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The origins of the phrase “One nil to the Arsenal” on this day

The movie, “The Arsenal Stadium Mystery” was released on this day in 1940, giving tens of thousands the chance to hear the phrase ‘1-0 to the Arsenal’ for the first time.

Here is the full list of anniversaries for this day.

17 February 1902: 1000 spectators saw Arsenal beat QPR in the London League Premier Division.  But even though crowds were always low for these games, any income was worth having.

17 February 1906: Jimmy Ashcroft became Arsenal’s first England international. He played over 270 league games for Arsenal and three games for England.

17 February 1906: Hugh McDonald’s first game.  He became so highly rated for Arsenal that he was picked to play in goal even when so badly injured that he could not even jump for the ball.

17 February 1917: It was a measure of how rapidly football fortunes changed in the wartime London Combination that on this day Arsenal won against Chelsea 3-0; a year before Chelsea had been all-conquering.  7,500 turned up, which given the bad weather and the number of men now serving in the army, was a very decent turnout.

17 February 1932: There are few occasions when one could call Grimsby the 1st Division’s “in form” team but they had just had two wins and a draw, and their last match before facing Arsenal was a 5-1 win against Liverpool.  But it is was Arsenal’s form that was maintained with a 4-0 victory which took the club up to third place.

17 February 1936: Joe Haverty born.  He played for Home Farm FC and St Patrick’s Athletic in Ireland (reaching the country’s Cup final), and then signed for Arsenal in 1954. At 5 feet 3 inches he was one of the smallest players ever for Arsenal and  “Use your height Joe” was shouted from the crowd in many matches he played.

17 February 1940: The movie of the “Arsenal Stadium Mystery” novel released.  The book remained the only Arsenal novel published until “Making the Arsenal” in 2010.  George Allison, the man who had been the lead radio commentator for BBC football matches, says, in the movie, “One nil to the Arsenal” – the first time the phrase is used.

17 February 1971: Man City 1 Arsenal 2 (FA Cup round 5).  Charlie George upon his return to the side from injury got both goals to take Arsenal forward in the first Double season.   See also here.

17 February 1999 : Arsenal conceded their first goal in two months (including six league games) in what was also Kanu’s first league match.  The final score was Man U 1 Arsenal 1.  Anelka scored Arsenal’s goal.

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