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Celebrating our most successful manager’s birthday

On this day in 1949 Arsenal’s reserve team were accused of smoking after the game.   These days such an accusation would be ignored by the club, perhaps because invented negative reports are so commonplace, but in 1949 Arsenal went on the attack and threatened to sue.  The newspaper backed down and wrote an apology.

Today is also the birthday of Arsenal’s most successful manager of all time, both in terms of the number of trophies and in terms of his percentage win rate in league games.  As ever we wish Mr Wenger happy birthday.  Our banner celebrating his “Football Should Be An Art” statement, hangs in Arsenal’s stadium at the clock end.

22 October 1902: Elijah Watkins, effectively Arsenal’s first chairman, writing in Football Chat magazine, suggested that a cat knocked over an ink bottle which made part of Arsenal’s minute book dealing with the early years of the club illegible, and so he tore the pages out.

22 October 1910: Millwall’s new ground at New Cross was opened by Lord Kinnaird, a friend of Henry Norris with whom he later went into business..  It was said that the ground was the most up to date in London, for although Chelsea’s sprawling terraces could cater for massive crowds, Millwall had evolved a new model which focused on having bigger stands and more seats.  And they had moved across the river to find the right location, preceding Arsenal’s move in the opposite direction by three years.

22 October 1920: Dr Jimmy Paterson joined Arsenal as an amateur.  He had won the league with Rangers, and been awarded the Military Cross in the war.  Yet in his memoirs, Arsenal’s manager Knighton portrayed this situation as him being reduced to playing “the brother in law of the club doctor” while he was refused permission by the chairman of signing “real” players.

22 October 1921: Huddersfield Town 2 Arsenal 0.  This was the third of four successive defeats for Arsenal.  Despite two wins in early November, Arsenal were wedded to the foot of the League.

22 October 1932:  Male returned to the team as Arsenal beat Liverpool 3-2 away.  The 9th game in an unbeaten sequence, and the club were still just warming up.  The next two games were won 8-2 and 7-1 as Arsenal moved to the top of the league.

22 October 1938:  Reg Cumner’s international debut – his first of three caps.  He certainly would have had more full caps had it not been for the war.  He was one of a handful of players who came through the Margate nursery and went on to play for their country.

22 October 1938: Despite the internationals on the same day (see above) the league programme continued and Ernie Collett played his first game for Arsenal since April to fill in one of the gaps, as did Gordon Bremner. A depleted Arsenal team beat Preston 1-0.

22 October 1947: Cliff Holton joined as an amateur from Oxford City initially as a fullback, but by the time he made the first team in 1950 it was as a centre forward.  His first game was on Boxing Day 1950, and he was in the team for our second post-war Cup Final in 1952.

22 October 1949: Arsène Wenger born. He became Arsenal’s first permanent non-British manager, the longest serving manager, the manager who won the most major trophies, the manager with the highest win rate for Arsenal, the record holder for FA Cup wins, and the man who delivered the Unbeaten Season.  For our birthday quiz see here.

22 October 1949:  After a reserve team match in Cardiff the South Wales Football Echo and Express reported that Arsenal players had been seen smoking after the match. In November Arsenal announced it was taking legal action against the paper, which immediately withdrew its accusations and apologised.

22 October 1952: Arsenal beat Hibs 7-1 in a friendly.  It was the first ever Arsenal match under floodlights which was televised – floodlighting still being a novelty. Roper scored five and Lishman the other two.

22 October 1963: Alan Skirton scored Arsenal’s first goal in European competition as Arsenal lost 3-2 to Staevnet.  John Barnwell got the other goal.

22 October 1977: Bristol City 0 Arsenal 2, with 25,497 at Ashton Gate.   After the home side had been called the “Butchers of Bristol” following a dreadful display in the Anglo Scottish cup against Hibernian, the referee decided to make himself man of the match, but then got confused and booked Nelson, Young, and Brady, although he did also find time to book Gow of City as well.

22 October 1991:  Arsenal drew 1-1 in Portugal with Benfica, but Benfica won the second leg to knock Arsenal out of Europe in the pilot year for the Champions League (which started fully next season).  Arsenal were the first English team allowed back into Europe after the Liverpool fans rioted at Heysel, and to go out at the first hurdle showed how far behind Europe we had slipped.

22 October 1997: Ian Selley transferred to Fulham for £500,000 (also quoted as 17 October in some sources).  He had played 42 times for Arsenal, and after a period also with Wimbledon, and loans to Southend he moved into non-league football.

22 October 2001: Bertie Mee died.  He managed Arsenal for 539 games – a number beaten only by Arsène Wenger.  But his win percentage was below that of Wenger, Chapman, Allison, Whittaker, Graham, Howe and Neil.  He won three major trophies – the same as Chapman – but fewer than Graham (6), and Wenger (10).

22 October 2002: Having lost to Everton on 19 October, Arsenal now lost to Auxerre, and then lost at home to Blackburn on 26 October making three defeats in senior competitions in a row – the worst run in 19 years.

22 October 2005: After only four wins in the first eight league games Arsenal started a run of four wins in five with the 1-0 defeat of Man City. Pires and Henry tried a trick penalty but failed to put in a shot; however Pires scored to secure the points.

22 October 2006: Arsenal made it six wins in a row with a 4-0 away defeat of Reading.  Henry (2), Hleb and Van Persie got the goals.

22 October 2014: Anderlecht 1 Arsenal 2 in the Champions League on Arsène Wenger’s 65th birthday.  Arsenal played Emiliano Martinez in goal having Szczęsny suspended and David Ospina injured.

22 October 2017: Arsenal beat Everton away 5-2 with goals from Ozil, Monreal, Lacazette, Ramsey and Sanchez.  During the season Arsenal also put five past Huddersfield, Everton (again, at home) and Burnley.

22 October 2018: A 3–1 victory against Leicester City saw Özil become the highest scoring German player of the Premier League era, with 30 goals

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