The court case that split Arsenal in two, and established the original transfer system.


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…  Our headline story comes from 4 January 1892.

4 January 1892  (Exact date uncertain, but either 4th or 5th). The court hearing in the case in which George Davie took Arsenal to court for wrongful dismissal.  Royal Arsenal won the case which confirmed the legality of the retain and transfer system until it was challenged again by George Eastham.  However the case also served to rally those who opposed the Committee that ran Royal Arsenal FC and began the process that led to the split of the club in two in 1893.

4 January 1896: Final game for David Howat (the man who was our first ever substituted player).  He played 72 times for Arsenal but what happened after he left the club is a total mystery.

4 January 1908: Ernie Coleman born in Blidworth, Notts.  He first played for Hucknall Colliery was signed by Nottm Forest but didn’t get a game, moved to Halifax Town and then Grimsby Town with whom he scored 57 goals in 85 games – mostly in the first division.

4 January 1913: Bolton 5 Arsenal 1.  Part of a run in which Arsenal let in 15 goals in four games.  Arsenal were relegated at the end of the season.

4 January 1919.  Having played Millwall Athletic in the Victory Cup 3 days before the clubs met again in the London Combination (the war time league) at Highbury.  Arsenal won 4-1 with Hardinge and Chipperfield each getting two goals.  8000 were present, a crowd total which showed the first signs of growth since the war ended two months before.  .

4 January 1930: Jimmy Dunne scored four goals for the second consecutive match for Sheffield Utd – an event that must have put him on the radar of Chapman – although it took Chapman another three years to sign him.

4 January 1934: Having continued to go and watch matches and be involved in the club’s affairs despite being very ill Herbert Chapman was forced to bed and was diagnosed as suffering from pneumonia.

4 January 1936: Having won the league for each of the past three years Arsenal were looking as if they would not retain the title, and a draw with Birmingham on this day confirmed that, as Sunderland were now nine points above Arsenal at the top of the league.

4 January 1958: Arsenal lost 3-1 to Northampton in the FA Cup round 3, as Jack Crayston’s short tenure as manager slips away.  It was the first time in 10 years that Arsenal had exited in the first Cup match of the season.

4 January 1986: In a howling gale and with games postponed elsewhere as the snow came down Arsenal beat Grimsby 4-3 on the edge of the North Sea.  The pitch was a slippery mud bath but still Charlie Nicholas scored a hat trick, and Rix the fourth.

4 January 1987: An unbeaten run from 4 October 1986 continued to this day with the beating of Tottenham 2-1 in the league away to take Arsenal top of the league.  The goals came from Tony Adams and Paul Davis with just 37,723 in the stadium. See also here.

4 January 1992: Wrexham 2 Arsenal 1 FA Cup 3rd round.  On 29 July 2011 BBC Sport described the result as one of the biggest cup upsets of all time, although it has never obtained the historic significance of the defeat to Walsall under Herbert Chapman.

4 January 1999: Preston 2 Arsenal 4.  FA Cup 3rd round en route for the final.  Boa Morte, Petit (2) and Overmars got the goals with 21,099 in the crowd.

4 January 2000: Brian McGovern loaned to QPR.  He made just one appearance as a sub in a league game.  He subsequently played 21 times for Norwich before moving into Irish football, ending his career with Bray Wanderers in 2006.

4 January 2004: Leeds 1 Arsenal 4, (FA Cup) the 3rd consecutive 4-1 win at Elland Road, symbolising the rising and falling status of the teams.

4 January 2013: Chamakh loaned to WHU.  He never seemed to fulfil his early potential at Arsenal but was later revealed to have been affected by deeply troubling personal problems.

4 January 2014: Arsenal 2 Tottenham 0. Walcott was injured and missed the rest of season and World Cup.  As he was carried from the ground Tottenham fans hurled missiles at Walcott and the ambulance team, an event which led to a police review of safety at the away end of the Emirates.

4 January 2015:  Arsenal’s lowest home attendance of the season – 59,439 – came to see the two finalists of the FA Cup in 2013/14 start off their FA Cup journeys again.  It ended Arsenal 2 Hull 0.  Mertesacker and Alexis scored.

“Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football” and “Making the Arsenal” are both available on Kindle, and we have a small number of copies of the printed edition available at £10 each.   Details are here.

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

Arsenal in March 1919: the London Victory Cup and its consequences

Yesterday’s anniversaries: 

The manager who sent his apology to Arsene Wenger by horse

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”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *