Following the introduction of the new offside law in the summer of 1925, Arsenal lost 7-0 to Newcastle. It was Herbert Chapman’s first year at the club and the story told by the somewhat unbiased Charlie Buchan, who played inside right in the game, and later went on to become a famous journalist, promoted his involvement in the affair above everything else.
Buchan’s story was that after the Newcastle game he sat down with Chapman and they (although primarily Buchan) evolved a new tactic of dropping the centre half further back so that he played between the two full backs.
In reality Chapman changed tactics half way through the game – which was 6-0 at half time, at a time when many other managers were also tinkering with the line-up. Indeed on this day we can see the result of one of the early experiments with the game Newcastle 1 Blackburn 7. After this match Newcastle changed their tactics, and exploited their new approach against Arsenal on 3 October. After the Newcastle defeat Arsenal did change their tactics and scored 26 goals in the next seven games – but it appears it was mostly a set of changes made by the manager, not the player.
9 September 1893: Arsenal’s first defeat in the league: Notts County 3 Woolwich Arsenal 2. Elliott and Shaw scored Arsenal’s goals making it one draw and one defeat in the opening two matches. Billy Heath (the man who scored football’s first penalty in the league) made his Arsenal debut. In the next game he scored Arsenal’s first ever hattrick.
9 September 1911: First game for George Grant. His career incorporated Woolwich Arsenal, The Arsenal and Arsenal, ending with the cessation of football for the first world war. In all he made 57 appearances and scored four goals.
9 September 1916: Arsenal played Tottenham at Highbury, in front of an impressive crowd of 10,000 for a match in the wartime league. It ended as a 1-1 draw.
9 September 1921: Charlie Chaplin returned to his home in London and was welcomed by huge crowds.
9 September 1922. Tim Williamson dropped as goalkeeper after a series of poor performances, with Arsenal having lost all four opening games conceding 10, scoring one. It was the first time Arsenal had failed to get a single point in the opening four matches. However Arsenal’s first eight games were against last season’s top four!
9 September 1925:Newcastle 1 Blackburn Rovers 7. It was a game that forced Newcastle to rethink their defence in the light of the offside rule changes. They did that and on 3 October beat Arsenal 7-0.
9 September 1931: Games were overshadowed by the death of John Thomson, the Celtic goalkeeper who died in hospital after fracturing his skull in a collision with Rangers forward Sam English in the match at Ibrox. On this day Arsenal played Birmingham City away, and still could not get their first win – the game ending in a 2-2 draw, Lambert and Hulme getting the goals
9 September 1933: Arsenal were home to Manchester City who had missed relegation by four points the previous season. The team included Jack Lambert for his third match in a row but the following month he was transferred to Fulham having played 143 league games for Arsenal and scored an amazing 98 league goals plus 11 in 16 Cup games.
9 September 1936: Arsenal played out a 1-1 draw with Brentford, making it four games and one win, and although the newspapers did not publish league tables this early in the season had they done so they would have found Arsenal sitting in 13th. It was Jackie Milne’s first match.
9 September 1969. Arsenal 3 Glentoran 0. Fairs Cup 1st round 1st leg. The start of the journey to the first Euro trophy. Graham got two of the goals and Gould the third, but only 24,292 turned up at Highbury.
9 September 1972: Newcastle 2 Arsenal 1 with a disappointing attendance of 23,849 perhaps fans realising how dull these teams had become – it took 20 minutes for a shot to get anywhere near the target and Arsenal played their off-side game. Just over a year after the double it was boring boring Arsenal
9 September 1976: Pat Howard signed Arsenal were using O’Leary and Simpson as their central defenders for the season, but with both out injured emergency cover was sought and Howard arrived from Newcastle.
9 September 1978: Arsenal lost 2-1 away to Nottm Forest after Brady had got matters going on six minutes with a 30 yard free kick to Stapleton who volleyed home. The game also marked the third and final league appearance of Jimmy Harvey. He moved on to Hereford in March 1980.
9 September 1981: Steve Gatting sold to Brighton and Hove Albion. Having only played 58 league games for Arsenal he went on to play 316 times for Brighton in the league, before ending his playing career with Charlton.
9 September 1981: Norway 2 England 1 in the World Cup stunned the nation leading Norwegian journalist Bjørge Lillelien to say, “Your boys took a hell of a beating” which became internationally famous. Sadly Bjørge died in 1987 aged 60 from cancer.
9 September 1987: Alexandre Dimitri Song Billong was born in Cameroon. One of 28 children, at 16 he moved to France and signed for Bastia becoming part of the team after one season, and was selected for France Under 16s. In 2018 he moved to Swiss team Sion.