During the autumn of 1912 it was no secret that Woolwich Arsenal were preparing to move out of their Plumstead ground, and a number of journalists took to stalking Henry Norris, the club’s chairman, in the hope of spotting where the new ground would be.
On this day in 1912 Athletic News, a journal which normally got its facts right, and which in subsequent years became very supportive of Sir Henry Norris’ approach to football and his desire to expose match fixing, felt they had a good fix on the new ground – at Harringey Park.
They were of course wrong – the club moved to Highbury – and it would be fascinating to know how it was that on this occasion the magazine got it’s facts wrong. It is possible of course that they did Norris a favour by talking up the wrong site on purpose in order to deflect attention away from the real site – or maybe Norris misled them by having his car parked near Harringey Park while he took the bus to Highbury.
Either way, it would not be long before the true location was revealed.
Here are the anniversaries on this day. There is more on the story of the move via the link for 1912 below.
21 October 1893: Arsenal lost 1-4 to Small Heath. It was the second in a run of three games in which they conceded 15 goals.
21 October 1912: Athletic News announced, wrongly, that Arsenal would move to Harringey Park the following summer. The most likely explanation for the false story in the magazine that was rarely wrong about such matters, was that Henry Norris had been spotted as he toured the area looking at possible sites, although it also is quite possible that Norris deliberately had his car parked at the site, in order to mislead trailing journalists, having had his driver drop him off earlier in Highbury.
21 October 1922: Arsenal were away to Newcastle who were 10th (Arsenal 18th) but with only one point between them. With Milne and Roe making their first appearances of the season and Hopkins his second, Arsenal got a 1-1 draw, Hopkins getting the goal.
21 October 1925: John Barley signed for Arsenal. He never really made progress at Highbury and on 3 May 1929 transferred to Reading after just eight first team games with Arsenal.
21 October 1939: Arsenal beat Charlton 8-4 in the wartime League south “A”.
21 October 1961: Arsenal beat Manchester United 5-1; the biggest win over Man U at Highbury. Skirton (2) Eastham, Barnwell, Ward got the goals in front of 54,099
21 October 1967: Ian Ure won his final Scotland cap. He played 11 times for Scotland and four times for the Scottish League.
21 October 1970: Sturm Graz 1 Arsenal 0. With Arsenal playing in four competitions and using the first team throughout the media were full of the “too many games,” view and Arsenal’s immediate demise on all fronts was predicted. Curiously it didn’t happen like that.
21 October 1972: Although Bob Wilson was now fit after his long lay off, he didn’t come straight into the Arsenal team, but had to wait for five more games before regaining his place. The first of these “Wilson in waiting” games ended Crystal Palace 2 Arsenal 3. Playing without Ball, Arsenal moved into an end-to-end approach, attacking in numbers with the ball, withdrawing in numbers when the ball was lost.
21 October 1978: Arsenal 1 Southampton 0, Brady got the goal. With just one win in the last four this was a relief, but better it was the start of a 10 match unbeaten run including seven wins ending with Tottenham 0 Arsenal 5 when Brady scored a goal that is still (quite rightly) celebrated. See also here
21 October 1998. Arsenal drew 1-1 with Dynamo Kiev with the club’s 7th highest home crowd of all time. Bergkamp got the goal and Silvestre scored an own goal
21 October 2001: Death of Bertie Mee. In 1986 Bertie Mee had returned to football and become the general manager of Watford FC. He remained a director there until 1991.
21 October 2008: Fenerbahçe 2 Arsenal 5. Adebayor, Walcott, Diaby, Song and Ramsey scored. It meant Arsenal had nine goals in the last two champions league games but it was the only time they scored five in the season. Curiously for at least the next 11 years Arsenal did not play on 21 October again.