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Today is the anniversary of the first ever game for Royal Arsenal FC

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.

Today’s headline comes from 1887.  Royal Arsenal FC lasted until 1893 when the club turned professional and were no longer allowed to use the word “Royal” in their name.


The big 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

8 January 1887: Royal Arsenal (as opposed to Dial Square FC) played their first game – against Erith on Plumstead Common.  Arsenal won 6-1, part of an opening sequence of three matches in which the club scored 23 goals. See also here.

8 January 1910:  Sheffield United 2  Woolwich Arsenal 0. Arsenal’s disastrous run continued amidst financial rumours, which took the club to the edge of bankruptcy.  Rescue however was on hand in the shape of Henry Norris, later in the year.

8 January 1916: Arsenal 4 Croydon Common 2.  The game showed that the Common continued to play during the war.  But it was the only Southern League club not to continue after this season, and thereafter several Common players turned out for Arsenal, eventually transferring to Arsenal in 1919.  .

8 January 1921: George Grant, the alleged  “Chinese international” having played In 57 times and scored four goals.for Woolwich Arsenal, The Arsenal and Arsenal, now played against Arsenal in the FA Cup.   It ended QPR 2 Arsenal 0.

8 January 1927: Sheffield U 2 Arsenal 3 as Arsenal started the journey to their first FA Cup final.  Prior to the arrival of Herbert Chapman, Arsenal had reached the cup semi-final twice – in 1906 and 1907, but had lost both times.

8 January 1930: Bert Humpish joined Arsenal from Wigan aged 28 – perhaps the oldest non-league player to come to Arsenal in the modern era.  

8 January 1949: Arsenal 3 Tottenham 0 in FA Cup round 3.  It was the first FA Cup match between the two. McPherson, Roper and Lishman scored.  It was the first time in four seasons Arsenal had made it past the third round.

8 January 1957: Don Roper returned to Southampton after 10 glorious years at Arsenal, but his return ended in a dispute that soured relations with the club for the rest of his life.

8 January 1962: David Court signed as a professional.  He returned to Arsenal as head of youth development and became the last member of the Swindin era at the club.  

8 January 1972: Stoke City 0 Arsenal 0, in front of a typical Stoke crowd of just 18,965. Alan Ball failed again to find his way into the game and the travelling fans began to show a little impatience with their new star.   He did not help his cause when, having one of the best chances of the game, receiving Armstrong’s centre on the far post he then missed the goal utterly.

8 January 1980: Arsenal 2 Cardiff 1, FA Cup 3rd round replay, part of another adventure that ended at Wembley.  Sunderland got both goals after a 0-0 draw, meaning that Arsenal had now gone 13 FA Cup games without defeat.

8 January 1999: Jermaine Pennant joined Arsenal from Notts C for £2m.  Although highly talented, he was beset with personal problems, and only played 11 times for Arsenal, but did get a hat trick in the first game of the 49 unbeaten run.

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