker scored.

31 August 1931: Last game for William Harper in his second spell at Arsenal.  He won a league winners’ medal in 1930/1, and overall played 63 times for the club before moving on to Plymouth.

31 August 1935: First appearance for John Milne. He had previously played for Glasgow Ashfield, and Blackburn Rovers, and was a Scottish international, but little is known of his life.

31 August 1946: Numbered shirts confirmed by League as available for all clubs.  On 25 August 1928, Arsenal had worn numbered shirts for the first time, but the move was outlawed by the authorities.

31 August 1946: First appearance for Ian McPherson.  He started with Rangers but left the club to serve with the RAF during the second world war and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was signed by Arsenal in August 1946.

31 August 1946: Arsenal’s worst ever start to a season,  Wolverhampton 6 Arsenal 1.  The season began with the same fixtures as the abandoned 1939/40 season.  (See 26 August 1939:).

31 August 1949: First game for Arthur Shaw, in a 2-3 home defeat to Chelsea.  He was born in London, and played initially for Brentford, as well as representing England as an amateur player.

31 August 1959: Dr Jimmy Patterson died. Leslie Knighton in his autobiography claimed that he had been reduced to playing the brother of the club’s physio because Sir Henry Norris would not allow Knighton funds for transfers.  In reality Patterson was an ex-Rangers player of high quality who was later brought out of retirement by Chapman, who was keen to extend his playing days.

31 August 1963: Leicester 7 Arsenal 2.  Goalkeeper McClelland was injured and  Joe Baker went in goal – commenting after that the club had no arrangements for who should take over if there were to be an injury to the keeper.

31 August 2001:  Sylvinho sold to Celta Vigo for £5m.  He had played 55 times for Arsenal between 1999 and 2001, and after 84 games for Celta Vigo he played 89 times for Barcelona.

31 August 2003:  The Times reported the league match against Man City as containing “the worst 45 minutes [by Arsenal] that any of their fans could remember”.   It ended Man City 1 Arsenal 2 and was the 4th league match of the unbeaten season.

31 August 2005: David Bentley loaned to Blackburn.  After 14 games on loan he moved to the club permanently and played 88 times before moving to Tottenham in 2008.

31 August 2005: Justin Hoyte loaned to Sunderland.  He played 27 times for them before being sold to Middlesbrough for whom he played 142 league games between 2008 and 2013.

31 August 2006: M Poom brought in on loan from Sunderland.  He later moved permanently to Arsenal for the 2006/7 season, and played one game before ending his career with Watford.  He was Estonian player of the year six times.

31 August 2006: William Gallas transferred to Arsenal along with a £5m settlement fee after Ashley Cole had illegally negotiated with Chelsea.  Cole claimed the salary Arsenal had offered him had made him feel sick.

31 August 2007: Lassana Diarra moved from Chelsea to Arsenal.  He lasted just five months and sought a move in January 2008 claiming that he had been promised regular games, which he was not getting.

31 August 2011:  André Santos, Thomas Eisfeld, Per Mertesacker, Yossi Benayoun (loan) and Mikel Arteta, all joined Arsenal,

31 August 2011: Gilles Sunu left Arsenal to join Lorient.  He had never played for Arsenal in the league but went on to play 67 games for Lorient before moving on to Evian.

31 August 2012: Goalkeeper Dejan Iliev transferred from Belasica.  He was the first Macedonian to join Arsenal, and featured for Arsenal in NextGen and Youth Cup matches while playing for his country at under 21 level.

31 August 2012:  Nicklas Bendtner went to Juventus on loan.  He only played nine times for the club in the league and did not score.  He later moved on to VfL Wolfsburg but only scored one goal in 18 games in his first season there.

31 August 2012 Park Chu-Young moved to Celta de Vigo.   On  22 September 2012 he became the first Korean to score in the Spanish League.

31 August 2016: Serge Gnabry sold to Werder Bremen who soon sold him to Bayern Munich who then in July 2017 sent him out on loan.

31 August 2016: Jack Wilshere loaned to AFC Bournemouth for the season.  He was due to go to Roma but reports suggested Bournemouth offered a £2m fee and Jack was happier staying in England.

31 August 2016: Kelechi Nwakali loaned to Maastricht for the season.

Elsewhere on this day, on 31 August in 12AD Caligula was born, in 1867 Charles Baudelaire died of VD in poverty, in 1969 Bob Dylan performed on the Isle of Wight, and in 1997 Diana Princess of Wales died in a car crash.


The current series from the Arsenal History Series being developed on this site is  Henry Norris at the Arsenal, covering all aspects off the life and work of the man who rescued Arsenal from extinction, secured the club’s future by moving it to Highbury, and then brought in Herbert Chapman as manager.

The previously untold tale of how it was that Norris came to choose Highbury as the suitable location for Arsenal’s new ground.

The series is being worked on daily, and the articles thus far are here.

Among the many other series we have run are…

There are details of many other series covered by this site on our home page.



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