Have you heard the story about the lowest league crowd? It’s not quite as a it seems.

Below are the anniversaries of Arsenal for 2 April

The full index to what is on this site is here.

The latest article on Henry Norris at the Arsenal is…

Why did Arsenal manager Knighton turn down Man City but not buy players? Summer of 1921.

The current series: 

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, our current series of articles is on Henry Norris at the Arsenal.  The series is being worked on daily, and the articles thus far are here.

A list of many of our major series (including complete detailed reviews of Arsenal in the 30s and Arsenal in the 70s, and links to the anniversaries throughout the year, is given on the AISA Arsenal History Society home page.

Here are the anniversaries…

Our headline story comes from 1921.

2 April 1887: Archibald Devine was born in Lochore, Fife.  He won the FA Cup with Bradford and played a game for Scotland before playing in the last season in Plumstead and first at Highbury, after which he went back to Bradford.

2 April 1887: The date of the cup final defined the end to Arsenal’s first ever season during which the name Royal Arsenal FC was established, and the club was opened up to all employees of the ordnance factories on the south bank of the Thames.

2 April 1894: George Jaques, one of the 28 players who represented Woolwich Arsenal in their first ever League campaign, played his last match for the club: a home friendly against Nottingham Forest which Arsenal lost 1-3.  He did not register for any other club, he just seems to have packed up and gone, and was lost to history.

2 April 1897: The Woolwich Herald reported that Thomas Mitchell the highly successful former Blackburn manager had arrived at Plumstead to take up his job as manager.  

2 April 1910: Bristol City 0 Arsenal 1.  It was the 7th game in a row in which neither side scored more than one goal.  The run ended on the last day of the season after 11 consecutive matches.  See also here

2 April 1911: Fred Calvert signed for Woolwich Arsenal as an amateur. He played just two games for the club after which we lose all sight of him.

2 April 1914:   Gillespie Road stadium re-opened for the game Arsenal Res v Fulham Res after repairs to the leaning wall were complete.  See also here for the historical context.

2 April 1915: Manchester United beat Liverpool 2-0 in a match that was blatantly fixed. Liverpool had already been cited twice for match fixing in recent seasons but although both teams were found guilty neither club received any punishment – which had a major impact on the first post-war season

2 April 1915: Hull 1 Arsenal 0.  Last game for George Grant.  Born in Plumstead he came from Invicta in Dartford and moved on to Millwall.  This was the last of a run of games which started on February 27 in which The Arsenal won one, and lost five, scoring one goal and conceded six.

2 April 1920: Arsenal had no fewer than seven league games scheduled for April 1920, but still took on two friendly games including against Bolton on this day as well as having three games on the next four days!  14,700 turned up and Arsenal used the match to give a game to Williamson (who had been first choice keeper but had now lost his place to Dunn).  

2 April 1921: Most football history books record Stockport County v Sheffield Wednesday as having the lowest crowd in league history.  But as so often with football, the story has been mashed up over time. It actually all started on this day.

2 April 1921: Amidst growing industrial confrontation, and threats of a coal strike which would disrupt the railways, and make life very difficult for the London clubs to get to away games,  Arsenal drew 1-1 away to Sheffield United with Rutherford scoring Arsenal’s goal in front of 35,000.

2 April 1926: Last Arsenal game (in the reserves) for Clem Voysey.  He was one of the most controversial figures in Arsenal’s history but quite what happened is forever shrouded in mystery.

2 April 1926: A bad defeat for Arsenal (3-0 away to Aston Villa) meant Bill Harper was dropped but he was back for another 23 league games in the following season.

2 April 1927: Joe Hulme made his England debut v Scotland in Glasgow. England won 2-1 in front of over 111,000 fans.

2 April 1927: Arsenal 0 Huddersfield 2.  An injury to Horace Cope kept him out of the team for the rest of the season, and the cup final.  It was the third of six consecutive defeats.  It was also the last game for Billy Milne

2 April 1932: Bob John broke the club appearance record held by Percy Sands of 327 games.  He went on to play 421 league games and 46 FA Cup games. The result was a 1-1 draw with Chelsea – part of a run of five without a win.

2 April 1934: Arsenal beat Derby 4-2 as expected, to continue their push for the title, wherein they were equal on points with Huddersfield who played the following day against Liverpool.  Huddersfield had an excellent home record, Liverpool were appalling away and yet it ended second placed Huddersfield Town 0, 19th placed Liverpool 2. It was one of the great upsets of the season.

2 April 1951: A trial match using the new floodlights at Highbury was played: The Boxers v The Jockeys.  It was a regular event that raised money for charity.

2 April 1974: Jimmy Rimmer signed from Manchester Utd.  In the following three seasons he was Arsenal’s first choice keeper and played 124 league games.

2 April 1977:  Graham Rix’ first game – a 3-0 victory over Leicester in which Rix scored one of the goals.  As unlikely as it seems O’Leary got the other two! After seven consecutive defeats followed by a draw with Stoke this was the start of a run of winning six out of seven.  

2 April 1989: Tony Adams scored to put Arsenal ahead, but then put into his own net in a 1-1 away draw with Man U.  It was a run of seven without defeat which took Arsenal so close to Liverpool in the league table the season was decided in its final seconds.

2 April 2005: Arsenal 4 Norwich 1. Gilberto Silva returned after his long layoff with the back injury which it was feared might end his career.   He went on to play over 80 more league games for the club.

2 April 2011:  Almunia’s last match – a 0-0 home draw with Blackburn Rovers. On 30 September he signed a loan deal with West Ham, and did not play for Arsenal again.  His contract ended on 30 June 2012. He later played for Watford for two years but then as he prepared to move to Cagliari a serious heart condition was revealed and he immediately retired from playing

2 April 2017: A 2-2 draw with Manchester City meant that Arsenal had won just one game in the last six in the league.


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