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When Stoke were top and Arsenal were heading for relegation. But when?

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 1974.


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

21 December 1889: Arsenal beat Cray Wanderers 2-0 on their way to the club’s first ever trophy, the Kent Junior cup.

21 December 1903: Arsenal beat Bristol Rovers in cup 2nd replay at Tottenham in the Final Supplementary Round – effectively the fifth round of the cup before the first division teams joined the competition in January.

21 December 1907: Death of Bob Buchanan  aged just 40 at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.  He had played for two seasons for Woolwich Arsenal, and twice been a Southern League title winner with Southampton St Mary’s.

21 December 1910: The nation learned of the Pretoria Pit disaster in which an underground explosion in Lancashire killed 344, making it the second worst mining accident in England of all time.

21 December 1929: Alf Haynes’ first league match – a 1-0 away defeat to Liverpool.  He went on to play 13 games that season – but it turned out to be his most prolific period with Arsenal.

21 December 1956: Jack Crayston became full time manager after 2 months as caretaker.  He had just managed five games undefeated, and went on to a further five without loss, winning his first match as permanent manager the following day 4-0 against Birmingham.

21 December 1963: Death of Andrew Kennedy.  He was sold to Everton in January 1928 but despite over 100 games for Arsenal, Everton played him only once, and he moved to Tranmere, where he stayed for two seasons, retiring in 1930.  

21 December 1974:  It may be hard to believe now but Stoke City 0 Arsenal 2 was a total shock, since Stoke were top of the league and Arsenal facing relegation.   The gossip was that having spent £200,000 on Cropley, Arsenal were going to get their money back by selling George, Blockley and Ball. For this game Radford and Kidd played on the wings!

21 December 1985.  Gus Caesar played his first League match, a 1-0 away win of Man U.   He joined Arsenal in August 1982 becoming a pro in February 1984 playing in the heart of the defence or full back.

21 December 1991: Arsenal 4 Everton 2.  All four goals by Ian Wright who also scored two hat tricks in the season as he went on to score 24 goals in 30 league games.

21 December 1996: Andy Linighan’s final game away to Nottingham Forest.  He had played 118 league games and scored 5 goals.

21 December 2002: The Arsenal programme had Robert Pires on front cover in Emperor mode and he duly scored the second as Arsenal beat Middlesbrough 2-0 to stay top of the league, two ahead of Chelsea, four ahead of Man U and seven ahead of Newcastle in fourth.

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