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What did Henry Norris ever do for Arsenal?

There is much on this site about Henry Norris – indeed there is a whole series on Henry Norris at the Arsenal which overturns many of the stories that have emerged about him following the self-justifying autobiography of the one manager Sir Henry sacked: Leslie Knighton.

Henry Norris’ name turns up twice in the anniversaries of this day – on 1910 when having offered to buy Woolwich Arsenal and pay off all the creditors, and having that offer turned down, he made a second offer (also turned down) and eventually kept Arsenal playing in Plumstead (and making huge losses) finally personally guaranteeing the loans that enabled the club to lease the Highbury ground, and turn it from playing fields into a stadium.  It is hard to think of another shareholder who put this much money into the club, or had such a vision for the club.

A very different man from those running the club today.

Here are the anniversaries…

18 May 1899: James Tennant joined from St Bernards.  Tennant was born in Parkhead, Glasgow in 1878, and his other early clubs are listed as Linton Villa and Parkhead.  He played 51 league games and scored 8 goals for Woolwich Arsenal.

18 May 1910:  Woolwich Arsenal met the Football League.  Henry Norris offered first to buy Woolwich Arsenal and pay off the creditors creating Fulham Arsenal, and then suggested Arsenal could play at Craven Cottage.  Both ideas were rejected – the latter by the Arsenal board.  Norris then agreed to fund Woolwich Arsenal at Plumstead for one more year – although in fact he actually funded the club in Plumstead for three more years and then took the huge risk of guaranteeing the funds to develop Highbury making him the largest benefactor in the history of Arsenal.

18 May 1910: Bill Johnstone born in Fife.  He played in the Reading side that beat Swansea 3-1 away to reach the semi-final of the FA Cup in 1927 and joined Arsenal in May 1929.  Ultimately he played just nine games and scored four through 1929/30 season and the first few weeks of the 1930/31 campaign.

18 May 1920 Sir Henry and Edith Norris attended a concert to raise money for Fulham’s ex-servicemen.  Sir Henry campaigned constantly for injured ex-servicemen to be given pensions by the state upon their return, and not left to beg on the streets.

18 May 1926: Rapid Vienna 3 Arsenal 3 (11,000) (Seddon, Buchan, Bowen).  The third of six games on the tour.

18 May 1928: Charlie Jones had left Cardiff City after one game, and moved to Stockport.  Then he moved to Oldham, who were subsequently relegated, and from there to Nottingham Forest also in the second division and started playing for Wales.  Yet despite this modest background, having signed Jones on this day, Allison put him straight into the first team for 1928/9.

18 May 1930: Dennis Evans born in Ellesmere Port.  He was playing for his local side when Tom Whittaker signed him, marking him down as the successor to Wally Barnes.

18 May 1939: Eddie Hapgood played his last game for England away to Yugoslavia.  He played 30 games for England including captaining England in the notorious game against Germany in Berlin on 14 May 1938, where the players were ordered to give the Nazi salute before the game.  Male also played in this game

18 May 1940: Colin Addison born in Taunton, Somerset.  He signed for York in 1957, moving to Nottingham Forest in 1961, and Arsenal in 1966 playing his first match on 17 August that year.

18 May 1963: Sheffield W 2 Arsenal 3.  Joe Baker made it six goals in the last four games of the season as Arsenal finished 7th.  It was a marginal improvement on the 11th and 10th of the previous two seasons, but not what the fans were hoping for.

18 May 1969: Birth of Dennis Nicolaas Bergkamp, in Amsterdam.  He first played for Ajax and then for Inter, where the press regularly made fun of him, before his career was rescued by Arsenal for whom he signed in July 1995.

18 May 1969: Floriana  (Malta) 0 Arsenal 4 (9,000) (Robertson, Court, Gould, Roberts).  It was the third of four post season games.

18 May 1977:  Nessegoten  0 Arsenal 3 (Macdonald 2 Armstrong).  Eight of the players in the team had also played in the friendly the day before in the fourth of five post-season friendlies.  But only 2500 showed up to watch.

18 May 1990: Steve Morrow played his first game for N Ireland against Uruguay; he went on to win 39 caps for his country between this date and 1999.

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