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Rumour of two Arsenal players killed in rail crash dismissed as untrue

After their match at Newcastle on 24 February 1934 at Newcastle rumours started to spread that the Arsenal train returning to London had crashed killing two players.  This story was completely untrue although a “special” carrying Arsenal supporters had had a very minor accident.  

The reporting of the incident shows the complete lack of checking of facts by newspapers existed over 80 years ago, just as it does today, and nothing reported can be taken as fact until checked against other sources.  Which is what we try to do throughout the anniversary files!

24 February 1892: Royal Arsenal attempted to form the Southern League.  Arsenal eventually gave up on the scheme after some clubs were persuaded to pull out after having voted to join, and instead Royal Arsenal joined the Football League 18 months later as Woolwich Arsenal.

24 February 1894: Middlesbrough Ironopolis 3 Arsenal 6.  After taking 18 games to win 6, Arsenal completed a run of four wins in a row, en route to six wins and a draw in seven.  It was the club’s first nine goal game, and the first time Arsenal scored 6 in a league match.

24 February 1902: Millwall 2 Arsenal 1, London League Premier Division.  The rivalry between the two clubs continued; however only 3000 turned up as the game was played on a Monday afternoon.

24 February 1906.  Arsenal’s first ever match in the 3rd round of the FA Cup resulted in a 5-0 victory against Sunderland in front of 30,000.  See also here

24 February 1913:  A director from each of Tottenham and Clapton Orient went uninvited to the scheduled meeting of the Football League management committee to ask them to prevent any move by Woolwich Arsenal to north London from going ahead.

24 February 1917:  A 2-0 away win over Southampton with 3,000 present meant that out of the last 12 games Arsenal had won eight, drawn three and lost one.  It was a tremendous improvement on the first part of the wartime season.

24 February 1926. Arsenal 2 Aston Villa 0 in front of 71446 in the FA Cup 5th round replay.  It was the biggest crowd thus far at Highbury despite just two wins in the last six league games.  Jimmy Patterson whom manager Knighton denounced as merely the brother in law of the physio played his second game after his comeback.

24 February 1934: Arsenal played Newcastle away just weeks after the death of Herbert Chapman. Arsenal won 1-0 but rumours spread that the Arsenal train returning to London had crashed killing two players.  In fact a supporters special had had a minor accident.  The incident shows how the sense of death pervaded Arsenal in the weeks after Chapman’s passing  

24 February 1951: Jack Kelsey debut against Chelsea, and he let in five.  But he returned and eventually became one of the all-time favourites at the club.

24 February 1959: Last game for Peter Goring.  First league games for Peter Goy and the first and last game for Roy Goulden in a 1-0 victory to keep Arsenal top of the teague.  Herd got the goal.

24 February 1962: George Armstrong played his first Arsenal game, v Blackpool.  He went on to play exactly 500 league games for Arsenal before moving to Leicester.

24 February 1964: William Garbutt – the man who took football to Italy, died.  He played for Woolwich Arsenal before managing Genoa, Roma, Napoli and Milan and is still celebrated as the founder of Italian football.

24 February 1968 Jim Furnell’s last game, against Manchester Utd.  Arsenal lost 0-2, one of nine consecutive games without a victory during which Arsenal scored just five goals.   After playing he went into coaching at Plymouth and later Blackburn.

24 February 1973: Arsenal 2 Carlisle 1. Ball and McLintock scored. FA Cup 5th round.  After beating Chelsea Arsenal eventually lost in the semi-final to Sunderland.

24 February 1975: Leicester 0 Arsenal 1 (Radford).  FA Cup 5th, 2nd replay.  Arsenal had thus taken seven games to get through three rounds.

24 February 1976   The crowd of 36,127 was a considerable improvement on recent attendances and the result of Arsenal 1 Liverpool 0 was unexpected, not least because for the first time in this season Arsenal had managed consecutive victories.

24 February 1979: Arsenal 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1.   Attendance: 32,215. Arsenal were second and Wolverhampton were 15th having won one, drawn one and lost ten of their away games in the season.  

24 February 1988: Arsenal 3 Everton 1.  Thomas, Rocastle and Smith scored to secure a place in the league cup final, which Arsenal then unfortunately lost to Luton.

24 February 2009.  Arsenal 1 Roma 0 did not look to be enough in the Champions League to allow Arsenal through to the next round.  Van Persie got the goal, but after an identical result in Rome, Arsenal went through on penalties.

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