Farewell Woolwich Arsenal, farewell Arsene Wenger

Anniversaries have a strange habit of coming together in odd ways.  When Mr Wenger said he was resigning one year ago today, no one particularly remembered that also on this day in 1914, Woolwich Arsenal disappeared from the club’s name and was replaced by The Arsenal.   There is more on this in our series “Henry Norris at the Arsenal”


20 April 1889: Arsenal beat Spartan Rovers 8-0.  In the course of 30 days of friendlies they also had 9-0, 6-1 and 7-2 victories

20 April 1907: George Jobey, the man who scored the first Arsenal goal at Highbury made his league debut with Newcastle.  He spent seven seasons at the club playing 53 games at centre half and right half and won a League winner’s medal in 1908/9 and a Cup Finalists’ medal in 1911.  He then joined Arsenal in May 1913 for £500.

20 April 1908: Arsenal 1 Sheffield W 1.  Final game for each of Gordon Hoare,  James Ashcroft, James Bigden and James Sharp with Arsenal having finished 14th.

20 April 1912: Rangers 0 Arsenal 0.  This appears to be the first game between the two sides, who later set up regular friendlies through the efforts of Herbert Chapman.

20 April 1914: One of the “lost” matches Arsenal played.  On this day there was a benefit match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Highbury but we have no idea who it was for or what the score was.  If you know please do write in!

20-23 April 1914: The word ‘Woolwich’ was officially dropped from the club name as Woolwich Arsenal became (for a while) The Arsenal.

20 April 1918: One of the many odd competitions that have arisen but not left behind information on how they were constructed occured on this day with the War Fund Competition.  Arsenal beat Millwall away, 1-0 in the second game, but who won the trophy or how it was calculated remains a mystery.

20 April 1935: It is not often Arsenal fans thank Stoke but on this occasion they did, for after one win in ten Stoke beat Tottenham 4-1 on this day to secure Tottenham’s position at the bottom of the league.

20 April 1946: Arsenal 1 Leicester 2 was part of a run of six games without a win, suggesting clearly that Arsenal needed a major transformation before the resumption of the League in August.

20 April 1964: Dave Bacuzzi transferred to Manchester City.  He had played 46 league games and two FA Cup games across four seasons.  He also won the Football Combination with Arsenal, and later became a manager in Ireland.

20 April 1966: Sunderland 0 Arsenal 2; one of only two wins for Billy Wright in his last 16 games in charge.  During that run Arsenal scored just 12 goals.  Skirton and Sammels scored.

20 April 1968: Sunderland 2 Arsenal 0 made it two wins in 16 for Bertie Mee and left the club 12th in the League.  But Arsenal won all of the remaining five games in the League in the season to offer some hope.

20 April 1971: Arsenal 1 Burnley 0.  Charlie George scored to give the 9th straight win (during which run only one goal was conceded), and this with McNab and Storey absent playing for England!  Arsenal went two points ahead and Burnley were relegated in the 38th league game of the first Double season.

20 April 1973: Eddie Hapgood died of a heart attack while attending a sports forum in Leamington Spa aged 64.  His autobiography “Football Ambassador” was the first ever player autobiography.  So groundbreaking was the book that Sir Stanley Rous, who went on to become president of FIFA wrote the introduction.

20 April 1974: The victory over Derby County at Highbury by 2-0 on this day gave hope that Arsenal might do enough to avoid relegation, although the crowd of 26,017 suggested they had done nothing like enough to get the fans back on a regular basis.

20 April 1983: Norwich 3 Arsenal 1.  League debut for Colin Hill, last game for George Wood.  Hill went on to have just one season for Arsenal as a regular full back, while Wood ended a three year spell with 60 league games and a move to Crystal Palace.

20 April 1995: For the second year running Arsenal reached the CWC Final after losing 2-3 but beating Sampdoria on penalties in the semi-final.  Wright scored on the hour but it looked like Arsenal were going out until Schwarz got the second on 88 mins.  Dixon, Hartson and Adams scored penalties to take Arsenal through.

20 April 2000: Lens 1 Arsenal 2; Arsenal went through to Uefa Cup final after drawing 0-0 in the first leg.  Henry and Kanu got the victory.

20 April 2011: Tottenham 3 Arsenal 3.  Arsenal had lost at home to Tottenham in the league, but won away in the League Cup before this game.  Walcott, Nasri and Van Persie scored to make it 16 games unbeaten in the premier league.

20 April 2013: Arsenal beat Fulham 1-0 at Craven Cottage in the fourth of 10 consecutive away wins.  Giroud was sent off and Mertesacker scored the only goal.

20 April 2014: In a match delayed by advertising hoardings blowing across the pitch, Ramsey and Özil returned after long lay-offs as Arsenal easily beat Hull away, proving if it needed proving, how important these two players were. Ramsey scored and Podolski got two.

20 April 2018: Arsene Wenger announced his retirement as Arsenal’s manager after 22 years at the club.  It took all of two hours before the first attacks and conspiracy theories about his departure started to appear on the websites of the national press.

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