By Tony Attwood
These days we don’t ever have referees criticised by the newspapers, but in the past even the FA would tell a referee off in public as was the case for the Arsenal v Tottenham game on this day in 1900. The crowd at Arsenal were known to be rowdy and were often criticised in the press, but on this day it seems they went a little too far.
On a personal note this was also a day I remember, in 1999, when my dear friend Roger (sadly no longer with us) and I went to Middlesbrough to watch the away game and Arsenal trotted out 6-1 winners. Now those WERE the days. It made up for another game Roger and I were both at – the horrible 2-3 defeat to Luton in the league cup final. Probably the worst thing that day was driving back along the M1 and finding every bridge in the Luton area carrying a Luton Town banner. Middlesbrough however was strangely quiet by the time that game was over.
Here are all the major anniversaries for 24 April.
24 April 1897: Millwall Athletic 3 Arsenal 1. A crowd of 8000 was very high for the United League match on the Isle of Dogs, although the game between the local rivals in February in Plumstead had attracted nearly twice this number.
24 April 1900: Arsenal 2 Tottenham 1. Southern District Combination; match abandoned due to abusive behaviour by the crowd. Arsenal were ordered to post notices instructing the crowd to behave properly, and the referee was also criticised for his handling of the game. The game was not replayed.
24 April 1907: Jack Humble’s wife was presented with an item of furniture (a tradition in England at this time) to thank Jack for his years of work as he stepped down as director. He was a founder of the club, had played for the club, and had been Woolwich Arsenal’s first chairman. He returned at Henry Norris’ request in 1910 and remained until 1927.
24 April 1915: Arsenal 7-0 Nottingham Forest. Arsenal’s last game in the second division and the last league game under Punch McEwen. Arsenal finished 5th but were wrongly given 6th place in the league table. It was the last game for Joseph Lievesley, and Percy Sands. Harry King scored four goals to make it four hat tricks in the season – a record. He got 26 goals in 37 league games – at the time a record for the club.
24 April 1916: Arsenal played the return match against Chelsea at Highbury in the wartime league. Arsenal lost again – but at least this time it was only by 1-3, with 13,000 in the crowd.
24 April 1918: Local council meetings in Fulham (when Sir Henry Norris was mayor) aren’t usually listed here, but this one discussed the need for air raid shelters for the first time, marking a new turn in the war.
24 April 1920: A 0-0 draw with relegation threatened Preston drew 35,000 to Highbury , at the same time as the cup final played at Stamford Bridge ending Aston Villa 1 Huddersfield Town 0. The reporter for the Times was not particularly impressed by the Final stating that the ball had gone out of play “just over 100 times.”
24 April 1928: Tommy Docherty born. After his National Service he joined Celtic, and two years later Preston, who were runners up to Arsenal on goal average in 1953. In 1958 he left to play for Arsenal.
24 April 1937: No matter what happened Arsenal were almost certain to finish third, so a little tinkering with the team was to be expected. Bernard Joy was dropped and Sidey came back into the team for this and the final game at centre half. 53,325 turned up at Chelsea despite this being a meaningless game. Chelsea won 2-0.
24 April 1971: WBA 2 Arsenal 2. Last game for Jon Sammels. Having just defeated Leeds, West Brom held Arsenal in the 29th league game of the first Double season. The result left Arsenal one point above Leeds with one game in hand, but knowing that the next match was Leeds away.
24 April 1974: First game for Jimmy Rimmer. Liverpool 0 Arsenal 1. It was his only game of the season, but after that he took over from Bob Wilson as Arsenal’s first choice keeper.
24 April 1976: Final game for Terry Mancini. Man City 3 Arsenal 1, Arsenal ended the season in 17th position – the worst position since 1925, the final year of Knighton’s reign, after which Herbert Chapman took over. The game made it just 2 wins in 10 as Arsenal ended the season in 17th; the lowest since 1925 and just six points off relegation.
24 April 1988: Arsenal were the holders of the League Cup going into the 1988 final and utterly firm favourites but lost: Arsenal 2 Luton 3. Hayes and Smith scored but Arsenal’s defence lost the plot once Arsenal were 2-1 up.
24 April 1999: Middlesbrough 1 Arsenal 6. Arsenal went top of the league for the first time in the season, with their 17th unbeaten game. Arsenal had been 0-6 up and with much of the home crowd drifting out, cheered the Boro goal on their behalf. Overmars, Anelka (2), Kanu (2) and Vieira got the goals.
24 April 2002: Arsenal 2 WHU 0. Part of the 13-game consecutive winning streak. This was League match 35 of the 3rd Double season. Ljungberg and Kanu scored in the last 13 minutes.