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November 2020
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Football history is full of strange rises and falls

by Tony Attwood

Having studied a bit of football history over the years I would always say, “don’t predict tomorrow in football, because of what happened today.”

For example, the footballing world was fairly shocked when Leicester won the League in 2016 and journalists jostled with each other for hyperbole.  “The greatest footballing story of all time” was the general run of the mill headline.

But in fact, unusual turn ups are much more common than most journalists think, and it is only their lack of grasp of history and a desperate desire to sensationalise everything that makes them run such sensational headlines.

We’ve talked before about Manchester City being champions one season and then getting relegated the next.   But today’s annivesary of an Arsenal match against Everton, reminds me of that club’s exploits.

In 1930 they came bottom of the 1st division and were relegated to division 2.  In 1931 they won the 2nd division, and the following season (1932) won the 1st division, beating Arsenal, the dominant team of the decade, into second place.  Arsenal bounced back in 1933, and Everton sank to 11th, sinking further to 14th the following season.

I mention this as on this day in 1932 Arsenal met the champions and beat them 2-1, as Everton gradually slipped from grace.

Curiously they had another quick rise right at the end of the decade, finishing just three points off the relegation places in 1938 and then winning the league title by four points in 1939.

Here are the anniversaries.

24 September 1894: While today games through the season are all competitive, in the 1890s many were friendlies.  The result on this day, Arsenal 6 Renton 1 was Arsenal’s 4th friendly of September. Meanwhile they had also played four league games.

24 September 1904: Arsenal 2 Wolverhampton 0. Charlie Satterthwaite scored Arsenal’s first ever goal in the first division, after three goalless games.

24 September 1908: Eddie Hapgood born in Bristol, the ninth of the ten children. He left school at 14, and worked in his brother’s milk round business while playing for St Philip’s Adult School Juniors, in Bristol.   He was then spotted by a director of Bristol Rovers and given a trial but not liking the contract he opted for Kettering Town.  See also here

24 September 1910: At a moment when Arsenal desperately need something to help them out of their financial crisis the score was 0-0 in a home draw with Sunderland, meaning Arsenal had played five, won none and scored two goals.  It was not going well.

24 September 1930: The first performance of Noël Coward’s comedy Private Lives featuring Coward, Gertrude Lawrence and Laurence Olivier in the cast. The play has been revived regularly ever since.

24 September 1932: Arsenal met Everton, last season’s surprise champions, and beat them 2-1.  The result took Arsenal up to second and left Everton, 11th

24 September 1938:  Arsenal drew 0-0 with Aston Villa to make it two wins, three defeats and two draws in the opening seven games with five goals scored.  Arsenal were 15th and in every way, Arsenal’s domination of football in the 30s was coming to an end.

24 September 1955: Signing of, and first game for Gordon Nutt.  Gordon made his début within a couple of hours of signing in a 3-1 away defeat at Sunderland.  It concluded a seven match run without a victory.

24 September 1965: Anders Limpar born.  He started out with IF Brommapojkarna, followed by Örgryte, and then Young Boys Bern.

24 September 1977:  Steve Walford first game; Norwich 1 Arsenal 0.  He had signed from Tottenham, for whom he had played two games, and went on to play 77 league games for Arsenal.

24 September 1996: Borussia Monchengladbach 3 Arsenal 2. Arsenal went out of the Uefa cup in the 1st round having lost by the same score at Highbury.  Bergkamp was injured early on; Wright and Merson scored for Arsenal.

24 September 1997: Arsenal beat WHU 4-0 to make it 3 wins and 3 draws thus far.  The Independent wrote, “Brilliant Bergkamp humbles Hammers.”  8th league game of the 2nd Double Season   The second double: part 1, part 2, part 3.

24 September 1995: Steven Burtenshaw fined £10,000 for his part in the George Graham bung scandal.  He stayed at the club until 1996 when Bruce Rioch took over.

24 September 1999: Stuart Taylor loaned to Bristol Rovers for whom he played four games.  He had further loans to Crystal Palace, Peterborough and Leicester City.

24 September 2003: Six Arsenal players charged by FA after a 0-0 at Man U, (quite probably with “failing to allow Man U to win despite the refs best efforts”).   Lauren, Keown, Vieira and Parlour banned.

24 September 2010: Arsenal suffered their first league defeat of the season after six games – a 2-3 home loss against WBA.  Nasri got both goals. Arsenal then lost their next game 2-0 away to Chelsea.

24 September 2011: A 3-0 defeat of Bolton (with Van Persie (2) and Song getting the goals).  It was only Arsenal’s second win in six during which they had scored 11 and conceded 12. The next game was a defeat to Tottenham.

24 September 2016: Arsenal beat Chelsea 3-0 to make it four wins in a row and seven goals in the last two games.  Alexis, Walcott and Ozil scored all in the first half while two Chelsea players were shown yellows but no Arsenal player was carded.  No one could remember when such a card total had happened previously.

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