Tottenham 4 cups Arsenal 0, Arsenal’s last ever match & a video of our 1st cup final

By Tony Attwood

We should remember that in the early days of professional football, Tottenham were more successful than Arsenal, who struggled on the pitch, and financially.   On this day in 1910 it was widely considered that the Arsenal game against Preston would be Arsenal’s last, as the club was heavily in debt, would be without any funding through the summer and their prime financial supporter had made it clear that not only could he fund the club no more, but he could not guarantee the club’s overdraft and other loans any further.

And on this day in 1921 Tottenham made it four major trophies thus far to Arsenal’s nil – which makes today’s total of Arsenal 13 league titles, to Tottenham’s two, and Arsenal’s 13 FA Cup wins to Tottenham’s eight seem quite curious.

Also on this day in 1927 Arsenal lost in their first ever FA Cup final – there is a link to film of the occasion in the listing for that day below.

Also on this day in 2017 Arsenal played their 29th FA Cup semi-final – another record.


Here are the anniversaries…

23 April 1898: Last appearance for John Caldwell.  He then moved on with two other players to Brighton United.  He played 93 times in the League for Woolwich Arsenal and scored twice.

23 April 1902: Arsenal 0 Tottenham 0. Southern Professional Charity Cup.  Tottenham had won the FA Cup in 1901 but were not in the League, so this competition was an opportunity for the two old rivals to meet.

23 April 1908: Aberdeen 1 Woolwich Arsenal 1 (crowd: 4000).  It was one of nine games played in 10 days by Arsenal on their Scottish tour.

23 April 1910: Arsenal’s season ended with a 1-3 home defeat to Preston.  Arsenal finished 18th in the league with the 19th and 20th clubs being relegated.  Chelsea gained two points fewer than Arsenal but had a better goal average so the finish was nail biting to the last.  This would have been Arsenal’s last ever match had Henry Norris not stepped in to finance the club.

23 April1913: Robert (“Bobby”) Davidson born.  He played for Saint Johnston against Arsenal in a friendly in September 1934 and was selected for the Scottish League team a few weeks later.  Arsenal offered £4,000 and on 1st February 1935 he moved to Arsenal.

23 April 1914: Although as yet not officially sanctioned, Arsenal played their first match under the new name of The Arsenal.  The board accepted the special resolution to officially change the name but the name was not formally changed on 10 May 1915.

23 April 1917: Laurie Scott born.  He was signed by George Allison for Arsenal in 1937 and was changed from being a winger to being a right back, and after the war emerged in the first team at the start of the 1946-7 season.

23 April 1918: In Ireland’s general strike all work stopped, even in the government’s munitions factories, and rallies took place across Ireland.  There was, as can be imagined, considerable dismay and alarm in Whitehall.

23 April 1921: Tottenham won the FA Cup for the second time (having previously won it in 1901).  They had also won the Southern League in 1900 and the 2nd Division in 1920, making a total of four trophies.  Arsenal had won none.

23 April 1927: Arsenal’s first FA Cup Final – lost to Cardiff 0-1 at Wembley.  The crowd of 91,206 was the largest thus far to see an Arsenal game.  This was also the first cup final broadcast on radio.

23 April 1932: Arsenal’s 3rd cup final, losing 1-2 to Newcastle.  It was a season of being runner’s up as Arsenal also came second in the First Division. A video of the final is available via the link above.

23 April 1937: Preston were heading for the double when Arsenal beat them 3-1 away on this day, with two from Carr and one from Bastin.

23 April 1962: Arsenal achieve a 2-2 draw against Ipswich before a record crowd of 30,649 at Portman Road on Good Friday. Hundreds of fans were locked out and many hung precariously from the floodlight pylons. John MacLeod got Arsenal’s first goal and Eastham the second with a spectacular overhead bicycle kick.

23 April 1966: Arsenal 1 Sunderland 1.  After only 8,738 attended the previous home game 25,699 turned up to see relegation threatened Sunderland whom Arsenal had beaten away three days before.

23 April 1966: The decline of interest in Arsenal was emphasised by the fact that on the same day as Arsenal were playing Sunderland, Northampton managed by ex-Arsenal man Dave Bowen got a crowd of 24,523 into their 3 sided ground, despite heading for relegation.

23 April 1997: Dennis Compton CBE died on the first day of the new cricket season.  Flags at cricket clubs were flown at half mast and later the MCC named the stand at the Nursery End at Lords after him.

23 April 1980: Arsenal became the first British club to win at Juventus in a competitive match, winning 1-0. The scorer was Paul Vaessen who gained immediate fame but was unable to develop his career due to injury.  More information here.

23 April 1994: Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 2.  Ian Wright scored two goals to end the season with 23 league goals, but with no chance of ending higher than fourth the season fell away in the remaining three games.

23 April 2000. Arsène Wenger criticised the FA for allowing Man U a winter break from the league and a non-appearance in the FA Cup in order to play in a Fifa confederations competition.

23 April 2017: Against the prediction of every pundit, Arsenal beat Manchester City 2-1 at Wembley to reach the FA Cup Final.  Man City had five players booked as Alexis and Monreal scored in Arsenal’s 29th, record beating, semi-final appearance.  20 of those 29 semis had now been won – yet another record.


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