Looking back at the Arsenal anniversaries for 16 February we are inevitably drawn to the case of Eduardo – who returned to action on this day just a few days under one year after being crippled by a tackle so terrible that really the player who undertook it, should never have played again.
On 23 February 2008, Eduardo suffered a broken left fibula and an open dislocation of his left ankle caused by a tackle by Martin Taylor. Even Sky Sports, usually no friend of Arsenal were so horrified that they would not show the incident again – although possibly in part to protect Taylor and Birmingham. Mr Wenger suggested that Taylor should be banned for life, and I think many of us who saw the event agreed.
Taylor then claimed that he visited Eduardo in hospital, and that Eduardo accepted his apology, but Eduardo said he had no recollection of such a visit or such an apology. Eduardo did not play again until 16 February 2009.
Here are the anniversaries…
16 February 1886: Andy Ducat born. It was his transfer from Arsenal after 175 league games that signalled that the club would sell any player in order to try and survive financially.
16 February 1889: Woolwich Arsenal beat dreaded local rivals Millwall Rovers for the third time in six games, but the score is lost to history – a reminder that it was only through joining the League that the club ensured all details of its history were kept.
16 February 1907: Tim Coleman’s sole appearance for England. He was one of a number of players who came to Arsenal via Kettering Town – although he first moved to Northampton Town.
16 February 1918: Arsenal’s time in the war time league was very much an up and down affair – largely dependent on who was available. On this day it was a 3-0 away win over QPR, meaning that Arsenal had just won two away games scoring seven conceding one while in between losing at Highbury 0-3.
16 February 1935: Despite being top of the league, the defeat to Birmingham in the previous match convinced the press that Arsenal would slip up against Reading of the 3rd Division in the FA Cup 5th round – even though Reading had not played any 1st division teams so far. The press were wrong, Arsenal won 1-0 with a goal from Bastin.
16 February 1938: Arsenal 2 Manchester City 1 in which Eddie Carr replaced Leslie Jones at inside left. Carr wasn’t thought worthy of holding his place but when he did get a chance he scored seven times in the eleven games including five in the last three games, when the championship was up for grabs between three clubs.
16 February 1955: Arthur Milton sold to Bristol City. A most relaxed, down to earth man he was the last of the twelve men ever to play international football and test cricket for England. He married the daughter of his landlady while at Arsenal.
16 February 1957: Bournemouth of Division 3 (south) managed by ex-Arsenal man Freddie Cox, beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-1. Aside from the League Cup and a friendly, Bournemouth had to wait until 2015 to play Arsenal.
16 February 1974: With both clubs in decline only 38,804 turned up for the north London derby, which ended Arsenal 0 Tottenham 1. Arsenal’s team was Wilson, Rice, Nelson, Storey, Simpson, Kelly, Armstrong, Ball, Radford, Kennedy, Brady
16 February 1980: Bolton Wanderers 1 Arsenal 1 in the FA Cup, with 23,530 in the crowd and a pitch (and very quickly the players) totally covered in mud. The only tactic was to boot the ball as hard as possible up the pitch.
16 February 1991: Tony Adams played his first game for Arsenal upon release from prison – a reserve game in front of 7000 having been immediately rehabilitated into the club.
16 February 2002: Arsenal 5 Gillingham 2. FA Cup 4th round. (Kanu, Adams, Parlour and two for Wiltord). Part of the 3rd Double season.
16 February 2008: Man U 4 Arsenal 0 (FA Cup 5th round). The match was followed by a run of five league games without a win.
16 February 2009: Eduardo played his first game after injury, in a game against Cardiff, and scored twice. Bendtner and Van Persie got the other two as Arsenal won 4-0; all the more remarkable as it came in the midst of a run of four 0-0 draws in the league.
16 February 2011: Arsenal 2 Barcelona 1 – a match which raised the hopes of a return to form for Arshavin, who scored. Van Persie got the other.
16 February 2013: Arsenal 0 Blackburn 1. FA Cup Round 5. Blackburn had one shot; the referee was Mike Dean and his performance was considered somewhat “unbalanced” by some commentators.
16 February 2014: Arsenal 2 Liverpool 1. FA Cup Round 5. Arsenal continued on their way to Cup victory and the end of the dearth of trophies since moving to the Emirates Stadium.
Full details of other articles from the Arsenal History Society can be found at https://blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk