19 years ago today after a league match at Highbury, it was suggested that Mr Wenger, who until that moment had an utterly unblemished record as a manager, had indulged in violent or threatening behaviour against Mr Taylor, the fourth official at Sunderland. At the hearing Mr Wenger was given a 12 match ban. He appealed.
Even before the final hearing got under way the charge was reduced to “improper conduct” and at the second hearing he was just given a reprimand for putting his hand on the referee’s arm during a spot of player argument in the narrow Highbury tunnel. Wenger was not banned, officialdom was humiliated.
Taylor, the referee, however still argued that he was “manhandled” but players from both sides agreed that all Mr Wenger was doing was pulling Thierry Henry away from the incident. The FA accepted in the appeal that contact was “minimal”, and “not intended to be aggressive and not threatening or violent.”
As a result of the hearings it became clear that referee Taylor had lied in the hearing in terms of what he claimed against Wenger. Then Taylor himself was charged with misconduct for insulting comments to Notts County’s Sean Farrell during the game against Wigan on October 14. That was heard on 6 February 2001.
That case was found to be “not proven” after a four hour secret hearing meaning the incident had not been witnessed by more than one person.
But the referees’ association were clearly shaken by not getting its own way in such court hearings and it seems that these events triggered a series of actions by officials against Arsenal players which seem to show a clear bias by officials against Arsenal.
Here are the anniversaries – more details of this case can be found in the article from 19 August 2000 linked below.
19 August 1904: Woolwich Gazette reported Archibald Leitch was engaged in work on Manor Ground building refreshment bars utilising the back of the Abbey Wood End slope. It was probably the first job since the Ibrox disaster for the man who went on to design Highbury.
19 August 1939: On the eve of war Arsenal beat Tottenham 1-0 in a friendly. After three league games the season was abandoned and the league did not resume until 1946. In a reversal of the 1st world war, Arsenal spent most of the war years based at White Hart Lane
19 August 1946. Ray Daniel signed. Because of conscription he did not start playing for Arsenal until May 1949.
19 August 1956: Joe Wade left Arsenal to become player manager at Hereford. He had played 86 times for Arsenal, his only senior club.
19 August 1966. George Eastham transferred to Stoke for £35,000. He’d scored 41 in 223 games for Arsenal and transformed the legal basis of the retain and transfer system – which Woolwich Arsenal had originally established in a court case.
19 August 1969: Last appearance of Ian Ure in a 1-1 draw with Leeds. He had played 168 league matches for Arsenal, before moving on to Manchester Utd and then St Mirren.
19 August 1975: After a dire opening match against Burnley, Sheffield United 1 Arsenal 3 was much better although peppered with Sheffield appeals for penalties from the third minute onwards. Brady ignored the fuss and gave Arsenal the lead on the 34th minute with a shot from 30 yards. Sammy Nelson was sent off for handball in the 72nd minute, but Kidd made the game safe seconds from the end.
19 August 1978: John Kosmina played his first and last game for Arsenal as a substitute in the match against Leeds. He had transferred from Adelaide City earlier in the year and the following season left to play for West Adelaide Hellas. John Hawley, one of the brave heroic men of football, played in the game.
19 August 1989: In the first league match after winning the title in the last seconds at Anfield, Arsenal lost 4-1 away to Man U, but were undefeated in the next seven.
19 August 2000: Arsenal started their season at Sunderland with a 0-1 defeat. Arsène Wenger was falsely accused of violent and threatening behaviour towards the fourth official in a case that rumbled on and on for months to come. It was the start of a long continuing campaign by officialdom against Arsenal.
19 August 2006: Gilberto scored his first league goal for Arsenal and Arsenal’s first league goal at the new Emirates Stadium in a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
19 August 2011: Joel Campbell signed from Saprissa for around £1m. He played only eight league matches before Arsenal signed him, and then loaned him to Lorient.
19 August 2011: Jay Simpson sold to Hull City. He never played for Arsenal but had successful loan spells with Millwall, WBA and QPR. In 2019 he left Orient to play for Nea Salamina in Greece
19 August 2012: Arsenal confirmed that Alex Song sold to Barcelona, amidst rumours of a dispute with the management over tactics. He played 39 times for Barcelona before being loaned to WHU. By 2018 he was playing for Swiss Club Sion II.
19 August 2014: Besiktas 0 Arsenal 0: the first Champions League play off match Arsenal had failed to win. Ramsey was sent off for a second yellow card