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Arsenal players must not criticise refs: but everyone else can

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 1975.


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.

Arsenal in the 1930s: the complete history.  The most detailed review and analysis of Arsenal in the 1930s ever published.  The full index is here.

Arsenal in the 1970s: the complete history.  Every game reviewed and analysed.  The full index is here.


The Anniversaries for Today

20 December 1890: Arsenal’s game against Old Westminsters in London Senior Cup abandoned.  Generally it was the fog that caused games at this time to be stopped rather than any concerns about the state of the pitch.

20 December 1902: Arsenal lost 1-4 to Manchester City; the crowd of 25,000 smashed the ground record set on October 11.  The defeat left Arsenal in third place with Man City five points ahead at the top of the table.

20 December 1902: William Linward joined Arsenal from WHU.  An outside left he made his début on Boxing Day and then on the following day he played again against Burnley – a match which marked a major upturn in Arsenal’s fortunes.

20 December 1913: Arsenal began the traditional mad dash through Christmas, with four matches in eight days.  All four games were won: on this day it was Arsenal 2 Glossop North End 0 with 14,500 at Highbury.

20 December 1916: As a reminder of the many generally unreported consequences of the war, Fulham council under Henry Norris was at loggerheads on this day over the collapse of the refuse collection and disposal service in the Borough with many refuse collectors now in the army.  

20 December 1919: Arsenal beat bottom of the league Sheffield Wednesday 3-1  The reports mention the a large number of offside decisions, (a regular comment in newspaper columns) and ultimately the tactic led to the change in the offside rule in 1925.  It was also announced that George Peachey was to be made a director of the club to handle the club’s finances.

20 December 1924: Leeds were beaten 6-1.  The result left Arsenal 10th, but a terrible second half to the season saw them end up 20th, escaping relegation by one place.

20 December 1924: WHU 4 Sunderland 1.  In his autobiography Arsenal manager Knighton painted WHU as the strongest of clubs at this time.  But this win, simultaneous to Arsenal’s win (above) was one of only four wins in 12. However he used WHU’s alleged strength as a way to justify giving the Arsenal team drugs the following month.

20 December 1930: 32,212 saw Arsenal lose to 17th placed Newcastle after Newcastle had lost 8 out of 10 games of late.  The result knocked Arsenal off the top of the league and into second place – but only on a goal average of 0.01 of a goal.

20 December 1969: Start of a run of 10 league games without a win.  Indeed we only won two of our first eight games, starting the season ignominiously with a 0-1 home defeat to Everton.  Top scorer that season was Radford with 12.

20 December 1970.  Birth of Patrick Kwame Ampadu.  He made his debut as a sub in March 1990, but after just two appearances moved to West Brom in 1991.

20 December 1975: 16,459 saw Arsenal beat Burnley 1-0 at Highbury.  Burnley accused the ref of making “disgraceful decisions” and Keith Newton was quoted as saying, “The ref was a blatant homer…People like them should go around in peaked caps – they are more suited as traffic wardens.  We are supposed to have the best refs in the world – I have seen better refereeing in the central league.” The League did nothing about the accusations of bias and incompetence.

20 December 1998: Arsenal 3 Leeds 1 (Vieira, Bergkamp, Petit).  From this game to the end of the season Arsenal lost only one game, going the next 19 unbeaten in the league losing finally to Leeds on 11 May.

20 December 2003: Bolton 1 Arsenal 1.  The 17th league match of the Unbeaten season.  After the game Mr Wenger said, “Provided Bolton keep playing like that, we will look back at this result and feel very happy. They are as good as a team as we have played.”

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