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Why match fixing in football only involved the players, not the directors

There were a series of match fixing scandals in the pre-first world war era, and at first the League did everything it could to ignore them, at one stage threatening to ban Henry Norris, the Arsenal chairman, from football, if he ever mentioned match fixing again.

But when the evidence was overwhelming the full blame was laid at the door of the players, and never once was it suggested that directors had been involved.

On this day in 1913 there was the start of one of a number of scandals – all of them involving clubs in the north west, and as ever it was the players who were blamed.

The final scandal came in the 1914/15 season and as a result of this, the League recompensed Chelsea, who were relegated as a result of the match fixing and a number of players were banned for life.

11 October 1880:  Birth of Jimmy Sharp who played over 100 times for Arsenal between 1905 and 1908.

11 October 1890: First recorded appearance of Jack Humble as an “umpire” (ie ref) v 93rd Highlanders.  Newspaper reports suggest that he should stick to administering the club, rather than try umpiring, which he did, becoming Woolwich Arsenal’s first chairman, launching the club into the League in 1893.

11 October 1899:  The Second Boer War started.  Overtime had been compulsory in most Woolwich Arsenal workshops from 1898 onwards and this, plus a rise in prices to watch matches had a serious negative effect on Arsenal’s crowds.

11 October 1902: Arsenal beat Bristol City 2-1 in front of highest league crowd thus far: 16000.  Gooing and Hunt scored.

11 October 1913: Frederick Groves signed as a pro, having played for Barnet Albion and Glossop North End before signing as an amateur player in August 1912.  On the same day Arsenal beat Huddersfield 2-1 away.

11 October 1913: After the Man U v Burnley match on this day there were allegations of a betting scam, and ultimately one Man U player was jailed.  But for several years the FA ignored both the complaints from Norris over the Liverpool match he witnessed and they were only forced to act in 1915 by the refusal of betting companies to pay up due to match fixing.

11 October 1919: Joseph Toner made his league début against Everton which Arsenal won 3-2.  He appeared at number 11, replacing FW Groves who moved to inside right. He got a run of 10 games at outside left before losing his place to CH Lewis.  See also here.

11 October 1924: Arsenal lost away to Huddersfield 4-0: an opportunity for Sir Henry Norris to meet Herbert Chapman and see his work in progress.

11 October 1930: In the pre-floodlight days, matches kicked off at 3.30pm up to this day, and then the starting time retreated until from November to January it was 2.30pm.  The 1930 Arsenal handbook gave the times for 1930/31 – one of the few places to print out the full details of kick off times.

11 October 1952: Arsenal 2 Sheffield Wednesday 2.  Arsenal were yet to show the form that ultimately won the title on the last day of the season, but the supporters clearly saw something positive happening, as 55,678 turned up.

11 October 1972: Jeff Blockley won his one England cap.  Unfortunately with the team starting to decline he failed to blossom as an Arsenal player and he left for Leicester in 1975.

11 October 1972: John Roberts transferred to Birmingham, having played 59 league games for Arsenal, scoring five goals.  After Birmingham he moved on to Wrexham for whom he played 145 times.

11 October 1975: After six without a win Arsenal beat Coventry 5-0 in the league.  The scorers were Cropley 2, Kidd 2 and Ball. Although it was a very poor season Arsenal did once exceed this score beating WHU 6-1 at home on March 20.

11 October 1976: John Devine signed as a professional.  By the time of the 1980 cup final he was chosen ahead of Sammy Nelson and was part of the Cup Winners Cup squad for the final, but his career was cut short by injury.

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