There must be some younger fans for whom St Totteringham’s Day was just simply a regular event, celebrated on slightly different days each year – but celebrated nonetheless. Because for 19 years up to 2016 it happened as Arsenal finished above Tottenham in the League. Then it all went wrong – on this day.
We are still way ahead of Tottenham in terms of the number of times we have finished higher than them, just as we are in terms of trophies. Of course they might win the Champions League this year, but until they do their only trophy this century was the League Cup in 2008. Before that is was the FA Cup in 1991.
Here are today’s anniversaries…
30 April 1892: Royal Arsenal 2 Rangers 3. It is possible that this early connection between Arsenal and Rangers was linked to the architectural work undertaken by Archie Leitch at the Manor Ground, with Leitch having previously worked on Ibrox.
30 April 1898: Gavin Crawford’s last game. He was the first player to play 100 games for Arsenal on 3 April 1897. After leaving he moved to Millwall, and QPR, before ultimately becoming head groundsman at Charlton.
30 April 1908: Arsenal’s amazing Scottish tour finally comes to an end with a 2-1 victory over Kilmarnock. Eight matches had been completed between April 21 and 30th.
30 April 1910: Although the last official day of the league season, Arsenal had already finished all their fixtures and so sent a mix of reserves and first team players to play a friendly game against Ilford. The crowd is not recorded although two days earlier only 1000 turned up for a friendly against Colchester.
30 April 1916: Panic hit the British government as Germany introduced Sommerzeit – or Daylight Saving Time. As one member of the Lords said, “They could invade us and we wouldn’t even know until an hour later.”
30 April 1921: Football in the early days was always associated with charitable work and on this day a charity match was played between Unity House and Carlisle Railwaymen was played at Highbury with half the gate receipts going to the National Union of Railwaymen Orphan Fund.
30 April 1927: Arsenal 3 Birmingham 0. Despite the FA Cup final defeat on April 23, Arsenal made it five straight league wins in a row. Brian Tricker and Bob John scored. Arsenal were 12th with two games to go.
30 April 1932: To win the League Arsenal needed to win and Everton lose. Arsenal beat Middlesbrough (who were 16th) 5-0 but Everton beat Bolton 1-0 and so won the league.
30 April 1938: Arsenal 1 Liverpool 0. With one game to go Arsenal had a one point lead at the top, but Wolverhampton had a game in hand. Eddie Carr got the goal – part of a run of five goals for him in three games.
30 April 1952: Continuing the regular end of season fixtures at Highbury, The British Olympic XI played England B Trial XI at Highbury.
30 April 1959: Ian McKechnie signed as professional for Arsenal. He had joined in 1958 as an amateur outside left, but was transformed into a goalkeeper, and became the the first Scot to be chosen to play for the London Youth XI.
30 April 1964: Ernest Williamson died from pneumonia in Norwich. After leaving Arsenal he went to Norwich City, and subsequently he ran a couple of public houses. He was a great friend to the St Dunstan’s charity, which provided training, rehabilitation and lifelong support to soldiers, sailors and airmen who had lost their sight in the First World War.
30 April 1965: Eddie McGoldrick born in Islington. He played for Kettering, Nuneaton, Northampton and Crystal Palace before reaching Arsenal in 1993.
30 April 1968: Arsenal beat Sheffield W 3-2 in front of only 11,262 at Highbury. Court, Radford and Gould scored in what was part of a five consecutive win run taking the club to the end of the season.
30 April 1969: John Roberts signed from Northampton Town for £35,000 and quickly won a league winner’s medal in the First Double season (although he did not play in the cup final.)
30 April 1974: Arsenal 1 QPR 1. Last game for Bob Wilson. With 308 league appearances he was second in the keeper appearance list only to David Seaman. He moved on to TV work with the BBC and also became goalkeeper coach for Arsenal. Liam Brady scored his first goal as Arsenal finished 10th. It was also the last game for Ray Kennedy who was insanely sold by Mee.
30 April 1977: After an earlier run of consecutive defeats Newcastle 0 Arsenal 2 made it six wins out of seven matches. Macdonald and Matthews scored, but the excitement was short lived as Arsenal failed to win any of their remaining 3 games. Pat Howard made his final appearance.
30 April 1984: Jimmy Logie died. His life after Arsenal is somewhat hard to trace – it is said that he was a very successful manager of Gravesend, but also that he had a gambling problem and ended up selling the evening newspapers in the West End.
30 April 1988: Sheffield W 3 Arsenal 3. Alan Smith scored his final goal of the season becoming the top scorer, with just 11 goals. The result left Arsenal sixth, 23 points behind the leaders.
30 April 1993: Tommy Caton died of a heart attack aged 30. He had retired from football just one month earlier. He left a wife and three children.
30 April 2013: Lukas Podolski agreed to join Arsenal for around £11m at the start of the transfer window. Although a firm crowd favourite he seemed to fall out of favour with Arsene Wenger and in January 2015 moved out on loan.
30 April 2017: Tottenham 2 Arsenal 0 meant that Arsenal would finish below Tottenham for the first time in 20 years. It was the final derby before WHL was demolished and Tottenham moved to Wembley.