Arsenal’s chaotic reporting of its own history

Quite why Arsenal has always had a slap dash approach to its own history is a matter of surmise – but it could be seen once again on this day in 1968 when Arsenal published a new handbook with completely false details about the club’s origins – and of course no source information to back up the claims.

This summer we’ve reviewed Arsenal’s election to the first division 100 years ago, and if you have not read that story either in its full form as part of the “Henry Norris at the Arsenal” series or in shortened form in the “100 Years” series on Untold Arsenal I do hope you will have time to have a look.

Certainly once the Hill-Wood family ousted Norris in 1927 they had no interest in retaining any positive stories about the man who rescued Arsenal in 1910, and their re-writing of history was helped by the bizarre histories written by Leslie Knighton and then Bernard Joy, both men associated with the club but both without any sense of historical accuracy.

Here are the anniversaries for today…

13 August 1911: Rioting took place in Liverpool as police and soldiers broke up a peaceful meeting of striking transport works.  Two days later two men were shot dead in the city by the military drafted in to keep the peace.

13 August 1920: The Restoration of Order in Ireland Act was passed meaning that IRA activists could be tried by court martial rather than in the criminal courts, and three days later a new Firearms Act was passed in an attempt to restrict the use of weapons – particularly those that had been retained by soldiers returning from the first world war

13 August 1934: Ken Friar born.  He started with Arsenal aged 12 and rose through the club to rose become Company Secretary in 1973. During this time, he took part in discussions between Arsenal and Tottenham about a stadium share at Alexandra Palace.  Between 1983 and 2000 he was MD of Arsenal.

13 August 1938: A Reds v Blues game (Arsenal vs Arsenal Reserves) took place on 13 August at Highbury, but no record of the score is available.

13 August 1966: Arsenal v Huddersfield pre-season friendly; George Eastham’s last game.  He was Arsenal captain between 1963 and 1966 and scored 41 goals in 223 matches before joining Stoke for whom he played in the 1971 and 1972 cup semi-finals against Arsenal.

13 August 1968: Arsenal’s new handbook announced that the club was formed in 1884 but “the project failed” and that the club was elected to division 2 in 1894.  The second claim was certainly false and no evidence or source given to support the first.

13 August 1976: Rijeka (Yugoslavia) 2 Arsenal 2 (Ross, Brady).  In the few press reports there were, Brady was particularly commended for his performance.

13 August 1980.  Clive Allen and Paul Barron sold to Crystal Palace, Kenny Sansom joining Arsenal.  Allen played three pre-season friendlies for Arsenal, but no league games before moving on.

13 August 1983: Aberdeen 0 Arsenal 1 (Talbot).  Part of a pre-season tour in which Arsenal won two and lost two.

13 August 1986: Waterford 1 Arsenal 1 (Allinson).  This was a low key pre-season match before George Graham’s first campaign with Arsenal as a manager, including games against Shamrock Rovers and Southend United.

13 August 1988.  Arsenal beat Tottenham 4-0 in a pre-season tournament at Wembley with Merson, Marwood (2) and Smith scoring.  In the other match Arsenal beat Bayern Munich 3-0 with Smith getting two and Dixon the third.  Tottenham lost again in their second game.

13 August 1994: Arsenal 1 Crystal Palace 3 (Dikov)  This was the Tony Adams testimonial and the end of the final pre-season for George Graham.

13 August 1996: Arsenal, instead of putting out a full first team, as Rioch had been doing through pre-season, put out a mostly reserve team to play Northampton in the final friendly – and lost 3-1.

13 August 1998: Isaah Rankin transferred to Bradford C for £1.3m.  He played just one league game for Arsenal.  He played in the league for ten years before moving into the non-league football, ending with Hendon in 2014.

13 August 2008: Arsenal defeated FC Twente 0-2 away in Third Round Qualifying Round of Champions League with goals from Gallas and Adebayor.  Aaron Ramsey made his debut as sub for Theo Walcott.

13 August 2010: Pedro Botelho loaned to Cartagena; Samuel Galindo loaned to Salamanca.  Neither player ever played for Arsenal, and Galindo had an amazing eight loan spells, and only played any league games in four of them. In 2018/19 he played for a Bolivian club, once more on loan.

13 August 2012: Ryo loaned to Wigan.  He played just four games for them, before later moving on loan again to FC Twente.


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