“Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football” is the definitive history of Arsenal from its inception as a league club through to its first year at Highbury, and reveals dramatic elements of Arsenal’s early days that have never been revealed before.
“Making the Arsenal” is a journalist’s inside view of the events around Arsenal’s collapse in 1910 and the rescue that paved the way for the move to Highbury and the arrival of Herbert Chapman.
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By Tony Attwood
Losing at home to Leeds on the first home match of the season doesn’t really bode well, and tends not to make fans happy. Especially when the club had been doing rather well of late, and had won the opening game of the season 4-0 away. And it certainly gives the negative journalists something to get their teeth into.
But this was 2001, and the start of the 3rd double season – and that remarkable season in which Arsenal were unbeaten away throughout the whole campaign.
If ever there was a season opening that should say to fans and journalists alike, “don’t make predictions based on minimal data” this was it, but of course journalists will never let up – at least not when there easy abuse and negativity to be had.
But this was the team of Pires, Henry, Bergkamp, Ljungberg, Vieira, Edu, Wiltord… and they recovered quickly in the league, although the European campaign was a messy affair with three wins and three defeats in the opening six matches before Arsenal lost their second league game in November, again at home, this time 2-4 to Charlton.
Did we think we were doing another Double? No certainly not at that stage, but unlike the media who wrote Arsenal off, some of us did keep believing in Wenger.
21 August 1914: Army Order No 324 authorised the formation of a ‘New Army’ of six Divisions, manned by volunteers. The Eastern Command formed what became the 18th (Eastern) Division in September 1914, and it was this that Henry Norris joined as a civilian volunteer. The Division fought in the Battle of the Somme.
21 August 1917: The Corn Production Act became law, guaranteeing minimum prices for wheat and oats and a minimum wage for agricultural workers. It was in fact virtually a socialist bill passed by a very anti-Labour government in order to secure bread supplies in wartime.
21 August 1937: If the traditions were kept, Arsenal played the Reds v Blues pre-season game on this day, although I have no direct evidence. However we do know that on 16 September such a match was also played with the BBC broadcasting it.
21 August 1954: Last of 57 league appearances for Arthur Shaw. He later captained Gravesend to win the Southern League title in 1957/8 after being signed by manager and former gunner Lionel Smith. In 2015 an Arsenal fan living near Arthur, in California, found the Arsenal History Society page on Arthur’s life and passed it on to him, which I must say, seems to make all this research worthwhile
21 August 1962: Terry Neill took over as club captain of Arsenal for the match against Birmingham. He was 20 years and 102 days old, making him the youngest permanent captain of the club ever.
21 August 1969: Ian Ure sold to Manchester United for £80,000 having been replaced in the Arsenal team by the Terry Neill, Frank McLintock combination.
21 August 1976: Malcolm Macdonald made his league debut in Terry Neill’s first game as manager, against newly promoted Bristol City. Arsenal lost 0-1 at Highbury. The team however recovered losing just one of the subsequent eight.
21 August 1979: Having easily beaten Brighton away in the first game of the season, Arsenal took it easy at home to Ipswich and lost 0-2. Having been insulted by his manager (Robson) Allan Hunter scored the first on 22 minutes and set up the second in the second half.
21 August 1981. Frank Stapleton transferred to Manchester United for a ludicrous tribunal price of £900,000. He had played 225 games for Arsenal and went on to play 223 league games for Man U, but the tribunal never explained its decision.
21 August 1992: Perry Groves sold to Southampton for £750,000. Although he stayed there for two seasons he only played 15 games before moving on to Dagenham and Redbridge (4 games) and Canvey Island (1).
21 August 2001: Arsenal 1 Leeds 2. League Match 2 of the third double season – after a 4-0 away win on the opening day of the season as Arsenal went unbeaten away all season. Wiltord scored the Arsenal goal.
21 August 2009: Henri Lansbury loaned to Watford. He played 23 league games for the club and scored four goals before moving on to WHU for a further loan season. He eventually found success with Nottingham Forest playing 145 games with them before moving to Aston Villa in 2017.
21 August 2010: Arsenal beat Blackpool 6-0 after a new enlarged version of the Clock End clock was unveiled inside the Emirates Stadium, with the Highbury version placed outside the ground above the Chapman statue. Walcott scored a hattrick, Arshavin, Diaby and Chamakh got one each.
21 August 2013: Despite having lost their first league match at home, Arsenal beat Fenerbahçe 0-3 away in the first leg of the Champions League qualifier to make qualification certain and continue a remarkable series of away wins.
21 August 2016: Joel Campbell loaned to Sporting CP for the season. Although the season was a success, Joel then played in a 2017 summer international tournament for his country and was injured, taking him out of the side for at least the first half of the 2017/18 season.