Wenger the record breaker, from first to last

On this day in 2017 Arsenal achieved yet another record in their long history of records – more FA Cup semi-finals than any other club.   Of course the semi-final is not a trophy, but it was at this moment that the media finally realised that Mr Wenger was on the edge of becoming the most prolific FA Cup manager of all time.  Until this point he had been the most prolific FA Cup manager of the modern age, but the press would regularly note that George Ramsay had also, as with Mr Wenger, won the Cup six times.  What they often failed to note was that it took him 33 years to do this, and that his early victories in 1887, 1895 and 1897 were in the era when top teams like Aston villa (Ramsay’s side) only played three or four games to win the cup.

Here are the anniversaries…

11 March 1893: Woolwich Arsenal beat Dumbarton in a friendly in front of 6,000.  This was a significant test for Arsenal before they became a league club as Dumbarton were Scottish League champions at the time.

11 March 1899: Arsenal beat Tottenham 2-1 in their last home “United League” match in front of a crowd of 6,000.

11 March 1911: League debut for John Peart; Arsenal 1 Everton 0.  Also Mr Bateup played his penultimate game.  The game was also the start of an 11 match sequence without defeat which saved Arsenal from relegation.  And it was the last time Arsenal won a home league game on 11 March at least until 2017.

11 March 1911 George Burdett’s first match at home to Everton (a 1-0 win).  He played 10 of the remaining 11 games that season and his arrival coincided with the team’s reversal in fortunes for the club as previously the club had only won three games in 14 league matches.

11 March 1915: Following the sinking of HMS Bayano by a Uboat with almost all the crew lost rumours started to circulate that the League was going to stop for the duration of the war at the end of the season.

11 March 1919: Sir Henry Norris made his maiden speech in the House of Commons, quite appropriately on a housing matter, during the Committee stage of the Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Bill.

11 March 1922: Joe Shaw’s last league game as a player – a 1-0 defeat to Man U.  He went on to manage Arsenal’s reserves before taking over the first team on the death of Herbert Chapman and leading the side to another League trophy.

11 March 1967.  Birmingham 1 Arsenal 0.  FA Cup 5th round. After this game however Arsenal went on a 12 match unbeaten run to the end of the season, lifting them into seventh place in the league.

11 March 1972: Brendon Batson was Arsenal’s first black player.  He made six league starts for Arsenal and came on four times as a sub and was awarded an MBE in 2000 and an OBE in 2015.

11 March 1972: Newcastle 2 Arsenal 0.  After the brilliant run of 12 games unbeaten, Arsenal suffered three defeats in a row of which this was a second.  This can be seen as the start of Arsenal’s decline from the heights of the Double, the previous season.

11 March 1978: Wrexham 2 Arsenal 3.  FA Cup 6th round.  Macdonald, Sunderland and Young each scored making it 14 goals in the 1978 cup after four rounds.

11 March 1980: Arsenal 0 Bristol City 0.  Although this was the fifth game without defeat the crowd of 21,599 showed that there was a lack of belief in Arsenal.  Bristol City were relegated at the end of the season; the highest crowd of the season at Highbury was 55,546 for the visit of Tottenham.

11 March 1981: Peter Nicholas signed for Arsenal from Crystal Palace for £400,000.  After just 60 league matches he returned to Palace, before moving on to Luton, Aberdeen, Chelsea and Watford.

11 March 1998: Wimbledon 0 Arsenal 1; after blackouts and security alerts for what should have been the 19th league match of the season, the game was finally played and marked the start of the 10 consecutive victories that ended with the title.  Wreh scored.

11 March 2009: Arsenal beat Roma 7-6 on penalties in the Champions League.  After the game Mr Wenger said, ““I am delighted and proud because after we conceded an early goal and missed the first kick of the shoot-out, we needed something special.”

11 March 2011: Daily Mail ran the headline  “Wenger planning summer bid for Le Havre teen Mendy to shore up Arsenal defence”.   There was, of course, never any bid nor any sign of the deal and the player went to Marseilles.

11 March 2013: Ex Arsenal man Brian McDermott was sacked as manager of Reading.  He later managed Leeds before returning to Arsenal as assistant to chief scout Steve Rowley

11 March 2014: Arsenal drew 1-1 with Bayern Munich in round of 16 in Champions League.  Podolski scored the goal, but having lost the first leg 0-2 it was not enough to take Arsenal through.

11 March 2017: Arsenal beat Lincoln 5-0 in the FA Cup sixth round.to set up Arsenal’s 29th semi-final appearance in the competition – an all time record.  There was also the first talk of Mr Wenger becoming the most prolific FA Winner of all time, rather than just of the modern age.


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