There has been a tendency for the last years of Arsene Wenger’s time at Arsenal to be painted as downhill all the way, but in fact there was a lot to get excited about in those final years – including the winning of the record number of FA Cups both for the manager individually, and the club. Indeed as the anniversary notes for this day in 2015 show, Arsenal were pretty much on the up. Alexis Sanchez in particular was in fine form, scoring 24 goals in 36 league starts – a remarkable record. Curiously the season ended with a 4-0 thrashing of Aston Villa – exactly as it had the season before, although this time the result was achieved in the league. In 2014/15 it had been in the FA Cup.
Here are the anniversaries.
17 October 1902: Fergus Hunt rejoined Arsenal from WHU. However he only played three games before moving on to Fulham. Later he played for Burton United and Shildon Athletic and retired from football in 1907.
17 October 1919: With Sir Henry Norris having declared that he had now retired from local politics there were signs that Fulham’s Municipal Reform Party that he had represented for so long was falling apart. With elections about to happen there was no list of candidates, no propaganda posters, and no meetings. The value of having an administrative genius on the team was perhaps at last perceived.
17 October 1921: Arsenal played in the first round of the London FA County Cup against Barking Town, and with mostly the first team playing were 0-2 down at half time in front of 4500 fans at a packed Vicarage Field. Arsenal eventually recovered to win 5-2 with goals scored by Butler, White (2) and Baker (2).
17 October 1922: The first hunger march set out from Glasgow heading for London – which had a major impact on politicians who seriously feared a civil uprising.
17 October 1924: Herbert Lawson was signed from Luton Clarence as an amateur. He turned professional on 26 November, and made his debut on 3 February 1926 as Chapman worked his way through every player on the club’s books as he tried to find a replacement for Sid Hoar, whose injuries at the end of the year had stopped his progression.
17 October 1925: Arsenal were at home to Cardiff who were 20th in the league and had a defence pretty much to match. Brain scored his second hattrick in three games, Neil and Blyth getting the other two as Arsenal won 5-0. The same XI as had played the previous four League games were played again as Arsenal embedded the new system to cope with the changed offside law.
17 October 1931: Bolton got their second away point of the season in a 1-1 draw with Arsenal at Highbury. But attention was elsewhere as news came through that Everton had beaten Sheffield Wednesday 9-3.
17 October 1936: Bob John played his 15th and final game for Wales
17 October 1936: Arsenal scored their first away goals of the season beating Charlton 2-0, a win that lifted them to 14th. Davidson and Dennis Compton got the goals.
17 October 1947: Thomas Fitchie, the only man to be signed five times by Arsenal, died. He was a travelling salesman with Jacques & Co, a sports goods and games manufacturer. They encouraged his football career as an amateur as it allowed them access to the clubs and the players who were his team mates. See also here
17 October 1953: A 2-5 home defeat to Burnley on this day followed a 4-1 away win at Tottenham, and this in turn was followed by a 5-1 away win at Chelsea.
17 October 1970: Arsenal 4 Everton 0. A hammering of the champions served notice that there was something special about this team. League match 13 of the first Double season. Arsenal up to second. See also here.
17 October 1972: Six months after injuring his knee, Bob Wilson came on as a substitute for the second half in a testimonial for former Arsenal and Plymouth keeper Bill Harper which ended 1-1. When Harper signed for Arsenal, Chapman broke the goalkeeper transfer record by paying £4000 for him. In December 1931 Harper was transferred to Plymouth, and upon his retirement stayed with the club as a trainer, groundsman and general helper.
17 October 2000: John Lukic became the oldest player to appear in the Champions League v Lazio. By drawing 1-1 Arsenal secured their place in the second phase after just four matches and Arsenal eventually ended up top. First and last appearance for Julian Gray and Brian McGovern
17 October 2015: Arsenal beat Watford 3-0 away, in front of 20,721, with goals from Ramsey, Sanchez and Giroud. It meant Arsenal had scored 11 goals in the last three league games, with Alexis Sanchez having scored seven goals in the last four games in all competitions. It also raised hopes (fulfilled as it turned out) of beating Bayern Munich in the next match.