The thousands of players signed and who never play, and move on, forgotten

by Tony Attwood

In compiling these anniversary files I find time and again myself looking at the details of a player who has signed for Arsenal, sometimes with a little bit of a fanfare, but who never make it, moving on to play in non-league football if at all.   Why don’t they make it?  Maybe an injury, maybe it is attitude, maybe the manager who signed the player simply saw something that was not there.

And so they are nothing more than a note in our files – and yet think of it from the player’s point of view.  Of course the player might be arrogant, thinking he’s already made it by playing for the under 18s, refusing to train properly, maybe not living the right lifestyle in other ways.

But each one is something of a human tragedy whatever the reason.  The prospect of glory, fame and fortune that is dangled in front of the young man and then whisked away.

Today we find the story of Tarum Dawkins whose transfer made a column in the Daily Mail.  But now… the last record I have of him was playing for Hendon.  Why he didn’t make it, I don’t know.  But whatever the reason, I suspect it must have been tough.

Here are the anniversaries.

2 March 1888: Aston Villa wrote to five other clubs to propose the setting up of a Football League.  The proposal took off and Arsenal (being excluded from the exclusively midlands and northern group) later used the same approach to set up a Southern League.  When that failed, and after a split in the club’s committee, Arsenal joined the Football League in 1893.

2 March 1910.  Nottm Forest 1 Woolwich Arsenal 1.  The result was enough to take Arsenal out of the relegation places.

2 March 1916: The Military Service Act came into force.  Unmarried men aged 18–41 were conscripted and married men added to the list the following month.  Certain professions were excluded but all players were called up either to fight or work in wartime industries.  Henry Norris’ moved to work in the regional organisation of conscription for the War Office.

2 March 1923: Henry White transferred to Blackpool.  He had played 101 games for Arsenal and scored 40 goals.  At the end of his career he spent a while with the short-lived Thames Association.

2 March 1926: Tom Parker joined from Southampton (his local club whom he had joined when they were in the Southern League).  He had played 246 league games for Southampton and went on to play 258 league games for Arsenal.

2 March 1929: Last game for Sidney Hoar (an FA Cup defeat 0-1 away to Aston Villa in front of 73,700).   He had played exactly 100 League games for Arsenal and moved on to Orient for one season before retiring in the summer of 1930 at the age of 35.

2 March 1932: The last game for Leonard Thompson, a 0-1 away defeat to Bolton.  With Alex James now dominating he had had fewer and fewer opportunities.  Thompson was the player that Joy described as Arsenal’s penalty king, although he only ever took two penalties!

2 March 1935: Sheffield W 2 Arsenal 1.  FA Cup round 6.  Arsenal had beaten Brighton, Leicester and Reading in earlier rounds but it was all to no avail. Hiowever as the club recovered from the death of Chapman, so the league form now started to improve.

2 March 1955: Gavin Crawford – Arsenal’s first ever professional – died.  He joined Woolwich Arsenal in 1891 just as the club turned professional, and played 138 league games for the club.

2 March 1957  Stan Charlton scored an equalising goal from 40 yards out in a 6th round FA Cup tie against WBA at the Hawthorns. It was his third and final goal for Arsenal and strangely, they all came in the FA Cup competition.

2 March 1963: West Ham 0 Arsenal 4.  The match proved to be the start of manager Billy Wright’s longest unbeaten run – six games – although three of these were draws.  However Arsenal still managed 14 goals during the run.   The game was also the League debut for Terry Anderson.    It was the first win over WHU in 10 league games.

2 March 1968: Leeds 1 Arsenal 0.  This was the League Cup Final which ended with a brawl after Charlton assaulted Furnell. See also:  The move away from The Darkness.

2 March 1971: League match 30 of the first Double season – Wolverhampton 0 Arsenal 3.  After three defeats in the previous five, Arsenal started a run of nine consecutive wins, and five without conceding a goal.  Arsmstrong, Kennedy and Radford scored.

2 March 1974: Arsenal 1 Southampton 0.  The fact that this was the first win in five, and that the crowd was just 19,210 reflected the decline of Arsenal’s fortune since the start of the decade.  Ball scored.

2 March 1977: Peter Storey was transferred to Fulham.  Speaking later of the Double season he said, “We never knew when we were beaten; our powers of recovery during 90 minutes, and sometimes beyond, were immense.”

2 March 1977:Willie Young joined from Tottenham.   He had played 54 times for Tottenham, and went on to play 170 league games for Arsenal although upon joining he was already serving a lifetime ban from playing for Scotland.

2 March 1994: Torino 0 Arsenal 0, Cup Winners Cup quarter final

2 March 1995: Arsenal 1 Auxerre 1, Cup Winners Cup quarter final first leg.  Ian Wright’s goal on 60 minutes was cancelled by a reply from Auxerre three minutes later to make the second leg look tricky.

2 March 1998: WHU 0 Arsenal 0.  27th league game of the 2nd Double season.  The game was part of a run of six in which Arsenal won each game 1-0, except for this goalless draw.    The second double: part 1, part 2, part 3.

2 March 2000:  Arsenal beat Deportivo 5-1 in the Uefa cup en route to the final

2 March 2001: James Harper transferred to Reading for no fee.  Having never played for Arsenal, he then played 316 league games for Reading.

2 March 2002: Newcastle 0 Arsenal 2.  League match 28 of the 3rd Double season.  Bergkamp received a low pass from Pirès and under pressure from Nikos Dabizas, he controlled the ball with one flick and went around the defender the other way and put the ball l into the net.  It is regularly voted as one of the two greatest Arsenal goals of all time.

2 March 2003: Arsenal beat Charlton 2-0 to open and eight point lead at the top.  The result was enough for Paddy Power to pay out on those who had bet on Arsenal to win the league despite Manchester United having a game in hand.  Jeffers and Pires scored.

2 March 2011: Arsenal 5 Leyton Orient 0.  FA Cup 5th round replay.  Chamakh opened the scoring, Bendtner got a hattrick, and Clichy the fifth.  59,361 tickets were sold.

2 March 2012: Tarum Dawkins signed from Luton for what was reported to be a “significant fee”.  He was released by Arsenal in May 2014 and moved on to Arlesey Town FC.

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