The Anniversary Files
Here are the Arsenal (and occasionally one or two non-Arsenal) anniversaries for today taken from the complete files of over 6000 Arsenal anniversaries which appear on the Arsenal History Society website. An index to the Anniversary files can be found in the left column of this site under “Pages”
The current historical series on this site is Henry Norris at the Arsenal. An index of all our series can be found on the home page.
31 May 1884: Frank Bradshaw born. Frank was the youngest of eight children, and is recorded as playing for Oxford Street Sunday School, Sheffield Wednesday, Northampton Town, Everton before finally reaching Arsenal.
31 May 1890: Royal Arsenal win a five a side competition in Islington. It is the first known link between Arsenal and their ultimate long-term home.
31 May 1893: Woolwich Arsenal elected to Division II of the Football League. As part of their attempts to fight those within the club who were opposed to the direction of Woolwich Arsenal, there had clearly been some private negotiations with the League, resulting in Arsenal being the first Football League club in the south.
31 May 1907 Norman Sidey born. He joined Arsenal as an amateur from Nunhead (in the Isthmian League) in March 1929 before turning professional two years later in February 1931.
31 May 1915: Zeppelins appeared over London for the first time.
31 May 1920: The Football League and the FA held their AGMs. Hilariously the League overturned their decision of the previous meeting and voted to take over the Southern League Division 1, re-creating it as Division Three. They further agreed that they would also create a second Division Three for clubs in the north, as soon as enough clubs applied.
31 May 1935: Having re-introduced speed limits on British roads the government now introduced the driving test for everyone who had not held a licence before this date.
31 May 1937: First appearance of Lawrie Scott. George Allison changed him from a winger to a right back, and he played in the reserves for two years, until the outbreak of war, at which time he became a Physical Training instructor for the RAF.
31 May 1937: Arsenal beat Copenhagen 5-1 (Scorers Crayston, Davidson, Lewis, Biggs, Nelson). This was the third match of a five match series taking in Sweden, Denmark and Belgium.
31 May 1947: George Allison resigned, ending a 37 year association with the club. His final act was to write his autobiography: Allison Calling (a title which makes reference to his long-term work as a radio commentator). In the book Allison’s description of Henry Norris (who Allison knew from 1910 onwards) and his style of work contrasts starkly with Knighton’s, and calls into question many of Knighton’s assertions. Ludicrously it is Knighton’s book, written 22 years after he left the club but published within weeks of the Allison book, which is used as the prime source of history by many writers. Allison, like Chapman before him and Whittaker after him, won two league titles and the FA Cup.
31 May 1961: Peter Storey joined Arsenal as an apprentice. He later wrote a most readable autobiography called “True Storey‘s; My life and crimes as a football hatchet man,”
31 May 1967: Don Howe’s final game as a player. After 342 games for West Brom he had played 70 games for Arsenal and scored one goal. He then became reserve team coach under Bertie Mee.
31 May 1972: Arsenal played away to Miami Gatos (USA) and won 3-2 in front of a crowd of 4,725. George, Radford and Kennedy scored. Quite what the point of this single post-season game, no one quite knew.
31 May 2013: Arsenal reported that Freddie Ljungberg had taken on an ambassadorial role with the club.
The current series: Covering all aspects of 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 articles thus far are here.
“Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football” and “Making the Arsenal” are both available on Kindle. Please see here for more details