Arsenal and the Nigerian takeover, plus the supposed dispute with Tottenham.

By Tony Attwood

Just how wild and crazy are the stories that circulate in the media about Arsenal can be seen by the tale which was doing the rounds at this time in 2010 – that Arsenal were going to be bought by a Nigerian businessman.  They were not, and on this day the gentleman in question denied the story which immediately disappeared from the media.

Also on this day, but back in 1919, Arsenal played a friendly against Tottenham – another reminder that the dispute that was supposed to exist between the two clubs over Arsenal’s move to Highbury and subsequent election to the first division at the expense of Tottenham, was nothing of the kind.   Tottenham had opposed Arsenal’s move and had fought to retain their position in the first division, but there was no long term anger, not least because the home crowds for both clubs increased dramatically after Arsenal’s move north, exactly as Sir Henry Norris, the Arsenal chairman, had predicted.

Here are the anniversaries.

24 May 1890: Ernest Williamson born.  He was signed by Arsenal from Croydon Common after that club became the only Southern League club that failed to return to football after the cessation of the first world war.

24 May 1899: Horace Cope born near Sheffield.  He joined Arsenal in 1926 from Notts County and was a regular player for three seasons before dropping to the reserves as Chapman strengthened his squad.

24 May 1907: As part of their tour of Austria and Germany, Arsenal played Tottenham Hotspur in Vienna.  We won 4-0.

24 May 1912: Arsenal lost an end of season friendly away to Tottenham 0-4.  Although stories were circulating about Arsenal moving away from Plumstead there was no suggestion as yet that Islington would be the destination.

24 May 1919: Daniel Burgess signed from Goldenhill Wanderers and made his league debut on 1 September 1919 in a league match against Liverpool.

24 May 1919: Arsenal played a friendly at home against Tottenham.  This is of note for it has been suggested that bad feeling existed between the clubs due to Arsenal’s election to the first division in preference to Tottenham upon the expansion of the league.  In fact there was no bad feeling as indeed reports in the local newspapers show.

24 May 1919: Arsenal signed Daniel Burgess from Goldenhill Wanderers.  He made his league debut on 1 September 1919 in a league match against Liverpool.

24 May 1935: Bernard Joy joined Arsenal as an amateur from Fulham.  He started out with the reserves but played twice for the first team at the end of the 1935/6 season.  By 1937 he was a regular, but still an amateur.

24 May 1939George Male and Wilf Copping made final appearance for England in the 2-0 victory away to Romania.  It was England’s last full international for seven years. Male finally ended with 19 caps and Copping 20.

24 May 1953: Last appearance for Ray Daniel in a post-season friendly – Arsenal 1 Rapid Vienna 6.  The rigours of the season with the win on the final day were clearly taking their toll.  

24 May 1975: Alan Ball played his 72nd and last game for England as England beat Scotland 5-1.  He was captain of England 30 times.

24 May 2009: Vito Mannone’s first team debut; it finished Arsenal 4 Stoke 1 and  Arsenal ended the season in 4th securing Champions League football once more. The crowd of  60,082 made the average league attendance 60,109 for the season – the highest average home crowd for Arsenal up to that point.

24 May 2010. After a considerable period of rumour Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote denied moving to buy a 15.9% stake in Arsenal.  The matter was dropped by the press within a day and it was all as if they had never made it up in the first place.

24 May 2015: Arsenal 4 WBA 1.  A stunning hattrick from Theo Walcott playing at centre forward and the goal of the season from Wilshere ensured his continuance in that position in the forthcoming cup final, as Arsenal ended the season third.

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