This day in 1937 marked the start of the final triumph of the glorious 1930s. Between April 1930 and April 1938 Arsenal won the league five times and the FA Cup twice, also coming runners’ up in the league once and beaten finalists in the league once.
But this was not just the work of Herbert Chapman, although he did indeed set the ball rolling with two league titles and an FA Cup. Joe Shaw took over from Chapman upon his death, and finished that season with another title, before George Allison then became manager and added a further two league titles and another FA Cup.
And we should not forget the great goalscorers that marked the era: Jack Lambert who got 39 in 1930/31, while often being booed by the Highbury crowd, Cliff Bastin who got 33 while playing on the wing in 1932/3 and Ted Drake who got 44 goals in 1934/5. On Thierry Henry with 39 in 2003/4 can compare with those figures, although van Persie came close.
4 September 1891: Fred Pagnam born. He was one of those rare men who while playing for Liverpool refused to be involved in the match fixing scandal of 1915 and testified against Liverpool at the subsequent hearing. Not surprisingly Liverpool sold him as football resumed in 1919.
4 September 1893: First game for Frederick Davis -a friendly against Doncaster Rovers. He went on to play 137 league games for Arsenal – the only league club he ever appeared for.
4 September 1915: Arsenal played their first ever wartime game in the London Combination – against Tottenham, winning 2-0 at Highbury in front of 14,819 fans. Beale, of Man U played in goal as a guest player, allowable under the wartime rules.
4 September 1922: Ernie Williamson played in the 1-4 defeat to Burnley. He kept his place for the next game – a 1-4 defeat to Cardiff, and that was his last match for Arsenal.
4 September 1923 Jock Rutherford – the oldest man ever to play for Arsenal, joined the club for the second time, after a short period managing Stoke. Even after leaving Arsenal aged 41 he went on to play for Clapton Orient.
4 September 1926: Jimmy Dunne played his first game for Sheffield Utd… a 4–0 win against Arsenal. It would have been the first time that Chapman saw the man who became his last big money signing.
4 September 1937 – Arsenal beat Wolverhampton 5-0 to give a dream start of three straight wins and 12 goals, but then it started to go wrong with just one win in the next five. Arsenal recovered however and went top on 19 February 1938, and then on to win the league.
4 September 1946: Football League resumed at Highbury after the war although this match (Arsenal 1 Wolverhampton 6) showed that Arsenal were not the powerhouse they had been before the war.
4 September 1948: First game for Doug Lishman. He had served in the Royal Marine Commandos during the Second World War and took part in the Walcheren Island landing in Holland. He signed as a professional for Walsall after the second world war in August 1946 and in May 1948 moved to Arsenal for £10,500.
4 September 1956: Final match for Don Roper. He got two league winner’s medals, and played as a regular for Arsenal until 3 December 1955 – his final match being a 1-2 home defeat to Preston on 4 September 1956. He played 321 matches for Arsenal in total, scoring 95 goals.
4 September 1963: WBA 4 Arsenal 0. This made it three defeats in the opening four games with a goal record of scored six, conceded 16. The result left Arsenal 21st out of 22 – with the 22nd team having a game in hand!
4 September 1965: Arsenal had played four, drawn two and lost one but worse was to come with a 22 match sequence with only two wins in the second half of the season, incorporating the infamous 0-3 defeat to Leeds in front of 4,554 spectators on May 5. But everyone knew, long before that, that Wright’s days were over.
4 September 1968: Jim Furnell sold for £8,000 to Rotherham United having played 167 league and cup matches for Arsenal. He moved to Plymouth Argyle in 1970, retiring from playing in 1976. In 2003, Jim Furnell was named as goalkeeper in Plymouth’s greatest all-time team, by the club supporters.
4 September 1971: West Bromwich Albion 0 Arsenal 1 in front of 29,922. The pre-match talk in the press was about there being bad-feeling between Don Howe, now managing West Brom, and his former team-mates, but after the game that was forgotten amidst the relief that Roberts had scored his first ever goal for Arsenal.
4 September 1975: Walley Barnes died aged 55. Towards the end of his playing career he was also manager of Wales, and then moved on to work for the BBC, and was a commentator on the very first edition of Match of the Day in 1964.
4 September 1979: Arsenal’s biggest league cup win beating Leeds 7-0 after a 1-1 draw at Elland Rd. Alan Sunderland got a hat trick and Liam Brady scored two penalties, Nelson and Stapleton were the other scorers.
4 September 1984: Newcastle, who had had a perfect start to the season, lost 2-0 to Arsenal, a result which led onto that of 8 September when Arsenal went top Division One for the first time since February 1973, after a 3-1 win over Liverpool.
4 September 1986: Perry Groves signed from Colchester whom he had joined in 1981. He played 142 league games for them and scored 26 goals before moving for £50,000: the first Arsenal signing of George Graham.
4 September 2000: Igors Stepanovs signed from Skonto Riga for £1.35m as cover for the injured Tony Adams. He had played 129 times for the team. He retired in 2011 having played 100 times for Latvia and became manager of the national under 17 squad.
4 September 2009 Johan Djourou underwent surgery on his left knee cartilage after an injury on international duty. Apart from one game he did not feature again until 2011. He was last spotted playing for SPAL in the Italian first division in 2018/19.