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According to the media “Arsenal are confused”

Latest article published by the Arsenal History Society

September 1926: the great march forwards comes to a puzzling halt

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” on the right of the screen.

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.


Today’s headline comes from 1974

21 September 1889: Arsenal beat Tottenham 10-1 in the opening game of the season.  Arsenal played six games between this date and the end of November and scored 50 goals, letting in five.

21 September 1894: Bob Buchanan signed for Arsenal from Burnley.    He played for two seasons playing in 42 league games and scoring 16 goals.

21 September 1912: A 3-1 victory at Sheffield United on this day, followed by draws with Newcastle and Oldham, suggested that Arsenal was steadying and could start moving up the league, but then suddenly McKinnon, Greenaway and Common all missed the home game with Chelsea on 12 October as Arsenal started its most disastrous run of all time: 23 games without a win.  A run, combined with some match fixing in the north west, that ultimately relegated the club for the one and only time.

21 September 1914: The Arsenal beat Tufnell Park 6-0 in the London FA Challenge Cup.  This was at the time the closest derby game of all time for Arsenal (being closer than Tottenham), but the record was broken in 1925 with the match against London Caledonians.

21 September 1915: Cecil Chubb acquired Stonehenge at an auction for £6000 – about half a million pounds in today’s money.  He had started out as the village saddler but went on to become a very successful lawyer, wherein he made his fortune.   At the end of the war he donated Stonehenge to the government on the condition that the public were given free access to the stones thereafter.  In return he was made a baronet.

21 September 1918: As there was growing talk of the four years of war coming to an end the football continued: on this day Arsenal played Fulham away, and continued their winning streak with a 2-1 victory in front of 6000.  That was three wins in a row.

21 September 1925: Herbert Chapman finally saw Arsenal win at home on the seventh league game of the season as Arsenal beat West Ham 3-2.  Buchan got two and Neil the third. See also here

21 September 1927: Last game for Samson Haden – a 0-4 defeat against Corinthians.  He joined Notts County for whom he played 289 league games, and then became player manager and later manager of Peterborough until retiring in 1946.  See also here.

21 September 1946: Arsenal lost 0-1 at home to Derby in front of 60,643.  For the first time in the first seven games of the season Reg Lewis didn’t score.  In the previous six games he had scored nine – the only other person to score being O’Flanagan who got one in the previous match.

21 September 1954:  First game for David Herd in a friendly.  He played his first league game in February and made three appearances this season. In the final game of 1950/51 he and his father both played in a league match for Stockport – only the second time this had happened.

21 September 1965: Arsenal beat Corinthian Casual 5-2 at Highbury to win the Sheriff of London Shield.  It was the largest football trophy ever competed for in England.

21 September 1970:  Emmanuel Petit born.  He was signed by Arsène Wenger for Monaco at the age of 18 and soon became a regular player in the midfield.  By 1996/7 he was captain of the side that won the French League.

21 September 1974: Arsenal 2 Luton Town 2.  21,629 hard core fans making it to the game.   The Daily Express headline was “Arsenal are confused” and Bobby Campbell said as much, suggesting that this Arsenal team defended when they should attack and attacked when they should defend.  But for those of us there even that seemed too organised a notion.

21 September 1990: Brian Marwood transferred to Sheffield Utd having played 52 league games and scored 16 goals.  He made one appearance for England in 1989.

21 September 1997: Nigel Winterburn scored from 30 yards against Chelsea to win the game 3-2 in the 7th league game of the 2nd Double Season.  Bergkamp got the other two goals to bring his total thus far to seven.  The second double: part 1, part 2, part 3.

21 September 2003:  After a 0-0 draw at Manchester United, Arsenal players were fined by the FA for their part in a “mass brawl” after the match.  The 6th league match of the unbeaten season.

21 September 2006: Ashley Cole published the autobiography which destroyed his reputation as man of integrity as he described himself as having been physically sick on hearing Arsenal’s new contract offer.

21 September 2010: Arsenal beat Tottenham 4-1 away in the League Cup in extra time.  Tottenham had three players booked in the first half, as Lansbury put Arsenal in the lead.  Nasri scored two penalties and Arshavin the final goal in extra time..

21 September 2012: Conor Henderson loaned to Coventry City.  He never played for Arsenal, and eventually moved to Hull, for whom he also never played, finally finding  a club that he could play for in 2014 with Crawley Town.

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