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December 2019
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Arsenal knocking in the goals in the wartime league.

The wartime game between Arsenal and Watford played on this day in 1944 is hardly remembered – if at all.  And yet it was an extraordinary season because out of 30 league games played, 16 contained four or more goals, including this defeat of Watford.  Notable highlights included Arsenal 6 Brighton 3, Fulham 4 Arsenal 4, Arsenal 9 Luton 3, Arsenal 5 Brentford 2, and Arsenal 8 Fulham 3.

The game on this day attracted a crowd of 7910, one of the lower crowds of the season.    The highest was 27800 for the away game with West Ham.

The anniversaries for today are printed below.


The website

An index of many of the series of articles on Arsenal’s history that we have run on this site can be found on the Arsenal History Society home page.

The books

“Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football” is the definitive history of Arsenal from its inception as a league club through to its first year at Highbury, and reveals dramatic elements of Arsenal’s early days that have never been revealed before.

“Making the Arsenal” is a journalist’s inside view of the events around Arsenal’s collapse in 1910 and the rescue that paved the way for the move to Highbury and the arrival of Herbert Chapman.

Both books are now available on Kindle and in print.    Please see here for more details.


The anniversaries…

18 November 1893: Burton Swifts 6 Arsenal 2 – the first time 8 goals were scored in an Arsenal game.

18 November 1895: Andrew Neill born in Kilmarnock.  He played for Kilmarnock, Galston, Stevenston United, and Brighton and Hove Albion before moving to Arsenal on March 13 1924.

18 November 1910: George Leavey had an article published in the Kentish Independent to say that Arsenal would not be leaving the area at the end of the season, in accordance with the agreement he had with Henry Norris.  In fact Norris kept Arsenal in Plumstead for three seasons.

18 November 1911: Arsenal 3 Sunderland 0.  It meant Arsenal had only lost one of the last eight, which certainly was a cause for celebration.

18 November 1913: Robert Benson joined from Sheffield Utd.  He played at left back through this and the final league season before the league was suspended, when he went to work at the Royal Arsenal.  On 19 February 1916 he went to a wartime match between Arsenal and Reading at Highbury and when Joe Shaw did not make it to the game, Benson took his place, although he had not been playing or training for a year.  He collapsed on the pitch in the second half and died in the changing rooms a little later of a burst blood vessel. He was just 33.

18 November 1914: Arsenal drew 1-1 away to Nottingham Forest in Division 2 in front of just 3000 fans.  Quite a contrast from the previous home game against Grimsby which Arsenal won 6-0 in front of 15,000.

18 November 1920: Freddie Cox born in Reading.  Aged 18 he signed for second division Tottenham and moved to Arsenal for £12,000 after the war in September 1949.

18 November 1922: Sunderland 3 Arsenal 3.  Voysey played not at centre half, but as inside right and scored two.  The left back Turnbull played at centre forward and scored. It was the first point after three consecutive defeats, with Arsenal scoring three goals in one game, whereas it had previously taken them five games to get this many.  But then five of the team were dropped for the return game and Arsenal lost 0-3 at home. This was also the last game for Arthur Hutchins.

18 November 1931: Cliff Bastin’s England debut, the first of 21 England caps.

18 November 1933:  With Arsenal and Tottenham neck and neck at the top of the League Arsenal beat Stoke at home 3-0 (Hulme, Dunne and John getting the goals) while Tottenham could only manage a goalless draw with Leeds away.   For Hulme who played at outside right it was only his second game of the season having been injured in the first match of the campaign.

18 November 1934: Racing Club de Paris 0 Arsenal 3.  See also here

18 November 1944: Arsenal 4 Watford 0 in the wartime Football League South in front of 7910, played at WHL.  Arsenal lost the next game 1-2 to Chelsea but then beat Luton 9-3. Curiously none of the players who scored in the Watford match also scored in the defeat of Luton.

18 November 1949: Death of James Sharp.   He moved into coaching after finishing his playing career, first with Fulham and later with Walsall of the Third Division North, and the N Ireland (then amateur) side Cliftonville who claim to have founded football in Ireland in 1879.  He died aged 69.

18 November 1954: Joe Toner died.  After leaving Arsenal he moved to St Johnstone but a broken leg forced him out of the game.  He then coached Coleraine in Northern Ireland for whom he did turn out once owing to injuries to other players.  He also played hurling and Gaelic football for Castlewellan GAC.

18 November 1960: George Eastham signed from Newcastle for £47,500.  Eastham made a breakthrough for players’ rights as great if not greater than that of Bosman by ending the awful “retain and transfer” system.

18 November 1961: Last league game for Jackie Henderson v Nottingham F.  A powerful forward, his misfortune was to play in a declining Arsenal team.  After 103 Arsenal league games he played for Fulham and later turned out for Poole Town in the Southern League.

18 November 1995: Tottenham 2 Arsenal 1 – during a period in which Arsenal won four games in 15.  Bergkamp scored, in the second of a run of three consecutive games in which he got a goal.

18 November 2004: Stuart Taylor who had won a champions medal in 2002, started his fourth and final loan spell – at Leicester City.  It lasted until 23 January 2005. In June 2005 he moved onto Villa as second choice keeper

18 November 2009: Eduardo signed a new “long-term” contract with Arsenal. He was really coming into his game at Arsenal when Martin Taylor’s wild and appalling tackle almost ended Eduardo’s career in 2008.  There were hopes he would recover his old form, but he ultimately was sold to Shakhtar Donetsk after just 41 league starts.

18 November 2011: Luke Freeman loaned to Stevenage.  He never played for Arsenal but later signed for Stevenage and played 109 league games for them.

18 November 2017: Arsenal beat Tottenham 2-0 with goals from Mustafi and Alexis Sánchez, this being Arsenal’s first win over Tottenham in the league since 2014.

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