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The first Arsenal floodlit match over 100 years ago, and Tony Adams first game

5 November contains a mixture of curious Arsenal anniversaries.   The first report of an Arsenal floodlit match – in 1889! – Arsenal bottom of the league in 1921 with the local press pointing out that abuse of players and the manager is not a constructive argument (clearly the message didn’t sink home), and the last time Arsenal scored three or more in five consecutive matches for over 50 years.

It is also the anniversary of the first time Tony Adams played for Arsenal’s first team.  It wasn’t a good start however as Arsenal lost 1-2.   Little did we (or I suspect he) know what was to come.  Two 1st Divsion titles, two Premier League titles, three FA Cup winners’ medals, two league cup winners’ medals and a Cup winners’ Cup winning medal.  Not a bad haul.

Here are the anniversaries for Guy Fawkes Day.

5 November 1889: One of the earliest reports ever of a floodlit game.  Woolwich Arsenal was not involved but the club followed the idea of stringing gas lights across the pitch soon after –  and it soon spread to other clubs.

5 November 1909: Frank Moss born in Leyland.  He is recorded as being registered first for Leyland Motors FC – a club which at the time just played friendlies rather than being in a league.

5 November 1914: Britain annexed Cyprus and declared war on the Ottoman Empire.  As a result Cyprus still drives on the left while the rest of the region drives on the right.

5 November 1918: William Hayes Fisher, MP for Fulham, was made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister of Information, leaving his seat available for Sir Henry Norris to contest.  Meanwhile the Allies’ conditions for an armistice and the proposals for demobilisation were set out as cease fire discussions were now under way.

5 November 1921: With Arsenal bottom of the league the Islington Daily Gazette reported it could not publish the letters it received about Arsenal because of the law of libel.  Meanwhile ex-ref Arthur Bourke, their regular football correspondent, reminded readers that “abuse of officials and players is not argument.” But on this day the result gave some relief: Birmingham City 0 Arsenal 1.

5 November 1923:  Despite his relationship with his local political party having completely broken down, Sir Henry Norris attended the retirement celebration for Peter Lawson, who had worked for many years collecting the rates in the Borough.  It was a typical Henry Norris decision, and explains a lot about why the men in power disliked him so.

5 November 1932: Following the 8-2 win one week before Arsenal beat Wolverhampton 7-1 away.   Arsenal thus scored 3+ goals for the fifth league match running – a feat not repeated under 2008/9.  This was also the first saturday after the underground station opposite Highbury had its name changed, but there was no game – not even a reserve game – to draw extra crowds to the newly named Arsenal (Highbury Hill).  That lack of a match was unusual, and may have been agreed to allow for more time to change the signs in and around the station over the weekend without crowd disruption.

5 November 1932: Vic Groves born.   Like Danny Clapton he started out at Leytonstone, before moving on to Walthamstow Avenue, a club that had a number of links with Arsenal.

5 November 1935: Arsenal signed Ronnie Westcott, a centre forward from Banbury Spencer, the Oxfordshire amateur club playing in the Birmingham Combination.

5 November 1937: Ray Bowden transferred to Newcastle for £5000 – an interesting profit for a player who was moving down a league and was starting to have injury problems with his ankle.   In all he played 138 matches for Arsenal and scored 43 goals. See also here.

5 November 1952: Jimmy Logie’s sole appearance for Scotland.  However he was more valued by Arsenal, playing 296 league games and winning the league twice and the FA Cup once with the club.

5 November 1956: Arsenal played the British Olympic team, 20 years on from Bernard Joy captaining the British Olympic side.

5 November 1958: Last international appearance for Jackie Henderson.  He played seven times for Scotland but only scored one goal.

5 November 1973: Arsenal played a friendly away to Portsmouth and lost 2-1 Radford getting the goal.   The match was to commemorate Portsmouth’s 75th season in the Football League. 8859 turned up.

5 November 1977: Alan Sunderland’s first match, a 2-1 away win against Manchester Utd.  Macdonald and Stapleton got the goals in a run of six league games without a defeat.

5 November 1983: Tony Adams league début v Sunderland.  (“Building of the Back Four“)  Arsenal 1 Sunderland 2.  Tony Woodcock scored – it was his eighth goal in three consecutive games.

5 November 1987: Tom Parker died aged 89.  After the war he worked as a ship’s surveyor for Lloyd’s in Southampton Docks.  He also managed Norwich during two separate spells, and worked as chief scout for Southampton, finally retiring in 1975.

5 November 2001: Arsenal 4 Man U 0 in the league cup;  Wiltord scored a hat trick. It was the first and last appearance for Rohan Rickets and Carlin Itonga.

5 November 2005: Arsenal beat Sunderland 3-1 to go third despite suffering three defeats in first 8 games.  Van Persie scored the opener and Henry the other two.

5 November 2011: Arsenal beat WBA 3-0 with goals from Arteta, Vermaelen and van Persie, making it just one defeat in 11 consecutive games – a real improvement after a start to the season that included the 2-8 defeat to Manchester United.

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