On this day in 1953 the great Alex James died. Contrary to what has been published in many copycat histories, Alex James is Arsenal’s second greatest captain; leading his team to three league titles, one FA Cup and one Charity Shield. Tony Adams is the only man to beat that with four league titles, three FA Cups and two League cups.
Here are the anniversaries…
? June 1892: Alf Singleton and Henry Stewart surprisingly failed to get elected to the committee running Royal Arsenal – the first sign of the split within the club that ultimately led to the formation of professional Woolwich Arsenal and amateur Royal Ordnance Factories as two separate clubs.
? June 1893: In response to the demand for a much higher rent for the Invicta Ground Woolwich Arsenal instead purchased the Manor Field opposite the Invicta as their new ground.
? June 1913: William Hall resigned as a director of Fulham, allowing him to focus full-time on the preparation of the Highbury ground and taking Woolwich Arsenal FC to Islington for the 1913/14 season.
1 June 1953: Alex James died suddenly from cancer on 24th anniversary of his signing. During the war he served in the Royal Artillery, and in 1949 he was invited back to Arsenal to coach the club’s youth sides. He was mentioned in the 1930s song “With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm” by Stanley Holloway.
1 June 1955: Ben Marden was transferred to Watford. Although playing only 42 games for Arsenal these included the last game of the 1952/3 season to win the league and Liverpool 1 Arsenal 5 on 15 November 1952.
1 June 1979: West Bromwich Albion who had just had their best season since winning the league for the one and only time in 1920, decided to sell winger Laurie Cunningham to Real Madrid for £995,000. It caused uproar. The end of football was predicted by the media. As ever, they were wrong.
1 June 1999: Moritz Volz joined Arsenal from Schalke. He stayed for five years but never played a league game (but did play two league cup games) before being loaned to Wimbledon and finally transferred to Fulham.
1 June 2001: Lee Conoville transferred to Torquay on a free transfer. He had had a short loan spell with Northampton before playing 112 league games for Torquay, scoring two goals.
1 June 2001: John Lukic retired from football. He is one of just a tiny number of players who have played top flight football across four decades. Others were Peter Shilton, Steve Ogrizovic and Sir Stanley Matthews.
1 June 2002: Sol Campbell, David Seaman and Ashley Cole featured in England’s 1-1 World Cup draw with Sweden.
1 June 2003: Philippe Senderos joined Arsenal from Servette having played 26 games in one season with the club. He went on to play 84 times for Arsenal across four seasons before moving on loan to Milan.
1 June 2007: Gilberto Silva captained Brazil against England, becoming the first and thus far the only Arsenal player ever to captain Brazil. In the last minute of the game Gilberto Silva provided the cross that allowed Brazil to score to make it 1-1.
1 June 2010: Aaron Ramsey signed a new long term contract having signed for Arsenal in 2008 and having made 27 league appearances in his first two seasons.
1 June 2010: Silvestre and Gallas left Arsenal at the end of their contracts. Silvestre moved on to Werder Bremen while Gallas went on to play for Tottenham Hotspur.
We have a number of copies of “Woolwich Arsenal the club that changed football” and “Making the Arsenal” available. Please see here for more details.