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September 2019
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When North and South London clubs moved in opposite directions

Arsenal moved from the south bank of the Thames to north London in 1913; something that caused some protests from Tottenham Hotspur and Clapton Orient who feared their crowd numbers would suffer.   In fact the increased local rivalry meant that crowd numbers for all three clubs increased.

What is often ignored in this discussion is that Arsenal were by no means the first team to cross the river as Millwall did this in 1910, moving from the Isle of Dogs on the north side (it is not really an island, but part of north London) to The Den in Bermondsey.   As ever an action by Arsenal gained the negative publicity, the same action by another club was met with very positively.

Here are the anniversaries for 18 February.

18 February 1888: Arsenal v Erith – continuing the development of Royal Arsenal through the club’s first full season.  This is the first recorded appearance of Jack Humble in the team, although for a number of games in this era there are incomplete details.

18 February 1893: Arsenal 5 Millwall Athletic 0.  This friendly continued the local rivalry between the sides south and north of the river as Arsenal prepared to enter the League.  6000 turned up.  See also here

18 February 1901: Leonard Thompson was born in Sheffield.  He played 26 games for Arsenal and provides one of many examples of how utterly unreliable Bernard Joy’s book on Arsenal is as a source. Joy called him the “penalty king” but in fact he only ever took two penalties!

18 February 1911: Blackburn 1 Arsenal 0.  The result meant that Harry Logan had played seven games for Arsenal in the league, and the club had not won any of them.

18 February 1922: Arsenal beat Leicester City of Division II at Highbury in the 3rd round of the FA Cup (equivalent to round five today) 3-0 in front of 39,241.  Arsenal were through to the 4th round for the first time since 1907 (when they went on to the semi-final).

18 February 1939: Gordon Bremner was one of the many extraordinary footballers who could never develop his talent because of the war.  Arsenal 1 Chelsea 0 was his 7th league game in succession in which Arsenal won six drew 1 and did not concede a single goal.  

18 February 1953: Arsenal 6 Derby 2, giving 24 Arsenal goals in six games.  Despite losing two of the next three, Arsenal continued to progress to the title.  Daniel (2), Holton (2), Lishman (2).

18 February 1956:  Dennis Evans went in goal when Jack Kelsey was injured in a 5th round FA Cup replay against Sheffield United.  Arsenal lost 0-3.

18 February 1958: Last game for Derek Tapscott.  He played 132 league games for Arsenal, before moving on to his home club Cardiff City.  After retirement from football he worked in the sporting goods trade for Gola and wrote his autobiography, Tappy.

18 February 1958: Johnny Petts first game, a 2-1 home defeat to Bolton aged 19. It was a time when Arsenal had lost five games in six – but this was the end of the sequence, and Johnny kept his place for five games,

18 February 1961: League debut for David Bacuzzi, taking over at full back from Len Wills who was injured.  He ultimately played 46 league games for Arsenal. Arsenal beat WBA away 3-2, the first win in four, Haverty (2) and Skirton getting the goals.

18 February 1965: Terry Anderson transferred to Norwich after just 25 games.  He went on to play 236 games for Norwich where he stayed until 1974.   In 1980 Terry was seemingly on a training run in Great Yarmouth, and never returned.  His body was found a week later – tragically he had drowned.

18 February 1969: Arsenal 0 Ipswich 2 made it two defeats, one draw, one win in the last four games, as Arsenal slipped to fourth in the league after the long winning run earlier in the year.

18 February 1976: Derby County 2 Arsenal 0, with 24,875 in attendance.  The result meant that Arsenal were now 18th and looking increasingly like relegation contenders.

18 February 1978: Arsenal 4 Walsall 1 en route to Neill’s first cup final.  Stapleton. Macdonald and Sunderland scored. 43,789 turned up for the first meeting of the two clubs since Walsall beat Arsenal in 1933, and the result meant Walsall had won seven games against Arsenal, while Arsenal had only beaten Walsall five times.  See also here

18 February 1984: Debut for Paul Mariner.  He played 60 times for Arsenal and 35 times for England.  It ended Arsenal 1 Aston Villa 1 (Rix scoring). It was Arsenal’s sixth consecutive game without a win.

18 February 1986: John Devine broke his leg – an incident that ended his top flight career.   He later moved to Norway as a player before returning to England and moving into coaching.

18 February 1987: Tony Adams’ international debut.  He played 66 times for England, as well as 15 England “B” games, and five games for England under 21s.

18 February 1989: Millwall 1 Arsenal 2 concluded a 10 match unbeaten run including eight victories.  Since their early rivalries both clubs had moved across the river – Millwall south to the Den, Arsenal north to Highbury.

18 February 1998: Chelsea 3 Arsenal 1 (League cup semi final 2nd leg).  Chelsea went through to the final, but Arsenal went on to their second League and FA Cup double. (For a short guide to season see here)

18 February 2001: Arsenal 3 Chelsea 1.  FA Cup 5th round, on the way to the final. Henry and Wiltord scored to take Arsenal on to a game against Blackburn.

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