“We so very rarely score two in a match…” You’ll never guess who was in the squad!

This is our daily review of Arsenal anniversaries taken from the Arsenal day by day  files prepared by the AISA Arsenal History Society.

Here are the stories from this day in history… the answer to who was in the team is given on 23 December 2000…

23 December 1893: Arsenal 7 Crusaders 0.  By modern standards it was a strange time to set up a friendly, with forthcoming games on Christmas and Boxing Day, but the club wanted every penny it could get and games were the only way to bring in money.

23 December 1905: Debut for William Garbutt v Preston – the man who later took football to Italy (and who is still honoured in that country for so doing).  He was part of the Arsenal side that reached two FA Cup semi-finals in successive seasons.

23 December 1906 – David Neave returned to Arsenal, having moved to Leyton FC (the non-league club, not the same as the Orient) earlier in the year.

23 December 1911: Last (and 200th) game for Archibald Gray and for David Neave.  It ended Notts County 3 Arsenal 1 in front of 6000 fans.

23 December 1922: Huddersfield 4 Arsenal 0.  Stephen Dunn lost his place as a result of this match after 44 games, before leaving football and moving into a career in business.  He remains one of Arsenal’s mystery players of whom little is known beyond his period at Arsenal.

23 December 1960: Terry Neill scored on his debut as a player – it ended Sheffield W 1 Arsenal 1.  He went on to score 8 goals in 241 league games. Articles on Terry Neill as a manager are here.

23 December 1976: Alan Ball sold to Southampton for £60,000, having played 177 league games and scored 45 goals.  In all he played 833 games, including spells in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, and Australia.

23 December 1978.  Tottenham H 0 Arsenal 5.  The Brady goal from this game has regularly been used as part of the pre-match entertainment at the Emirates.  John Motson’s commentary has also become famous as he said, “Look at that, oh look at that.  What a goal by Brady!”  Sunderland got a hattrick, Stapleton the other.  The result left Arsenal in 4th and Tottenham in 11th place.

23 December 1988: Kenny Sansom sold to Newcastle for £300,000.  He played 314 league games for Arsenal out of a career total of 636.  He also played 86 times for England between 1979 and 1988 – a record for a full back at the time.

23 December 1995: Liverpool 3 Arsenal 1 made it five games without a win.  Arsenal’s goal came from a penalty by Wright.  Arsenal returned to winning ways on Boxing Day against QPR before suffering two more defeats.

23 December 2000: Liverpool 4 Arsenal 0.  Arsène Wenger commented that the lack of goals for Arsenal was problematic.  “It has been our problem all season.  We so very rarely score two in a match…”  Arsenal’s team included Parlour, Ljungberg, Bergkamp, Henry, with Pires, Wiltord and Kanu on the bench.  

23 December 2001: 10 man Arsenal finally beat the Anfield jinx – Liverpool 1 Arsenal 2 in a month of five wins, 1 draw, 1 defeat.  League match 18 of the third Double season.

23 December 2006: Arsenal 6 Blackburn 2.  Arsenal made it 3 wins and 2 draws in December with two more games to go.  The goals came from Gilberto, Hleb, Adebayor, Van Persie (2) and Flamini.

23 December 2008: Fabregas ruled out for four months after injury in 1-1 draw with Liverpool.  He still managed to make 45 appearances in the season and score 13 goals.


The latest post from our series on Henry Norris at the Arsenal

Arsenal in January 1919: rioting in the streets and the question of promotion

Yesterday’s anniversaries: 

When the last eight minutes were played three months later

Special feature: 

Highbury: from start to end with previously unseen pictures of the end of the stadium.

What’s on the Arsenal History Society site

An index to the various series that contain over 1,700 articles on this site concerning the history of Arsenal appears on our home page.  Our current series is “Henry Norris at the Arsenal”

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