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September 2020
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Arsenal’s title winning keeper who kept signing, but hardly played

Richard Wright is remembered as a backup goalkeeper in the Arsenal title winning team of 2001/2, playing 12 games – enough to get him a medal.  He made his debut on this day in 2001.

Later in his career he was with Manchester City, but despite four years with the club as a player, never once played.  However it seems that at the time he was learning his trade as a goalkeeper coach, and I think he may well still be at Manchester City in this role.

Indeed his last few clubs as a player all had a minimal amount of time on the pitch.  In 2010/11 he played two games for Sheffield United, in 2011/12 one game for Ipswich Town, later in 2012 he signed for Preston, but didn’t get a game, and then had those four years in Manchester.

Here are the anniversaries…

29 September 1894: First game for Roy Buchanan, a 4-2 win over Manchester City.   This was in a period in which Arsenal, having lost the first three games of the season, scoring 3 and conceding 11, then went on to three consecutive wins, scoring 13 and conceding six.  See also here.

29 September 1900: League debut for Frederick Coles, in a 1-0 win over Chesterfield.  His previous teams are listed as Nottingham Post Office, Notts County, and finally Nottingham Forest

29 September 1911: Bernard Joy was born in Fulham.  He played university football and then went on to play for the amateur side Casuals and won the FA Amateur Cup in 1936 plus ten caps for England amateurs.   He was captain of the 1936 GB Olympics team.

29 September 1917:  Sir Henry Norris spotted at Highbury for the 0-1 home reverse to Chelsea – his first visit for a long time, due to his ever rising commitments in organisation conscription at the War Office.

29 September 1919: First senior game for John (“Jack”) Butler.  He had played for Fulham Thursday (known in some reports as Fulham Thursdays), Dartford and Fulham although different sources disagree on the order in which he played for those clubs.  He signed for Arsenal as a reserve in 1914.

29 September 1919: Arsenal played Tottenham in a friendly – Tottenham won, 1-0 with 10,000 in the ground. Although relations between the two had been strained because of Tottenham’s protests at Arsenal’s move north, Tottenham’s crowds had subsequently risen because of  the new rivalry, and Tottenham had played their wartime games at Highbury.

29 September 1922:  The first of two articles by Sir Henry Norris (Arsenal chairman) was published saying that he was withdrawing completely from public life in Fulham because of the demands of the local party, and the fact that he had received threats against his life as a result of his promotion of the Ready Money Football Betting Bill.

29 September 1924 (or shortly after) Arsenal made an offer to Preston North End of £4500 plus Bob Turnbull, (who had been transmuted from a full back to a centre forward), in return for Preston’s and England’s forward Tom Roberts.  He had scored 118 goals in 199 games. It was an example of how the manager was not limited to a maximum fee of £1500 per player (as stated in his autobiography).

29 September 1934: Jimmy Dunne transferred to Arsenal.  He played the next day in the 6-0 win over Middlesbrough, despite forgetting to take his boots with him.

29 September 1948: First game for Arthur Shaw after a transfer from Brentford.  He also played for England Amateurs, and won the league with Arsenal in 1952/3.

29 September 1951: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 1.  The game is noteworthy because of the variation in crowds reported.  Ollier has 68,164 while Newkey-Burden in “Gunners Lists” (a book which acknowledges Ollier as a source) has 72,164.  That figure would make this the third highest crowd to see a home league match for Arsenal.

29 September 1952: Leslie Compton’s final game.  All Stars 4 Arsenal 2. The benefit match for Arsenal goalkeeper Alex Wilson.  Lishman and Logie (with a penalty) scored for Arsenal.

29 September 1962: Birmingham 2 Arsenal 2 (both goals from Geoff Strong).  Final game for Gerry Ward. He left Arsenal in July 1963 and went to Leyton Orient having played 84 times and scored 10 goals.  He had one season at Orient where he was an almost ever present but left Orient and played instead first for Cambridge City and then Barnet as well as being Barnet’s manager in 1973.

29 September 1969: Ray Kennedy’s first appearance.  As an apprentice he was rejected by Sir Stanley Matthews at Port Vale, returned to the north-east, played amateur football and worked in a sweet factory before being spotted two years later by an Arsenal scout.  The game ended Glentoran 1 Arsenal 0 (13000).

29 September 1973:  Everton 1 Arsenal 0, 31,359 in the crowd. Alan Ball claimed that this was the worst game he had ever played in, and that he had a stiff neck from watching the ball pass through the clouds for much of the game, as Everton experimented with an early version of the approach that later made Wimbledon famous.

29 September 1982:  Having lost to Spartak Moscow 2-3 Arsenal hoped to turn the score around in the second leg.  However on this day Arsenal lost 2-5 and Arsenal were out in the first round.

29 September 1993: Arsenal 1 Odense 1 as Arsenal headed to the CWC final.  Campbell scored the goal, with the Odense equaliser coming in the 86th minute, but Arsenal held on to go through 3-2 on aggregate.

29 September 1994: Arsenal 3 Omonia 0 as Arsenal got through the 1st round of the CWC.  Wright got two and Schwarz the third to give Arsenal a 6-1 victory over the side from Cyprus.

29 September 2001: Richard Wright debut in a 2-0 away win against Derby.  He had just one season with Arsenal but made just enough appearances to qualify for a league winners’ medal.  This made it just one defeat in first seven of the season; League match 7 of the third Double season.

29 September 2002: Arsène Wenger in an interview described his side’s approach as “Total Football”.  Arsenal had just beaten Leeds away 1-4, in a run of the first nine games of the season in which they won seven and scored 24 goals.

29 September 2004: Rosenborg 1 Arsenal 1 (Ljungberg).  Arsenal had already beaten PSV Eindhoven and looked set fair for the next stage of the Champions League. They made it but not quite how with the victory that they might have hoped for.

29 September 2007:  Top of the table Arsenal made it a perfect September beating WHU 1-0.   The discussion in the build-up to the game concerned a revelation that the late Danny Fiszman had asked Arsène Wenger what he’d do if the club gave him £100 million to spend on players.  The manager said he would hand it back.

29 September 2018: After losing the first two games of the season and talk in the media of Arsenal fighting relegation, a 2-0 win over Watford on this day made it five consecutive league wins, with 12 goals scored. And the highest scores of the season were yet to come. In this game Bernd Leno made his League debut as a substitute after Petr Čech came off injured. Arsenal ended the month in fifth, having been 17th after two games.

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