The day the dream of Arsenal FC owned by its fans was finally destroyed

Looking at the anniversaries for 1 May, it is of course the time when for many years the last match of the season was played – and on two May Days, Arsenal won the league.  In 1948 it had been a season of Arsenal all the way with huge scores and a brilliant team performance under Tom Whittaker in his first season as manager.  In 1953 it was still the same manager, but this season went down to the last match, and the last game was played on a mud heap of a pitch that was unfit for any sort of sport.

The assault of course was this day in 2006 when if there had been any justice in football, Smith would have been removed by the police and prosecuted for common assault on Diaby.  But he was let go.

And on this day in 2009 the dream of Sir Henry Norris – which we must never forget, he almost achieved – of a club that was widely owned by its fans through having shares, finally died as the club ended up in the hands of one man.  The dream went that day, and since then investment in the club and its future has been at the whim of a single individual.  The club created in 1893, passed away.

Here are the anniversaries.

?May 1889: Alf Singleton and Henry Stewart, two of the men who led the split away from Royal Arsenal to form Royal Ordnance Factories FC attended the annual dinner as leading members of Royal Arsenal FC.  The exact date in May is unknown.

1 May 1902  Tim Coleman, one of the stalwarts of early football trade unionism, joined Arsenal from Northampton.  He went on to play nearly 200 games for the club.

1 May 1902: Roderick McEachrane joined Arsenal from West Ham.  He played 346 games for Arsenal over 14 years.

1 May 1919: After all transfer activity was stopped for the 1st world war, this day was designated for the start of transfer registrations once again as clubs prepared for the return of the Football League at the end of August.

1 May 1920: Arsenal 3 Bradford 0. The last senior game for David Greenaway.  In the war he had served with the Royal Field Artillery and after 161 league games there is a suggestion he went on to Margate, although details are sketchy.   This was also Arsenal’s first ever league match in May. Following the extension of league to 42 clubs the previous rule that football always ended on 30 April was abandoned.    Attendance 30,000.  Arsenal finished the season in 10th.

1 May 1926: Herbert Chapman ended his first season with Arsenal 3 Birmingham 0 and Arsenal an unprecedented 2nd in the league, after just missing relegation one year earlier.  Jimmy Brain scored two to make it 34 goals in 41 games, beating the previous record of Harry King (26 in 37 games in 1914/5).

1 May 1936: David Nelson joined Arsenal.  He played his first game in December, but as with so many his was a promising career interrupted by war.  He returned briefly in 1946.

1 May 1937: Last league game for Alex James.  One of our five greatest players to be sure, and also a forgotten captain. He did go on the 1937 summer tour, and during the war he served with the Royal Artillery and then became a journalist before being invited by Arsenal to coach the youth team.

1 May 1943: Arsenal 7 Charlton 1 in the Football League Cup South, wartime final.  75,000 turned up for the game at Stamford Bridge.

1 May 1948: Arsenal 8 Grimsby 0.  Having finished 13th the season before, Tom Whittaker ended his first season in charge with the league title finishing seven points ahead of second placed Man U.  It was also the league debut of Lionel Smith.  

1 May 1953: By beating Burnley 3-2 in the final match of the season Arsenal won the league on goal average.  With Arsenal 3-1 up at half time, and Burnley attacking in atrocious conditions, it was widely reported that part way through the second half manager Tom Whittaker, left the dugout and poured himself a stiff drink.

1 May 1962: Final appearance of Jack Kelsey.  Arsenal 2 Everton 3. In his autobiography he wrote, “There is one very good reason why I believe few if any star players will come to Highbury, and that is that the Arsenal do everything legally.”

1 May 1962: George Swindin resigned after losing 3-2 to Everton and ending the season in 10th. He was replaced by Billy Wright.  Swindin went on to manage Norwich, Cardiff, Kettering and Corby.

1 May 1971: Arsenal 1 Stoke 0 in the penultimate league match of the first Double season.  The result left Arsenal one point behind with one game in hand and a goal average 0.01 goals better than Leeds.  A 0-0 draw in the final match would win the League, but not a scoring draw.

1 May 1980: Arsenal beat Liverpool 1-0 in third replay of cup semi final with a goal from Talbot.  For reasons that never became clear the game was played at Coventry’s modest sized ground.

1 May 1989: There were warning signs for Arsenal about the level of their support even in this time of triumph and championships as only 28,449 turned up for Arsenal 5 Norwich 0.  Indeed in the pre-season games the following July only 20,000 and 23,000 turned up

1 May 2001: Juan signed from São Paulo. He never played for Arsenal, and after a three match loan spell at Millwall returned to Brazil.

1 May 2001: Benik Afobe joined Arsenal at the age of six.  He never made it at Arsenal but in 2015 signed for Wolverhampton.

1 May 2004: Arsenal 0 Birmingham 0.  The 35th league game of the unbeaten season.  With the title won but with four games to go the nerves on making it unbeaten all season started to show!

1 May 2006: Sunderland 0 Arsenal 3.  This was the match in which Diaby was viciously assaulted by Dan Smith and his career wrecked for years to come.  Sunderland clearly didn’t want to be tainted by Smith and quickly loaned him out. After eight games with Huddersfield he went to Scotland, and by 2008 was playing non-league football. He really should not have ever been allowed to play again.

1 May 2008: Keith Edelman resigned as a Director at Arsenal Holdings plc but continued until May 2009 as a consultant, having overseen the Emirates project.

1 May 2009: Stan Kroenke became the largest shareholder in Arsenal with a 28.3% shareholding in the club.

One Reply to “The day the dream of Arsenal FC owned by its fans was finally destroyed”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *