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When Arsenal sacked their manager part way through pre-season

Sometimes pre-season games can be enough to show the board that the manager is not going to be able to deliver during the coming nine months.   And so it was on this day in 1996 when for the last time to date Arsenal sacked their manager, leaving the club theoretically managerless for the rest of the pre-season.

Except there seemed to be someone waiting in the wings.

Also on this day, one year ago, Unai Emery oversaw his first match of the season – away to Manchester City.

Here are the anniversaries.   Details of all the data and series on this site and of our books are shown on the home page.

12 August 1917: Frank Boulton born.  He started out with Bristol City, before moving on to Bath City, from where he was transferred to Arsenal for £700 in October 1936. He then played in the 1937/8 title winning team

12 August 1933: Winston Churchill made his first speech warning of the dangers of German rearmament.

12 August 1949: In a fitting benefit match for Dennis Compton Arsenal played Middlesex county cricket club… at cricket… at Highbury. Exactly as his brother did in 1955.

12 August 1977: First appearance of Pat Jennings in a friendly v Luton.  Reportedly he played for the under 18 team of Shamrock Rovers while aged 11, and then moved across to Gaelic football returning to Association Football with Newry Town before moving to Watford in the third division in 1963.  And then Tottenham.

12 August 1978: In the final pre-season friendly Arsenal played a 1-1 home draw with Crystal Palace, Stapleton scoring.

12 August 1984: Armenia Bielefeld (West Germany) 0 Arsenal 1 (Anderson).  The third of five pre-season games.

12 August 1989: Arsenal lost 1-0 to Liverpool in the Charity shield.  Arsenal had won the league in the last couple of minutes of the season, but Liverpool got a tiny amount of revenge.

12 August 1994: Goalkeeper Alan Miller transferred to Middlesbrough for £500,000.  He played just nine games for Arsenal and had three separate loan spells before going on to play 57 times for Middlesbrough.

12 August 1996: After four consecutive pre-season defeats against Birmingham, Celtic, Rangers and Fiorentina, Bruce Rioch was sacked as Arsenal manager.  The only victory came in the opening game against St Albans City on 19 July – 6-0.

12 August 1996: Stewart Houston took over the management of Arsenal and immediately oversaw a 1-3 away defeat in a pre-season friendly against Northampton. He later left to be manager of QPR with Rioch as his assistant.

12 August 2007: Arsenal continued their unbeaten run from the end of the previous season by beating Fulham 2-1 in the opening day’s game Van Persie and Hleb scoring.  Arsenal played 19 more games before facing defeat – in the Champions League.

12 August 2012: Arsenal beat Koln 4-0 in the final pre-season friendly having lost to Man C and drawn with Kitchee with the match in Nigeria being cancelled.

12 August 2015: Following goalkeeper Josh Vickers’ release on 10 June 2015, he signed for Swansea City.

12 August 2018: Unai Emery’s first league game as Arsenal manager – against the  reigning champions Manchester City.  Arsenal lost 2-0..

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