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December 2019
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The ultimate proof of why sacking the manager is not always the best plan.

By Tony Attwood

If you ever read my ramblings on Untold Arsenal you might have noticed that I am rather wary of calls for a manager to be removed after a series of poor results.

Partly this is because of the lessons learned from history, for on this day in 1926 Arsenal slipped down to 14th in the league although by the end of the season the club did actually claw its way up to 11th.

Had it happened today there would have been howls of demands for the manager to go, but we can all be glad that if that did happen, the owners of the club took no notice.  The manager was Herbert Chapman and by the end of the season the club did have the compensation of reaching its first ever cup final.

Arsenal lost that final, and the following season remained mid-table, ending up 10th, and this time with no cup final.  That again, these days would be enough to lead to calls for dismissal, especially as in the following season (1928/9) the club came 9th and went out in the 6th round of the cup.  Progress?  What progress?

But the following year (1930) despite ending up even lower down the league (14th), the club reached its second cup final, and this time won its first ever major trophy.

The following year Arsenal won the league for the first time ever, with a record number of points.

Just imagined if the boo-boys (as Chapman called them) had had their way, and he’d been sacked.

Here are the anniversaries.

9 October 1897: Arsenal boasted a crowd of 14,000 for second time in the league, in a 3-0 win over Luton, perhaps reflecting anticipation among the crowd over the fact that Arsenal had beaten Luton 2-0 away the previous week.

9 October 1905: Arsenal beat West Ham 3-2 in the Southern Professional Charity Cup before going on to beat Tottenham and Reading to win the trophy.

9 October 1909: Arsenal 0 Nottingham Forest 1.  It made three defeats in a row, but at least the goal avalanche against the club (12 in the last two games) had stopped and there was a slight hope for better times.  G Fisher, the replacement keeper, played his second and last game for the club.  .

9 October 1910: Jack Crayston born.  He played over 200 games for Arsenal from 1934 to the outbreak of war winning the league twice and FA Cup once.  He became assistant manager to Tom Whittaker in 1947 and then took over on Tom’s death. He was the first manager since Herbert Chapman (appointed 1925) not to win the league and cup in his spell in charge.

9 October 1914: The Arsenal Football And Athletic Co Ltd became The Arsenal Football Club Ltd – as Henry Norris launched a new share issue continuing to sell the club to local supporters.

9 October 1915: A crowd of just 2500 turned up at Watford to see the home team beat Arsenal 1-0.  It was clear that wartime football was not a hit with supporters.

9 October 1919:  The FA which had been investigating Leeds City FC (previously managed by Herbert Chapman) stated that the club could not play its game against South Shields the following Saturday because of “irregularities” during the war.

9 October 1920: Having played three games without a win, Arsenal got a goalless draw at home to Bolton in front of 38,000. The local paper now got ever more angry with the Arsenal forward line and didn’t appreciate the lack of goals.

9 October 1926:  The extent of Chapman’s failure to maintain the club at the standard of his first season at Highbury was fully revealed as going into this game Arsenal still had not won away this season, and this continued against mid table Newcastle, with Arsenal losing 0-2.  Arsenal slipped down to 14th.

9 October 1971: After four league wins in a row Arsenal beat Newcastle 4-2 regaining the style and zest of last year’s Double team with Kennedy George, Radford, Graham and Armstrong all shining.  Newcastle’s goals, both from Macdonald came in the last few minutes, and in fact he could have had a hat-trick at the very end but for Wilson’s fine save.

9 October 1976: Steve Gatting made his first appearance as sub in Peter Simpson Testimonial.  He had joined Arsenal as an apprentice in July 1975 and became a professional footballer two years later.

9 October 1979:  Arsenal beat Ipswich Town 2-1 at Portman Road in front of 22,527.. Rix and Brady ran the show but the highlight was the Ipswich keeper throwing the ball out only for it to hit the ref on the back, it rolled to Hollins who passed to Sunderland who chipped the keeper.  A masterpiece.

9 October 2001: Frank McLintock announced an auction of his medals, shirts and memorabilia.  He said that he was not struggling for cash, but since the medals etc were in a bank vault he never saw them.

9 October 2009: Gavin Hoyte was loaned to Brighton for the season.  (See also hereAnd here  After leaving Arsenal for whom he only ever played one game, he played for Dagenham, Gillingham, Barnet and Eastleigh before moving to Maidstone United in 2019.

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