By Tony Attwood
I am not sure anyone particularly noticed at the time but 4 March was both the day that Henry Norris confirmed Arsenal were moving to Gillespie Road from Plumstead, and the day one year later that London County Council gave permission for the ground to be built. That doesn’t sound too odd, except that by the time permission was given Arsenal had been using the ground for seven months.
But it seems, such arrangements were not unusual at the time, and reading the reports it looks to me as if “change of use” regulations as we know them today did not exist at the time. Certainly there was no attempt to zone different types of properties in London, and armaments factories carrying vast amounts of explosives, could often be found in the midst of residential areas.
And yet Arsenal had to get permission from the League to add white sleeves to their shirts – and the League seems to have been rather slow in granting this – something we note here as this is also the day that Arsenal wore the white sleeved shirts for the first time, and as so often with such occasions, they lost – which was odd given that they scored eight in the previous match.
Here are the annivesaries.
4 March 1902: Tim Coleman joined from Grimsby for £7500. He had played 196 league and cup games and scored 79 goals. Chapman had been chasing Jimmy Dunne but followed Coleman instead, after a chance meeting with his manager.
4 March 1905: The start of a run of seven without a win. Sunderland 1 Arsenal 1. Arsenal did however rally in April to finish 12th.
4 March 1910: George Grant joined from Invicta FC as an amateur. He had the remarkable record of playing for Woolwich Arsenal, The Arsenal, Arsenal, (all by playing just 54 league games) and later against Arsenal.
4 March 1914: London County Council granted planning permission for the Gillespie Road stadium, seven months after it opened and one year to the day after Norris announced that Gillespie Road was the site of the new ground.
4 March 1922: Arsenal 1 Preston 1. FA Cup round 4 (equivalent of round 6 today). It was Knighton’s most successful cup run and the best since the 1907 semi-final.
4 March 1925: Arsenal bought Notts County’s Don Cock, the man who had scored against them and then been sent off in the Notts County v Arsenal game earlier in the season. He had previously played for Brentford and Fulham. However Knighton only used the player twice this season, (although to be fair he was injured in his second match) and Chapman gave him but one game in 1925/6 before moving him on to Clapton Orient in October 1925.
4 March 1932: With Lambert and Parkin both injured Chapman acted and on this day Ernie Coleman was signed from Grimsby following a chance meeting with the Grimsby chair. The following day he played his first Arsenal game.
4 March 1933: Arsenal played their first game with the white sleeved shirts based on an idea by Tom Webster, but lost to Liverpool 0-1. 42,868 were present, bemused perhaps by the fact that in the previous match Arsenal had beaten Blackburn 8-0.
4 March 1936 Arsenal beat Derby County away 4-0 which given Derby’s position in the league was a fair vindication of the team selection by George Allison, especially as new men Dougall, Kirchen and Cox all scored.
4 March 1950: Arsenal 1 Leeds 0. FA Cup round 6, on the way to winning the trophy for only the third time. Lewis scored with 62,573 in the crowd. This was the first season in which Arsenal played every FA Cup match in London.
4 March 1961: Aston Villa 2 Arsenal 2. The first of six consecutive draws – Arsenal’s longest drawing run in the league. Haverty and Barnwell scored.
4 March 1972: Manchester City 2 Arsenal 0. After four straight wins and 12 games undefeated in the league, the wheels suddenly came off the bus as Arsenal started a run of losing three successive league matches without scoring a goal.
4 March 1978: Arsenal 3 Manchester City 0. This was the first win in six league games but also a part of a run of nine undefeated. Sunderland, Young and Price got the goals.
4 March 1987: Tottenham 1 Arsenal 2. League Cup semi-final replay. Clive Allen put Tottenham ahead in all three of the “one nil down, two one up” semi-final games. Ian Allinson scored the first for Arsenal and Rocastle scored in injury time.
4 March 2006: Fulham 0 Arsenal 4. After three without a win Arsenal returned with a four match winning run scoring 14 goals letting in 1. Henry (2) Adebayor and Fabregas got the goals on this occasion.
4 March 2008: Arsenal became the first English team to beat Milan in the San Siro thanks to a Fabregas free kick.
4 March 2017: Arsenal lost away to Liverpool 3-1 to make it three defeats in four. The media made much of the fact that Alexis was not in the starting line up, an early sign that his influence was not always helpful. Nine months later he was given to Man U, and subsequent reports suggested his influence there was not always positive either. The result took Arsenal to 5th, and they never regained a top four place through the rest of the season.
4 March 2018: Arsenal lost at Brighton, resulting in further calls for the dismissal of Mr Wenger in the media and among some supporters.