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When Arsenal were deducted two points for a spot of argy bargy.

The events of this day in 1990 have always bemused me because for all the world it looked as if the Football League and Football Association were actually frightened of Arsenal and Manchester United.  Liverpool were clear favourites at the top of the league on the day when there was a sport of argy-bargy on the pitch in the Man U v Arsenal game, which Arsenal won 1-0.

Immediately the media set up a major furore calling the performace of the players disgraceful and demanding that the League take action to stop games degenerating into brawls.   In reality there was a bit of pushing and shoving but really not that much more than was seen in many games at the time.

So as a result the League deducted two points from Arsenal, much to the satisfaction of the media.  Quite where it says that this punishment can be handed down in the rule book was uncertain, but no one in the press box wanted to ask.  They were just delighted to have an anti-Arsenal story.

The fact that Arsenal eventually won the league, even with the two points deducted, spoilt it a bit for the powers that be, but they had shown Arsenal they were willing to do anything it took to ensure that the club knew its place.

Here are the anniversaires.

20 October 1905:  The earliest history of Royal Arsenal and Woolwich Arsenal known to have been written was published in the part-work, the Book of Football.  It was written by the club’s vice-chairman, Arthur Kennedy.

20 October 1906: A 1-0 win over Notts C gave Arsenal seven wins in the first nine; the club’s best first division start thus far.

20 October 1915: Women were officially permitted for the first time to act as bus and tram conductors.

20 October 1917: Arsenal drew 2-2 at Highbury with West Ham with a crowd of just 6000.  It meant that after their flying start to the season Arsenal had now gone four games without a win.   Meanwhile the London Council Council accepted the new education system which would give free schooling to all children up to the age of 14.

20 October 1919: The replay of the London FA Cup 2nd round resulted in Fulham 3 Arsenal 1.  The local paper bemoaned Arsenal’s lack of “firing power”, Arsenal having only scored 16 league goals so far – not ideal, but there were six clubs in the league which had scored less.

20 October 1920: Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst was charged with sedition after calling upon workers to loot the London Docks.

20 October 1923: Arsenal were 20th in the league and for their away game against Bolton (who were 3rd) played, perhaps for the first time, and offside game and surprisingly won won 2-1.   According to reports the Bolton crowd got so fed up with Arsenal’s tactics they started chucking cinders from the track between the crowd and the pitch at Arsenal’s goalkeeper.  The ref stopped the game and warned the crowd that he would abandon the match if this continued. Arsenal moved up to 17th.

20 October 1927: Eddie Hapgood signed from Kettering for £1000.  See also here.   It was reported that Chapman’s interview of Hapgood included questions about smoking and drinking.  After the interview he offered Kettering the fee plus performance bonuses and a friendly match in which Arsenal guaranteed to bring some of their star players.

20 October 1928: David Jack’s debut.  Newcastle 0 Arsenal 3.  (Thompson 2 and Brain scored).

20 October 1934: Arsenal had only won two of the last 13 games v Tottenham before this match in which Ted Drake became first Arsenal player to score a hat trick against Tottenham. The crowd of 70,500 was a new Highbury record as Arsenal won 5-1.  It was the third time Arsenal score 5+ in Allison’s opening 11 games. See also here  And again here 

20 October 1936: The UK’s Prime minister Stanley Baldwin confronted King Edward VIII about his relationship with the married (but soon to be divorced) Wallis Simpson.  The nation was agog.

20 October 1954: Arsenal beat Racing Club de Paris in the Armistice series of games originally instituted by Herbert Chapman.

20 October 1956: Manchester United were beaten on this day ending a run of 26 consecutive first division games without defeat.  It was heralded for many years as a feat that would probably never be equalled.

20 October 1958: Cliff Holton sold to Watford for £10,000.  Graham Taylor who was with Watford when Cliff Holton died, is quoted as saying, on hearing the news of Holton’s death, that “He looked younger [than his 67 years], fitter and there was so much to him…: an aura, a presence.”

20 October 1973: Arsenal drew 1-1 with Ipswich at Highbury, the crowd, 28,344.  Nine of the Arsenal starting 11 were lads who joined the club from school.

20 October 1976: Arsenal lost 5-1 away to Aston Villa.  Arsenal then went on and lost the next games 1-4 and 1-2.  In the fourth game Arsenal beat Birmingham 4-0. See also here

20 October 1979:  A pattern was emerging of lesser teams coming to Highbury with an 11 man defence.  Bolton had recently done it and on this day Stoke copied the idea. As a result three of Arsenal’s last four league games had ended goalless.  Since these teams bought virtually no away support, no one minded it started to become the norm.

20 October 1984: Ian Allinson started a run of 8 goals in 9 games as Arsenal unveiled their the first ever ‘big screen’ at an English ground.  Arsenal beat Sunderland 3-2 to retain top position in the league.

20 October 1987: Steve Morrow played his first senior game for the floodlight opening match at Barnet.  He went out on loan to Reading, Watford and Barnet, playing his first Arsenal game proper on 8 April 1992.

20 October 1990: Man U 0 Arsenal 1 – Arsenal deducted two points, after all the players except Seaman got involved in two minutes worth of pushing and shoving.  For reasons that were never made clear Man U were only reduced one point, and the punishment was not used again for this type of “offence”.

20 October 1993: Arsenal 3 Standard Liege 0; CWC 2nd round.  Wright (2) and Merson got the goals in front of 25,248.

20 October 2001: Arsenal 3 Blackburn 3.  League match 9 of the third Double season.  Pirès, Bergkamp and Henry scored.  It was the seventh consecutive match unbeaten as Arsenal regained top position.

20 October 2007: Arsenal’s seventh straight win in the league beating Bolton 2-0.  Rosicky and Toure scored. The unbeaten run lasted 15 games in all.

20  October 2016: Arsenal had a goalless draw with Middlesbrough, their second and last goalless draw of the season.  Yet despite much moaning this was not a hopeless season for goalscoring, as Arsenal scored four, five times, five, three times, and six once.  They also won the FA cup beating Chelsea.

2 comments to When Arsenal were deducted two points for a spot of argy bargy.

  • Joe

    The points and fine disparity was the day I turned on the English F.A. and the English media.Their blatant bias against Arsenal and towards Manchester United was on show for all to see. And considering THEY actually started it ( Denis Irwin threw the first punch ). Oh and don’t forget , no Manchester United player was booked either. Just disgraceful. But we won the league that year so up yours F.A, and the media.

  • Mark

    Has to be a record of sorts, winning the league having minus 2 points.

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