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The birth of the man who scored for both, and the passing of a fondly remembered player

The Anniversaries …

Below are the Arsenal (and for historical context, occasionally one or two non-Arsenal) anniversaries for today taken from the files of over 6000 Arsenal anniversaries which appear on the Arsenal History Society website.   You will also find links to the month by month listing of anniversaries in the right hand column of this page.

Our headline comes from 1944 and 1993.  The 1993 story is of interest as it prompted a number of interesting additional comments – just follow the link from the story.


The series “Henry Norris at the Arsenal” is now complete.  

The index to all the articles can be found at Henry Norris at the Arsenal.   We are now  preparing a more concise edition for publication as a book.


The Anniversaries for Today

17 December 1896: John Anderson signed from Crook Town.  He made his debut on 1 January 1897 and went on to play 144 league games for Arsenal over seven seasons before moving to Portsmouth in 1903.

17 December 1902: Arsenal 5 Brentford 0; FA Cup supplementary round.  Arsenal went out in the next round, but only had two more years of playing in the qualifying rounds before they gained automatic continuous entry to the 1st round proper.

17 December 1904: Arsenal scored five in the 1st division for first time in a game away to Notts C, with the local paper making a special positive mention of the vibrant Arsenal away support.

17 December 1910: Last game for Matthew Shortt.  It meant he had played four and all four had been Woolwich Arsenal defeats.  He had joined Arsenal from Dalbeattie Star in Scotland.  Later he moved to Scotland and played there as a centre half.

17 December 1910: News of the Houndsditch jewellers robbery which led to the in the Siege of Sidney Street emerged as Arsenal lost their fourth match in succession – 4-1 away to Preston, Alf Common scoring his first goal.  It meant Arsenal had won two and lost six of the last eight.

17 December 1918: The Southern League instructed its directors to meet with the Football League, to discuss amalgamation thus creating a Third Division

17 December 1918: At the same time as above the London Combination (which had run the war time leagues in London held a meeting with the now re-formed Players’ Union.  Sir Henry Norris attended, but the meeting broke up over a debate concerning the function of the Combination.

17 December 1921: Arsenal lost to Oldham 1-2, but Reg Boreham, the new man now playing his second game scored the Arsenal goal.  The result meant that in the five games since the 5-2 win over Birmingham, Arsenal had scored a single goal in four of the games, each from a different player.  

17 December 1938: Arsenal beat Stoke 4-1 – their second win in eight league games.  Lewis (2) Drury and Bastin got the goals. Unfortunately it was not a new beginning – Arsenal then only won one of their next five.  

17 December 1944: Jimmy Robertson (the first player to score for each side in north London derbies) was born.  Having failed to get into the Middlesbrough team he went to Cowdenbeath and then St Mirren before being purchased by Tottenham in 1964, for £25,000.

17 December 1955, Dennis Evans scored one of the most famous own goals in history when a whistle in the crowd resulted in Evans kicking the ball into his own goal to make the result  Arsenal 4 Blackpool 1. It was only Arsenal’s 7th win in 21 games.

17 December 1960: Arsenal 2 Burnley 5.  Strong and Herd got the goals. The result meant that in the last four games Arsenal had scored 13 and conceded 13.  It also meant Herd had scored seven in five league games.

17 December 1969: In the third round of the Fairs Cup Arsenal drew 0-0 draw in the first away to Rouen in front 12,093.

17 December 1977: Coventry City 1 Arsenal 2, in front of a modest gate of 20,993, Stapleton getting both goals.  With eight minutes to go a rare Coventry attack brought a penalty, and reduced the arrears but Arsenal were never in danger.

17 December 1983: Arsenal 3 Watford 1.  First match as manager for Don Howe. Raphael Meade got a hat trick – his first goals of the season.

17 December 1993: Death of Len Julians.  He played 18 times for Arsenal and scored 7 goals.  He later played for Nottingham Forest and Millwall and coached in Africa.  The article linked here is followed by a number of interesting additions from his family and those who saw him play.

17 December 2008: Following a dispute Lady Bracewell-Smith left the Arsenal board of directors without indicating what would happen to her shares.

17 December 2009: Brian McDermott became first team manager of Reading.  He stayed until 2013 and then managed Leeds for one season before returning to Arsenal as chief scout.

17 December 2012: Reading 2 Arsenal 5.  Santi Cazorla scored his first hat trick.

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