When “Boring Boring Arsenal” was written with no sense of irony

1979 was indeed a time of boring boring Arsenal, with defeat to Southampton on this day that year being just one of a run of three wins in 16 league games.  Yet despite this the club ended up 7th, thanks to an excellent run from September 16 to December 23 1978, ending with the 5-0 thrashing of Tottenham away, including a brilliant and oft-shown goal by Brady.  But these alternating runs were a major part of Neill’s problem – when we were in the depths of defeats he seemed not to have any way out.  And indeed this run in 1979 was typical of the Neill era.

Here are the anniversaries for today…

3 March 1900.  Loughborough T 2 Arsenal 3.  The start of the three match winning run which ended with Arsenal’s record Football League score.

3 March 1902: Albert Humpish, one of Chapman’s mystery signings, born.  He made his debut in the 1929/30 season.

3 March 1906 and 1956: Two games against Birmingham.   In the 1906 version, Woolwich Arsenal beat Birmingham 5-0 to equal the club’s top score thus far   On 3 March 1956 it was Arsenal 1 Birmingham City 3.  Stan Charlton scored a consolation goal in a 6th round FA Cup tie at Highbury.

3 March 1917: on this date there was a contradiction in the football records.  At Highbury was it Arsenal v Clapton or Tottenham v Portsmouth.  I think the former, with the latter played at Clapton’s ground – WHL having been seized by the military.  But they may have been played one game after the other.

3 March 1938: Gordon Bremner, a tremendous talent whose career was lost to the war, played his first Arsenal game.

3 March 1939: Wilf Copping returned to Leeds after 166 games for Arsenal.  He was the ultimate exponent of the “vigorous” shoulder charge and the (now illegal) two footed tackle.

3 March 1956 and 1906.  (see above).

3 March 1961: Ben Marden played his first match for Arsenal – a 1-3 away defeat to Manchester United.  He only played 42 games in all, but two of these were definitive moments for the club, one winning the league and the other the biggest win ever at Anfield.

3 March 1973: Arsenal 3 Sheffield U 2 as part of a run of just one defeat in 13 in the period when it seemed the Double team might yet still go on to greater glories.

3 March 1979: Southampton 2 Arsenal 0, part of a run of just one win in eight showing how far the club had declined since the 1971 Double.

3 March 1993: Norwich 1 Arsenal 1.  This was the 12th consecutive match in which neither Arsenal nor their opponents scored more than one goal.  It was also the end of a run in which Arsenal only won two league games in 15.

3 March 2007: The largest crowd thus far at the Emirates 60,132, saw Arsenal beat Reading 2-1.  The record was beaten again on 3 November 2007 with 60,338 in attendance.

3 March 2009: WBA 1 Arsenal 3.  After five draws (four of them 0-0) Arsenal started a run of seven wins and one draw in the next eight.


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