Say “1971” to an Arsenal fan, and if she or he knows Arsenal’s history a smile might well emerge, because in the late spring of that year Arsenal won the double, including a famous victory at Tottenham to clinch the title.
And yet, say it concerning the period just six months later and it would have been hard to raise a smile, for starting on 23 October Arsenal played five games in the league, won one and lost four, including on this day losing 5-1 to Wolverhampton.
The simple fact was that Mee had been seen as a stern leader the previous season, and had delivered the title and cup, but that act only worked with the compliance of the team. But the players were now mega-stars, and their own view of themselves changed. But Mee’s view did not. It was to be his downfall.
Three players were missing from the team – Kelly, McNab and Simpson, during this bad run. But on the other hand Roberts, Nelson and George were now in the team, which should have compensated to some degree.
Arsenal ended the season in 5th and as runners’ up in the cup.
Here are the anniversaries.
20 November 1909: A 2-2 draw concluded a terrible opening to the season with just two wins and three draws in the first 14 games. The result left Arsenal bottom of the 1st division, but with slightly better recent results than Tottenham and Bolton who were just above them.
20 November 1918: U-boats started to arrive off the coast at Harwich and were handed over to the Royal Navy. German warships started to be escorted to Scapa Flow.
20 November 1920: Arsenal scored 4 for the first time after the 1st world war beating Huddersfield 4-0 away from home. Pagnam got two, within a run that gave him seven goals in four games.
20 November 1925: Queen Alexandra of Denmark, Queen consort of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Empress of India, the wife of King Edward VII, died at Sandringham.
20 November 1926 saw the start of a run in which Tottenham lost 10, drew 3, won 2 and conceded 33 goals in 14 league games. Senior staff were sacked and new men, including George Hardy from Arsenal were put in to steady the ship.
20 November 1929: Dan Lewis won his final cap for Wales. He was one of seven first team goalkeepers that Chapman bought, played and sold during his time at the club.
20 November 1931: Frank Moss signed from Oldham for £3000 Frank took over from Charlie Preedy and was nearly ever-present for four years playing in the title-winning teams of the “triple” years (1932/3, 1933/4, 1934/5).
20 November 1940: Tim Coleman died. He left Arsenal when football stopped at the end of the 1914-15 season but later played non-league for Tunbridge Wells Rangers. He finally retired as a player in 1921 and then worked as a coach and manager for Maidstone Utd., before moving to the Netherlands.
20 November 1954: Jimmy Logie’s final game, (Manchester Utd 2 Arsenal 1) in a sequence of eight league games without a win.
20 November 1968. Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0; League Cup Semi Final. John Radford scored, as he did in the return leg which was a 1-1 draw, taking Arsenal through to their second consecutive final in the competition.
20 November 1971: Arsenal’s habit of letting in five continued in 5-1 away defeat to Wolverhampton. It was Arsenal’s third successive defeat just six months after winning the Double.
20 November 1973: Arsenal played a mid-season friendly against Mechelen of Belgium – a 2-2 draw with Hornsby getting both goals. The reason for the game is unclear but it may have been to help the finances (which is why Arsenal had played such games in earlier eras).
20 November 1984: Justin Raymond Hoyte born. He joined Arsenal in 1993, and went on to play 34 games for the club before later making his name with Middlesbrough. In 2015 he finally dropped out of the league and joined Dagenham and Redbridge.
20 November 1991: Pål Lydersen joined Arsenal from I K Start for £500,000. He played 16 games for Arsenal and made 20 appearances for Norway before returning to IK Start. He ended his career in 2000 playing for Molde FK, in Norway.
20 November 1999: Arsenal beat Middlesbrough 5-1. Overmars got three and Berkgamp two, to make it four wins and a draw in the last five. In the next match, Thierry Henry scored for Arsenal for the first time.
20 November 2009: Wojciech Szczęsny loaned to Brentford. He played 28 times for Brentford before returning to Arsenal.
20 November 2010: Arsenal lost 2-3 to Tottenham (Nasri and Chamakh scoring) making it two home defeats out of two in the month. However away from home Arsenal won three in a row.
20 November 2017. Sven Mislintat was appointed head of recruitment.