How the role of the football journalist has inverted itself.

On this day in 1892 the man who wrote the column about Woolwich Arsenal FC in the Woolwich Gazette, issued a complaint about how everyone always disagreed with him.

How different that is from today, where the newspapers, broadcasters and bloggers all seek to find common ground and argue that Arsenal is in a desperate state and change is needed straight away.

It was quite possibly because of the complaining nature of the crowd at Arsenal from the start that journalists covering the club learned to adopt that view and just go with the flow.  Although there are occasions of the local papers in Islington proclaiming that they would not publish any more letters complaining about the way Arsenal were being run, simply because they received so many, and they all said much the same thing.

Here are the anniversaries…

30 September 1892: “Redshirt” who wrote Woolwich Football Notes in the Woolwich Gazette complained about his lot as a football journalist just one year into the job proclaiming, “No matter what you say, someone condemns you for a fool.”

30 September 1893: Arsenal let in six for the first time, in a defeat at Newcastle.  It was particularly disappointing after two fine wins in which the club scored seven and let in one.  But then in October Arsenal also lost 1-4 to Small Heath and 0-5 to Liverpool.

30 September 1912: Arsenal played Chelsea in a one-off match for the London Professional Footballers’ Association Charity Fund. The professional London clubs played one such game each year from 1908 to 1913 and the gate receipts, after deduction of expenses, were distributed to various institutions throughout London.

30 September 1913:  The Woolwich Gazette reported that the whole North stand Grandstand was gutted by fire which started at the refreshment bar, at the junction with the western end of the stand. It was apparently witnessed by more people than had seen the team play for much of the previous season!

30 September 1916: Arsenal lost away to Chelsea 3-0 in front of a crowd of 12,000.   That meant the club had won nil, drawn two and lost three of the opening games of the new season, scoring two goals and conceding seven

30 September 1919: Sir Henry Norris chaired a meeting of the London Borough of Fulham to elect the members of its Profiteering Committee following the passing of the Profiteering Act in Parliament.

30 September 1922: One week after Arsenal beat Tottenham at WHL in a game that led to a major enquiry by the League into crowd behaviour, the return match was played in front of 55,000 – a new record crowd for Highbury.  Tottenham won 2-0 and Arsenal sank to 19th in the league.

30 September 1933:  Jimmy Dunne signed for Arsenal and immediately played in a 6-0 win over Middlesbrough.  He was Chapman’s last big name signing and went on to score nine goals in 21 games that season.

30 September 1946: Arsenal’s Dr Kevin O’Flanagan and his brother played for Ireland against England.  He played for Ireland at both football and rugby, was also a sprint champion, scored for Ireland in a 1938 world cup qualifier against Norway and played both for Northern Ireland and for the Irish Free State.

30 September 1964: Archibald Devine, who played in the last game in Plumstead, died. He had 14 transfers; 11 clubs, 1 cap, 1 cup winner’s medal.  After his football career he worked as a miner and a docker.

30 September 1966: George Graham signed from Chelsea, Tommy Baldwin sold to Chelsea who also received £50,000 from Arsenal.  George Graham had played 72 league games for Chelsea scoring 35 goals and won the League Cup, in 1965.

30 September 1996: Arsène Wenger appointed as Arsenal manager (although some sources quote 28th and others 29th).

30 September 1995: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 0.  This was the first defeat for Bruce Rioch as Arsenal manager in the eighth league game.  The club recovered however and won the next two without conceding.

30 September 1997: Arsenal 1 PAOK 1.  Arsenal exited the Uefa cup in the first round losing 2-1 on aggregate.  However in the long term the defeat was forgotten as Arsenal went on to the semi-final of the League Cup, and to win the FA Cup and League Double for the second time.

30 September 1998: Arsenal beat Panathinaikos in front of second highest Arsenal home crowd ever as part of the experiment of playing Champions League games at Wembley.  Arsenal won 2-1.

30 September 1998: Laurie Brown died aged just 61.  He is remembered for signing for Tottenham from Arsenal and then playing for Tottenham against Arsenal the next day.  After leaving Tottenham he worked with several clubs as a player manager, and then manager in non-league football.

30 September 2005: Graham Stack cleared of rape after long running case.  He transferred to Reading, but continued a long series of loans before holding down a regular goalkeeping position with Hibs and then Barnet

30 September 2006: On his 10th anniversary Arsène Wenger led Arsenal to a 2-1 victory over Charlton and a third consecutive victory and one of five wins in a row.  Van Persie got both goals

30 September 2011: Almunia loaned to West Ham.  In 2012 he moved to Watford, for whom he played 76 games before retiring on medical advice, after a rare heart condition was picked up during a medical with Serie A side Cagliari Calcio.

30 September 2011: Arsenal chairman Stan Kroenke reported as saying “Arsène Wenger is one of the greats – he will be in charge for as long as he wants.”

30 September 2018: Alexandre Lacazette won Arsenal’s player of the month vote.  He also won goal of the month for his goal against Everton in a 2-0 home victory.


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