Today there would be complaints and complaints – with a top scorer with just 11 goals, but in 1972 the top scorer got 12. Ten years on the top scorer for Arsenal got just 11.
But really the key issue of the day is 11 May 1985, the day of the Bradford fire, killing 56 spectators in the stadium and injuring at least 265. It was a day in which an ex-Arsenal man – a man you may never have heard of – showed the most amazing bravery and one that is, in my view, sadly ignored by Arsenal. It was not an Arsenal event, but it was an ex-Arsenal man involved.
I do hope you might have a moment to read my little piece on John Hawley and the events of that day.
Here are the anniversaries.
11 May 1910: George Leavey, the major shareholder in Woolwich Arsenal, admitted he had not got enough local people to buy shares in the club, and would search for others from outside the area to buy, or else put the club into administration.
11 May 1918: From this day throughout the summer Highbury was used to play baseball matches in a league containing troops from the USA and Canada who were stationed in London.
11 May 1925: An advertisement for a new Arsenal manager appeared in Athletics News after the sacking of Leslie Knighton. The advert ended, Gentlemen whose sole ability to build up a good side depends on the payment of heavy and exhorbitant [sic] transfer fees need not apply. Herbert Chapman applied and became the highest spending manager thus far in Arsenal’s history.
11 May 1948: Arsenal 8 Grimsby 0. Final game for George Male, the first ever player in the League to win the championship six times. He then became a coach at Arsenal who worked with the youth and reserve teams, and as a scout, and he in turn discovered Charlie George. He was also present to watch the double victories in 1971, before retiring in 1975.
11 May 1959: Jimmy Magill signed from Portadown. He went on to play 116 league games before moving to Brighton.
11 May 1959: Dave Bacuzzi signed as a professional, having first signed as an amateur in March the previous year from Eastbourne Utd. He made his first team debut in February 1961.
11 May 1960: Racing club de Paris 4 Arsenal 3, in the series of games created by Herbert Chapman to help survivors of the first world war.
11 May 1968: Arsenal 2 WBA 1 made it five straight wins at the end of the season with Gould scoring in each of the last four. Arsenal finished 9th, with George Graham as the top league scorer with 16 goals.
11 May 1972: Quite amazingly for the 3rd year running Arsenal concluded their league season playing Tottenham. This game was lost 0-2 at Highbury as Arsenal come in 5th. The top league goalscorer was Kennedy with 12.
11 May 1982: Arsenal 1 Liverpool 1. Sunderland scored his 11th league goal of the season to make him top scorer. Arsenal won their final game and ended the league in 5th.
11 May 1985: Brian Talbot’s last game. He then played for Watford, Stoke, WBA, Fulham and Aldershot, and was for four years chair of the PFA before having a 20 year career as a manager before becoming a scout for Fulham 2011.
11 May 1985: The Bradford Fire. Ex-Arsenal man John Hawley showed extraordinary bravery in pulling people from the flames.
11 May 1988: Last game for Graham Rix. He then played for Brentford on loan and Caen, Le Havre and Dundee. After retiring from playing he went to Chelsea where he became youth team coach and later assistant manager before a scandal ended his high profile career.
11 May 1991: Arsenal beat Coventry 6-1 in the final match of the season, winning the league despite a two point penalty, having just one defeat, letting in just 18 goals and finishing seven points clear of Liverpool. Limpar scored a hat trick.
11 May 1993: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 3 in the last match of the season. Arsenal finished 10th and only 26,393 turned up. It was also Pal Lydesen’s final appearance.
11 May 1997: Paul Merson’s last appearance in Derby 1 Arsenal 3 – the last game at the Baseball ground. Arsène Wenger ended his first season with Arsenal in 3rd on goal difference from Newcastle in second. Ian Wright scored two to make it 23 league goals in 30 starts and was of course top scorer for the sixth year running.
11 May 1998: Arsène Wenger named Manager of the Year for the first time.
11 May 2002: Arsenal 4 Everton 3. League game 38 of the 3rd Double season, completing a 13 match winning sequence and an unbeaten away season. Richard Wright appeared as a sub for a few minutes near the end in order to get a league winners’ medal.
11 May 2005: Arsenal 7 Everton 0. The last Highbury game in red and white, the conclusion of a 12 match unbeaten run in the league, and the largest Premier League win, equalled on 14 January 2006.
11 May 2008: Sunderland 0 Arsenal 1 ended Arsenal’s season with four successive wins to come third. Walcott scored the goal.
11 May 2014: Norwich 0 Arsenal 2, as Arsenal made it five straight wins scoring 12 and letting in two to finish fourth in the League. Ramsey and Jenkinson scored. Also on this day Koscielny signed a new long term contract.