Remembering Len Julians. Arsenal man, and title winner in Kenya.

By Tony Attwood

As I have noted before, these anniversary files which we publish each day, reflect all aspects of life at Arsenal – players being born, joining the club, achieving things, leaving the club, and ultimately passing away.

Sometimes the snippets of information that we have are tantalising, as with Len Julians who was born on this day in 1933 and who played just 18 games for Arsenal, in the season 1959/60 after joining from Leyton Orient.

What Wikipedia tells us about him is that “Len left Millwall at the end of the 1966/67 season for a short spell in United States with Detroit Cougars where he became their Coach after a playing injury. He also had a spell as Manager of Gor Mahia in Nirobi Kenya, where he steered Taya toward winning three league titles in 1983, 1985 and 1991.   After retiring from football he ran a garage with former teammate Bryan Snowden in Meopham.”

But what on earth took him to Nirobi and what made him return to England after at least eight successful years there in order to run a garage?

What is interesting is that our article on the Arsenal History Society site, linked to below, has a number of comments that throw a little more light on the story, and verifies much of the detail we have.  And it is good to know he is remembered.

19 June 1913: Wally Hardinge joined from Sheffield United.  He was a first class cricketer scoring 33,519 runs and playing in one test match.  He played the two pre-war seasons at Highbury and the first post-war season and retired in 1921.

19 June 1921: The annual census was undertaken in Britain.  For the first time individuals in a household could make separate confidential returns if they wished rather than have the “head of the household” answer for everyone.

19 June 1933: Len Julians born.  His first club was Walthamstow Avenue, followed by Leyton Orient whom he joined in 1955. After 66 games and 35 goals, it was not surprising that Arsenal would come knocking.

19 June 1944: Death of Herbert Roberts aged just 39.  He worked as a trainer for Arsenal’s reserves and then joined the Royal Fusiliers in the war.  He died while on active service and was buried at Southgate Cemetery.

19 June 1998:  David Grodin signed from AS Saint-Étienne.  He only played one league game with Arsenal and went on a series of loans before being sold to the last of these: Dunfermline.

19 June 2001: Gio van Bronckhorst signed from Rangers for £8.5m.  He played 42 games for Arsenal before going on loan then permanently to Barcelona.  He ended his playing career with Feyenoord with whom he then moved into management, leaving them in 2019.

19 June 2007: Jeremie Aliadiere sold to Middlesbrough for £2m.  He played 78 times for them before moving on to Lorient.  In 2014 he moved onto the  Qatari side Umm Salal.  He appears to have retired from football in 2017, but apparently remains in touch with Arsene Wenger.

19 June 2009: Thomas Vermaelen signed from Ajax.  He went on to play 110 league games for Arsenal and became club captain, but then injuries struck and after the 2014 Cup victory (for which he was an unused sub) he moved to Barcelona.  He appears to have retired from football totally in 2017, when he got married.

19 June 2018: Bernd Leno was announced as signing from Bayer Leverkusen.  He started the season on the bench for Arsenal but after Cech was seen to be having problems with playing out from the back, Leno took over as the first choice keeper.

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