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From 10 league games without a win, to the Double. How quickly things change

In February 1970 there was considerable disgruntlement in the air at Arsenal as the club did indeed make it 10 in a row without a win.   Just one year on and the first notions that Arsenal might not only win the league but also do the double were perhaps only whispered by those drunk on the speed of the turn around – but whisper they were, and of course it really did happen.

And yet by this day in 1976 we were facing the possibility of relegation – and not for the first time in the 1970s.

Club success does change – but it goes both up and down, and nothing is ever certain.  If these anniversary files teach us anything they certainly teach us that.


 

21 February 1891: Arsenal 3 Casuals 2 in the London Senior Cup.  Royal Arsenal’s last trophy

21 February 1899: Arthur Kennedy became Woolwich Arsenal secretary manager.  He also served as club finance secretary, vice-chairman and was also the first man to write a formal history of the club.

21 February 1914, WA Spittle’s last game (away to Lincoln).  We lost 2-5 and Spittle was thus never on the winning side for Arsenal.

21 February 1933: Daily Mirror reported the “sensation” of Arsenal’s new strip.  Although the club had changed its strip regularly in the early days this suddenly became a big news story because of Arsenal’s success in the last three years.

21 February 1934: With Arsenal and Derby fighting it out at the top of the league, Arsenal went top with a 2-1 win over Blackburn.  Blackburn had won four in a row in January, beating both Tottenham and Derby in the run.  After losing to Sheffield Wednesday they beat Manchester City, making it five league wins in six games.

21 February 1939: Arsenal lost 2-1 away to Grimsby.  Gordon Bremner played for Arsenal and it was the first game in eight where he played and Arsenal lost.  Of the previous seven, six had been wins and one a goalless draw.

21 February 1962: Rhys Wilmot born.  He only played eight times for Arsenal but went on to success with Plymouth and later became their goalkeeping coach.

21 February 1964: Defender Laurie Brown was sold to Tottenham – he played against Arsenal the following day – but amazingly was put into the team as Tottenham’s centre forward.

21 February 1970: Derby 3 Arsenal 2.  10 league games without a win.  This moment – and the subsequent triumphs of 1970/1 – showed perhaps more than any other how fast things have always been able to change in football.

21 February 1976: With Arsenal in 18th and Birmingham in 19th position the match between the two was considered a crunch relegation battle.  Fortunately it ended Arsenal 1 Birmingham City 0 with 20,907 in the crowd.

21 February 1990: Last game for Niall Quinn (a friendly at Southend).  He played just 67 league games for Arsenal but played 204 for his next club, Manchester City

21 February 1995: George Graham was relieved of his duties having been found guilty of accepting an illegal payment in relation to transfer activities.  He left the club in 11th position, 23 points behind the league leaders of the day and already out of the FA Cup.

21 February 1995: Stewart Houston became caretaker manager for the first time.  He remains the only man in Arsenal’s history to manage the club on two separate occasions. He later worked with George Graham at Tottenham, was first team coach with Walsall, and later a scout for Arsenal.

21 February 1995: Debut for Glenn Helder.  With Graham banished Arsenal finally won for first time in eight.  Helder went on to play 39 times for Arsenal and scored one goal.

21 February 1996: Aston V 0 Arsenal 0; league cup semi-final 2nd leg after 2-2 at Highbury.   Arsenal thus exited the cup.

21 February 1998: Arsenal 1 Crystal Palace 0, making it seven consecutive games undefeated.  Arsenal were then nine points behind Man U with two games in hand after the 26th league game of the 2nd Double season.   The second double: part 1, part 2, part 3.

21 February 2004: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 2.  The 24th league game of the unbeaten season.  Vieira and Edu scored in reply to Guðjohnsen’s first minute opening. Guðjohnsen was subsequently sent off.

21 February 2006: Despite gloom among supporters after a poor run of league form  Arsenal beat Real Madrid 0-1 away in the Champions League – the first English club to win there.  Henry scored – although in the next league match the poor form continued.

21 February 2009: Arshavin’s debut coming on as a substitute to replace Carlos Vela on the hour.  The result was Arsenal 0 Sunderland 0, one of five consecutive draws for Arsenal in the league.

21 February 2015: Crystal Palace 1 Arsenal 2.  Having been 8th in the league after 12 games, Arsenal climbed to 3rd after 26 games.  Cazorla and Giroud got the goals.  It was the second of eight consecutive league wins for Arsenal.

 

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