The real story of low crowds at Arsenal

Below are the anniversaries of Arsenal for 22 April

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The latest article on Henry Norris at the Arsenal is…

April 1922: Arsenal and Man U fight against relegation. Only one survives.


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 1929


22 April 1894: In the 20 days up to this date Arsenal played nine friendlies and Arthur Worrall played in eight of these scoring three goals.   In fact in the space of 32 days up to the final match of the season on 28 April, Arsenal played 10 friendlies and two league games and Worrall played in 10 of them (nine friendlies and one league game).

22 April 1905.  Last game for James Jackson.  With Duncan McNichol he formed the original back two, making 204 appearances at full back.  He moved onto Leyton, and after retiring from football became a blacksmith.

22 April 1905: Arsenal 2 Everton 1 – the first win (in the last game of the season) after 4 defeats and 3 draws.  It left Arsenal 10th in the league, but still only 12 points off Everton at the top.

22 April 1908: James Sharp transferred to Rangers after three years at Woolwich Arsenal.  His transfer was part of the notorious policy of selling top players in order to try and reduce the debts.

22 April 1910: The Kentish Independent published a letter from George Leavey announcing that shares in the new Arsenal company set up on 15 April would be on sale from 23 to 30 April at £1 each.  But the printing of the share prospectus was delayed, and in fact the shares finally went on sale on 6 May. The offer failed.

22 April 1911: Arsenal 2 Preston 0. Although no one thought of calling it St Totteringham Day, the first occasion on which Arsenal finished above Tottenham was on this day – with one game to spare. Between 1894 and 2014 there were 49 occasions when Arsenal were above Tottenham at the conclusion, and only 28 the other way round.  On 32 other seasons the clubs were not in the same league. Arsenal and Tottenham

22 April 1912: For the first time since March 3 1906 Arsenal scored five in a league match in beating Blackburn 5-1.  It was the third win in a row, but was aided by Blackburn putting out a weakened team as they were in the FA Cup semis.

22 April 1912: Andy Ducat’s final game – his departure was undoubtedly a major factor in the decline of the club in 1912/13.  It was his 125th league game and as always he didn’t play the last game of the season due to cricketing commitments.  He joined Aston Villa on 15 June.

22 April 1922: Arsenal were facing relegation and Tottenham had hopes of winning the league when the clubs met for the north London derby.  But despite Tottenham’s superior team Arsenal won 1-0, for the second match running with a penalty. That made it five wins, two draws and two defeats in the last nine – Arsenal’s best run of the season.

22 April 1929: Arsenal beat Everton 2-0 in front of 11,696.  It remained the lowest crowd at Highbury from this date until 8738 showed up on 5 April 1966 for Arsenal 1 WBA 1

22 April 1931: Arsenal’s first Sheriff of London game – a competition which was set up to be played between and amateur and a professional side in England once a year by Sir Thomas Dewar.  Arsenal beat Corinthians 5-3 at Highbury; attendance 12,000.

22 April 1933: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 3 in front of 72,000 and as a result Arsenal became champions with two games spare.  Bastin got 2 and Jack the other. It was part of a run in which Bastin scored in five consecutive games.  It was also Chapman’s final triumph.

22 April 1935: Two years to the day on from Chapman’s 1933 trophy Arsenal made it 3 championships under 3 different managers, again with 2 games to spare, beating Middlesbrough 1-0 with a goal from Drake (giving him 42 goals in 41 league games – Arsenal’s all time record).  He failed to score in the remaining two games.

22 April 1939: Stoke 1 Arsenal 0; Reg Cumner’s last league game.  He had come through the ranks at Margate to play both for Arsenal and England, but only played 14 times for Arsenal, due to the war.

22 April 1947: Death of Frederick Coles.  He had played 78 league games for Woolwich Arsenal at the start of the century before moving to Grimsby, later becoming a football and cricket coach in Gothenburg.

22 April 1953:  Cardiff 0 Arsenal 0.  After 18 goals in five games Arsenal were one point clear of second placed Wolverhampton with two games to play.  The crowd was an extraordinary 57,800 in Ninian Park.

22 April 1959: Last international appearance of Dave Bowen.  He played 19 times for Wales, and scored one goal.

22 April 1961: Arsenal 1 Wolverhampton 5.  This was one of three consecutive defeats during which Arsenal let in 12 goals.   It was Arsenal’s worst home defeat in the league since 14 February 1925 when Herbert Chapman’s Huddersfield won 0-5 at Highbury.

22 April 1967: Arsenal 1 Nottm F 1.  Arsenal’s 5th successive draw during which Arsenal scored four goals.  This time Storey scored.  The previous three were scored by George Graham.

22 April 1970: Anderlecht 3 Arsenal 1, Fairs Cup final 1st leg.  Ray Kennedy scored.  It was widely thought that Anderlecht would see out the second leg to take the trophy.   

22 April 1978: John Devine’s first league game.  Leeds 1 Arsenal 3.  First Arsenal win at Leeds for 40 years.  Pat Jennings was captain for the first time.  Stapleton and Macdonald scored – the third was an og.

22 April 1998: Tony Adams gained his 50th international cap.  He went on to get 64 in total, and scored five goals in international matches.

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