Arsenal players warned about drinking before a match & police demand 11.30 kick off.

The Arsenal Anniversary Files

Today’s headline anniversaries come from 1899 and 1984

Latest article published by the Arsenal History Society

Chapman at the Arsenal – the opening month. Chaos in the goalmouth!

Below are the Arsenal (and for historical context, 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 monthly Anniversary files can be found in the right column of this site under “Pages”

The current historical series on this site is Henry Norris at the Arsenal.   An index of all our main series can be found on the home page.


25 August 1899.  Chairman and benefactor George Leavey warns his players about drinking before a match.  “No man with a skinful of whisky can play football,” he said.

25 August 1923: Debut of Harry Woods v Newcastle.  It ended Arsenal 1 Newcastle 4 in front of 45,000.  The large crowd was probably caused by the fact that Arsenal were undefeated in the final nine league matches of the previous season.

25 August 1924: J A H Catton, the most famous football journalist in the country, and active supporter of Arsenal’s election to the first Division in 1919, retired as editor of Athletic News.  He was the man whose editorials had always been met with great respect.

25 August 1928.  For the first match of the new season Chapman introduced numbers on the players’ shirts.  The FA said subsequently said “no”, for no apparent reason other than it was new.

25 August 1934: Wilf Copping’s first game v Portsmouth away.  The 3-3 draw (Bowden, Drake and Bastin) suggested Arsenal might score goals, and they did.  Eight in the next match and 115 in the league winning the third successive title. It was also Allison’s first match as manager.

25 August 1939: After the institution of the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939 the previous day the Irish Republican Army exploded a bomb in Coventry, killing 25.

25 August 1954: Jimmy Bloomfield and Joe Haverty league debuts – a 0-1 away defeat to Everton.  In fact Arsenal lost all three of their opening games of the season.

25 August 1964: Arsenal played their first ever home match on a pitch with under soil heating.  It finished Arsenal 1 Sheffield W 1 in front of 35,590. Simpson scored.  Arsenal went on to win only two of their first six games and finished 13th in the league.

25 August 1965: Arsenal only played Northampton twice in the league – and both games were 1-1 draws – on 25 August 1965 at Northampton and 28 August 1965 at Arsenal.

25 August 1970: After what was reported as a long stalemate Bob McNab accepted a new pay offer.  He stayed until 1975 playing 278 league games.

25 August 1970: Arsenal 1 Huddersfield 0.  Match 4 in the First Double season, making the tally thus far Won 2 drawn 2.   Kennedy scored in front of just 34,848.

25 August 1973: The season opened with Arsenal 3 Manchester United 0, in front of a very satisfactory crowd of 51,501

On 21 August 1976 Malcolm Macdonald made his league début in Terry Neill’s first game as manager, against newly promoted Bristol City.  There was no Brady and no Staplement. The score was Arsenal 0 Bristol City 1.

25 August 1979: Arsenal 0 Man U 0 in front of 44,380 fans.  The press, had slipped into the habit of calling Man U the “Great Entertainers” but admitted after this game the side was “deadly dull” as one report put it. The word was out, if you want a point against Arsenal, “don’t let Arsenal play”.  It was an approach that lasted for months, and months.

25 August 1984: Arsenal League debut by Viv Anderson in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea.  He went on to play 120 league games for Arsenal over the next three years before moving to Manchester United.  The police demanded the match kick off at 11:30 but it was mostly just a rather silly flexing of muscles by the authorities; there was no significant trouble at Arsenal matches.

25 August 1990: Arsenal start with a 3-0 away win at Wimbledon in front of 13,733, eventually were docked two points but still won the league by 7 points, losing only one match during the whole league campaign.  Merson, Smith and Groves scored. See also here.

25 August 1999.  Luis Boa Morte transferred to Southampton after just six league starts and 19 appearances in the league as a sub since joining Arsenal two years earlier.

25 August 2001: Arsenal 4 Leicester 0.  League match 3 of the third Double season.  Ljungberg, Wiltord, Henry, and Kanu scored making it 9 goals in 3, but only two wins.

25 August 2004: Arsenal 3 Blackburn 0 – the game that broke Nottingham Forest’s 42 league games unbeaten record set in 1977/8 by Brian Clough’s team.  Arsenal of course went on to 49.

25 August 2005: Jérémie Aliadière loaned to West Ham but only played seven games for them – although that was better than his previous loan to Celtic where he failed to make an appearance.

25 August 2006:   Nic Anelka signed a four year deal with Bolton, for their record fee of £8m.   The fact that he was Bolton’s top scorer in 2006/7 with ten goals, says a lot about where his career had got to.

25 August 2007: Arsenal 1 Manchester City 0.  It was part of a now largely forgotten run of 28 games unbeaten.

25 August 2009: Francis Jeffers was sent off for headbutting Tommy Fraser in a 2–0 League Cup defeat to Port Vale.  He was placed on the transfer list.

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