Three events on 21 April grab the attention. In 1908 Arsenal went on a post-season tour of eight matches in nine days in Scotland. Given that they only took a basic squad with them, and had to travel between each venue, the whole tour must have been tough on the players – but it seemed it was a financial event, and so the club didn’t want the team hanging around between games running up guest house bills.
1930 saw 12 goals in a top division game – I believe this is the only time this has happened. And on this day we also remember the passing of Jock Rutherford, our oldest ever player, and also a man who suffered terribly as the authorities stopped him playing for a long time to investigate allegations against him – which ultimately proved to be false.
21 April 1880: Birth of Charles McGibbon. He was the 7th centre forward of the 1909/10 season and came with no league experience but scored three goals in the last four games of the season to ensure Arsenal continued in the first division.
21 April 1894: Following the end of their first season in the football league Arsenal played five friendly matches, several of which got higher crowds than the League games. On this day it was Arsenal 2 Burnley 0 in front of 4000.
21 April 1908: Hearts 1 Arsenal 3. With the league season having finished the day before with a home game against Sheffield Wednesday, Arsenal immediately boarded a train and started a tour of eight matches in nine days in Scotland.
21 April 1917: James Maxwell died in action against the Turks (fighting with Indian troops/Black Watch in 51 Division) in the Samarrah Offensive. His body was not recovered and no grave is known.
21 April 1917: Arsenal beat the London Combination champions West Ham 2-1, with both director William Hall and Arsenal’s programme writer George Allison in the stand.
21 April 1918: With Sir Henry Norris’ plans not to conscript in Ireland overthrown by the government, Catholic bishops declared the conscription decree in Ireland an oppressive and unjust law, and called on Catholics to resist “by the most effective means at our disposal” and an anti-conscription pledge was taken at the church door on this day
21 April 1930 Leicester City 6 Arsenal 6: the all time record top league score, Four goals for David Halliday, but that wasn’t enough to get him a place in the cup final.
21 April 1930 was also the last first team game for Dan Lewis. Despite being blamed for the 1927 cup final defeat he played over 30 times in each of the next three seasons. Indeed from 12 March to 21 April Arsenal had five wins, five draws and one defeat. And in the midst of this Arsenal got to their second FA Cup final.
21 April 1934: A 3-1 win for Arsenal over Huddersfield left Arsenal four points clear of their prime rivals at the top of the table with a better goal average. It was a defining moment on the way to the second consecutive championship..
21 April 1936: The demolition of the old East Stand at Highbury began. even though Arsenal had two more home games (against Chelsea and Leeds) to play. The new stand was opened on October 24, 1936.
21 April 1959: Arsenal 0 Rangers 3 – part of the continuing run of games between the clubs which was initiated by Herbert Chapman.
21 April 1963: Jock Rutherford died. He had already retired twice from football when he came back for a third and final time in January 1926 under Chapman to become the oldest man ever to play for Arsenal. Over 40,000 turned up for the Chelsea game, despite the building work.
21 April 1964: Don Howe signed from WBA for £42,000 – a record for a full back. He played on until 1967 when he became chief coach moving to caretaker manager in 1983.
21 April 1970: Sammy Nelson made his international debut for N Ireland v England. He played 51 times for the Province, all with Arsenal except the last four (when he was with Brighton).
21 April 1971: Peter Storey’s international debut for England v Greece. He played 19 times for his country between 1971 and 1973.
21 April 2001: Arsenal 4 Everton 1, as Arsenal moved to being runners up for the third year running. This was also the start of the longest ever sequence of scoring in home games. It lasted until November 2003.
21 April 2002: Arsenal 2 Ipswich 0. One of the 13 consecutive victories; League match 34 of the 3rd Double season. Ljungberg got both goals. The result left Arsenal one point clear at the top of the league with one game in hand.