One of the interesting effects in gathering together all the Arsenal anniversaries for a single day is the contrasts it can offer up. In 1977 under Terry Neill’s management Arsenal had seven consecutive league defeats – the all time club record. But also during this run Arsenal lost (on this day in the FA Cup) 1-4 to Middlesbrough, thus making it eight consecutive defeats. In the league it was in fact 11 without a win despite the team containing Brady, Macdonald, O’Leary, Stapleton etc etc.
Then in contrast on this day in 2012 Arsenal beat Tottenham 5-2, in a game in which Tottenham went 2-0 up. Times change, not only across the decades, but also across the 90 minutes.
Here are today’s anniversaries…
26 February 1887: After a goal total of 39 goals in their first seven games since formation, Royal Arsenal had their first ever 0-0 draw, this against 2nd Rifle Brigade. They were clearly a strong team as a month later they beat Arsenal in the return leg.
26 February 1910: Arsenal v Sunderland. Arsenal were equal on points with the second relegation spot (although with a better goal average) and Sunderland were challenging to win the league. Arsenal lost 1-2 in front of 8000, part of a sequence of five without a win. See also here
26 February 1916: Arsenal drew 1-1 away to Clapton Orient. In the wartime leagues players could play for any club they wished and Andy Ducat of Aston Villa (previously Arsenal) regularly played for Arsenal – but this was his last appearance of the season. The game also saw an appearance from Caddick of Bristol Rovers.
26 February 1921: Alex Graham’s one and only international appearance (quoted elsewhere as 1920). He played 166 games for Arsenal but his career was interrupted by the war.
26 February 1927: Arsenal 6 Burnley 2. It was the last victory for a while as Arsenal then suffered six consecutive defeats in which the club let in 26 goals. Brain got four, Buchan and Hoar got the other goals. Thus even Chapman could have bad runs!
26 February 1949: Arsenal 5 Bolton 0, making 13 goals in three games, and 18 in the last five. Logie (2), Lewis, Valence, McPhearson scored. But a run of seven without a victory in March ended hopes of the title.
26 February 1966: With Billy Wright’s time at Arsenal coming to an end Joe Baker was sold to Nottingham Forest for £65,000. Having played 144 times for Arsenal and scored 93 (a fantastic return for a striker) he then played for Forest 188 times and scored 41 goals.
26 February 1972: Derby 2 Arsenal 2 FA Cup 5th round. Charlie George got both goals and after two replays Arsenal progressed and made it ultimately to the final.
26 February 1977: In the FA Cup Arsenal expected revenge in an away game with Middlesbrough for a 3-0 defeat on the 15th. But it ended Middlesbrough 4 Arsenal 1, 35,208 in the ground and Arsenal out of the Cup. “How bad can it get?” fans and journalists asked, and the answer was, “As bad as you can imagine.”
26 February 1979: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 1. FA Cup. Stapleton scored. It was Arsenal’s 7th FA Cup match of the season, but the club was still only at round 5.
26 February 1983: Pat Jennings became first player to play 1000 first class games in a 0-0 away draw with West Bromwich Albion.
26 February 1983: John Kay debut. He only played 13 league games for Arsenal but later had significant success with Sunderland. It finished WBA 0 Arsenal 0.
26 February 1984: Emmanuel Adebayor born. He spent his youth playing in Togo, before moving on to Metz where he played 44 times and scored 15 in the league. Arsenal purchased him in 2006 for £2m and he scored 46 goals in 104 games.
26 February 1986: Tony Woodcock’s 42nd and last England game. He scored 56 goals in 131 league games for Arsenal.
26 February 2004: Jermaine Brown released without playing for Arsenal and later played a few games for Margate and Chelmsford for whom he signed in 2011.
26 February 2012: Rosicky scored his first goal in two years to mark his comeback as Arsenal beat Tottenham 5-2. Tottenham went 2-0 up, with goals from Saha and Adebayor. Sagna and RVP brought it level at half time. Rosicky got his and Walcott got two. There were six bookings and a red card for Parker.
26 February 2013: Bob Wilson was quoted as calling Stewart Robson “bitter” over his ceaseless, remorseless criticism of Arsène Wenger.