As history shows, fortunes in football can change very rapidly indeed

That fortunes can change in football very quickly has always been apparent, but few changes were more puzzling than the collapse of Arsenal in the early months of the 1935/6 season.  Arsenal had just won the league three times running, and in the final of those three seasons Arsenal had not just won by a comfortable four points from Sunderland in second place, they had done it by scoring 25 goals more than Sunderland – the second-highest scoring team in the league.

And yet the following season Arsenal collapsed to sixth, getting just 45 points from 42 games.  And on this day in 1935 they lost to Brentford who were playing their first-ever season in the top flight – a defeat that made it just one win in the last five for Arsenal.

But as it turned out, it was a temporary blip.   Arsenal did win the FA Cup in 1935/6 beating Sheffield United 1-0 in the final, and in the next season, 1937/8 Arsenal were back on top of the league, champions for the fifth time since 1930.

Here are the anniversaries…


2 November 1889: Royal Arsenal 4 Unity 1 (London Senior Cup).  This match was the start of Royal Arsenal’s journey to the LSC cup final (which was lost against Old Westminsters).  Meanwhile on the same day…

2 November 1889: Arsenal reserves beat Lewisham 9-1 on their way to Arsenal’s first ever silverware.

2 November 1895: W R Elcoat (Arsenal’s second manager) had a letter published in Los Angeles Sporting Life, as chairman of the Cleveland and South Durham Baseball Association.

2 November 1907: Arsenal 5 Sheffield U 1 (division 1) although some sources wrongly have the Woolwich Arsenal v Chelsea match on this day.  It was the fifth league game in a row without defeat for Arsenal.

2 November 1918: Arsenal returned to winning ways with a 1-0 home win against QPR.  6000 were present, in the wartime league. Although not the same level of interest as against Tottenham and Chelsea in recent weeks it was double the crowd for the last QPR game.  Meanwhile however it became clear that in the last week 2,200 deaths from flu were recorded from flu in London alone.

2 November 1924:  The Sunday Express became the first newspaper in the world to publish a crossword, complete with instructions on what one had to do.  At least for Arsenal fans it might have proved a diversion from the football: Arsenal had won just one of the last five games.

2 November 1928: Ray Daniel born.  He started at his local club Swansea Town and in 1946, as clubs prepared for the first post-war championship he was signed by Arsenal.   His elder brother had also played for Arsenal but died in the second world war aged 18.

2 November 1935: The result Brentford 2 Arsenal 1 left the three times consecutive champions with just five wins in the first 15 games.  It was Arsenal’s first ever game in the league against Brentford, last season’s champions of division 2.  They had only played each other in the 1902 preliminary rounds of the FA Cup. It was Ray Parkin’s last game.

2 November 1936: The BBC launched the world’s first regular television service.

2 November 1946: Bernard Joy played his last league game; it ended Arsenal 2 Sheffield Utd 3.  It was Arsenal’s eighth defeat in 13 league games.

2 November 1974: Arsenal 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0, with a crowd of 27,572. Eddy Kelly asked for a transfer, Jimmy Rimmer asked for an assurance that Shilton wasn’t going to be signed, and Arsenal managed to avoid defeat for two matches running for the first time since getting a couple of draws in September.

2 November 1977: Trevor Ross sold to Everton for £170,000.  Of his last match (a reserve game) Ross claimed Terry Neill said, “You, Off. You don’t want to play for this club so get off.”  His comment thereafter was, “So me being me and the attitude I had took off my shirt and threw it in his face.”

2 November 1977: Alan Sunderland transferred to Arsenal for £220,000.  He made 23 appearances in the rest of the season and scored four goals, playing alongside Brady, Macdonald, Stapleton and Rix.

2 November 1983: Martin Hayes turned pro having joined Arsenal as an apprentice in 1982 playing centre forward and left wing.

2 November 1984: Man U 4 Arsenal 2 as Arsenal’s run at the top of the league ended and instead started a run of just two wins in six.   Allinson and Woodcock scored the goals.

2 November 1991: Arsenal 0 West Ham Utd 1.  Michael Thomas’ last game. It started a run of one win in five.

2 November 1996: Wimbledon 2 Arsenal 2 .  A run of 10 games unbeaten left Arsenal top of the league.  Wright and Merson got the goals.

2 November 2010: Benik Afobe went on loan to Huddersfield Town where he played 28 games and scored five goals before moving on to Reading.

2 November 2013: Goals from Ramsey and Cazorla gave Arsenal a 2-0 win in the league over Liverpool to make it nine league games without defeat since the highly questionable 1-3 defeat to Aston Villa at home on the opening day of the season.

2 November 2017: Arsenal drew 0-0 with Red Star Belgrade at home in the Europa League having won the previous three games.  Willock and Nelson both featured in the starting line up. With the club already having lost to Stoke and Watford there were mumblings about Arsenal’s inability to beat smaller sides.

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