On this day in the 1942/3 wartime league Arsenal beat Aldershot 7-4. And the question might be asked, how did Arsenal let in four against Aldershot?
In fact Arsenal had had problems with the keeper’s position all season, and this was their sixth keeper in 13 games. Indeed the struggles they had with this position are shown by the opening game of the season in which Leslie Compton played in goal rather than at left back.
So who was the unfortunate sixth choice keeper?
He was Patrick Kelly (1918 to 1985), a Northern Irish keeper, who played once for his country in 1949, being on the losing side with the match being a defeat to Scotland 8-2.
After the war he joined Barnsley of League Division II, and stayed there until 1952 when he moved to Crewe of Division III (North), and after a season there he retired from football.
How he came to play for Arsenal, beyond the fact that clearly we were struggling all season to find any keeper who could turn out for the club, I regret I don’t know. But we must record also a positive note, for all three games he played were victories for Arsenal. After the 7-4 win over Aldershot we beat Charlton at home 3-0 and Southampton away 3-1.
Here are the anniversaries.
21 November 1888: Despite the first League season being underway since 8 September, the notion of two points for a win, one for a draw, as a way of working out who stood where in the table, was not agreed until this date! Before then, no one really knew who stood where in the League, and the 2 point method was considered highly contentious.
21 November 1914: League debut for Billy Blyth v Huddersfield, Arsenal losing 0-3. During the month Arsenal won 6-0 and 3-0, lost 0-3 twice, and drew 1-1.
21 November 1914: As part of a campaign by right wing newspapers to have football stopped the Times sent a reporter to Arsenal without the paper or the reporter realising he was witnessing a reserve game rather than a league game! His raging piece said that the crowd was tiny but still criticised those present for not volunteering for armed service. The result was Arsenal reserves 1 Chelsea reserves 2.
21 November 1916: The hospital ship HMHS Britannic was sunk in the Aegean Sea after hitting a mine. This was the largest ship to go down during the whole of the war.
21 November 1918: An Act of Parliament was passed giving women over 21 the right to stand for Parliament.
21 November 1920: The IRA shot the Cairo gang of fourteen British undercover agents in Dublin. In immediate retaliation the Royal Irish Constabulary opened fire on a crowd at a Gaelic Athletic match in Croke Park, killing thirteen spectators and one player and wounding 60.
21 November 1921: Arsenal beat Clapton Orient in extra time 2-1 in the semi-final of the London FA Challenge Cup. Meanwhile, amid discussions over the move towards the separation of Ireland from the UK, troops were sent in to restore order in East Belfast and as the violence spread.
21 November 1925: Having won their last two league games 5-2 and 6-1 Arsenal, now in 2nd position, played away to 16th placed Blackburn Rovers. Arsenal won again, with the result Blackburn Rovers 2 Arsenal 3, Buchan and Brain getting the goals with an own goal from Rollo completing the victory.
21 November 1931: League debut for Frank Moss in a 1-2 away defeat to Chelsea. This game was part of a series of nine games in which David Jack scored 13 goals, including at least one in every match.
21 November 1936: Arsenal ran out 5-3 winners against Middlesbrough. In three matches Arsenal had moved from just outside the relegation zone to fourth scoring 13 goals on the way.
21 November 1942: In one of the numerous errors in his book Bernard Joy reported on watching a match at Aldershot which ended 6-2. In fact it ended 7-4. It’s a detail, but when writing what was to be acclaimed as a definitive football history, it is an important one. Lewis got a hattrick in front of a crowd estimated at 10,000. Arsenal brought in a new keeper (Kelly) for his first match.
21 November 1945: Arsenal 3 Dynamo Moscow 4 – Stanley Matthews and other guests players turned out for Arsenal in this friendly played in such thick fog that no one really knew what was happening. 54.620 had to wait for the next day’s papers to hear that the Soviet team had won 3-4. See also here
21 November 1955: Rangers 0 Arsenal 2: the first appearance of Stan Charlton. It was a series that started through the work of Chapman due to his friendship with Bill Struth of Rangers. Struth had been at Rangers longer than Chapman at at Arsenal and had watched Arsenal grow from being relegation fodder into the dominant side in England.
21 November 1962: Alan Smith born. He won the league as Arsenal’s centre forward in 1989 (scoring the first goal of the final game against Liverpool) and 1991.
21 November 1970: Ipswich Town 0 Arsenal 1. League match 18 of the first Double season. Arsenal were now four points behind Leeds but with a game in hand. Jon Sammels playing his first game became the 16th and last player to be used by Arsenal – the lowest number ever for a season equalling the 1968/9 record.
21 November 1972: Having just been beaten away by Norwich for the first time, Arsenal lost to them again on this day, this time at home 0-3, in league cup quarter finals. 37,671 looked on in disbelief.
21 November 1987: Arsenal 0 Southampton 1. The first of a run of 11 league games in which Arsenal won 1, drew four and lost six. Only once in the 11 games did Arsenal score more than one goal.
21 November 1992: Leeds 3 Arsenal 0 – the first of four consecutive league defeats, and the start of an eight match sequence without a victory during which Arsenal scored just two goals. Allan Miller was the first Arsenal keeper to come on as a sub.
21 November 1995: Arsenal got one of only four wins in 15 matches during a dreadful mid-season run beating Sheffield W 4-2. This was the second and final time Arsenal scored more than three in a match in the season – both games ending 4-2.
21 November 1998: Arsenal lost 1-0 away to Wimbledon. It is part of a run of five without a win for the champions and part of a sequence of just one goal in four.
21 November 2006: A 3-1 defeat of Hamburg left Arsenal needing only to avoid defeat in final match to win their Champions League group
21 November 2007: An asteroid that circles the sun between Mars and Jupiter once every 4.23 years was renamed Arsène Wenger by the International Astronomical Union. It was previously known by the slightly less memorable name of 33179
21 November 2008: The BBC reported that William Gallas had his captaincy of Arsenal removed following a verbal outburst against other players. Almunia was given the captaincy for the next match.
21 November 2012: Arsenal secured their place in the next round of the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Montpellier.
21 November 2016: Arsenal lost 1-2 away to WBA to conclude a run of one win in five, a run that included a league cup defeat to Sheffield W, a 5-1 defeat to Bayern Munich and a 1-1 draw with Tottenham. Arsenal then recovered to have one defeat in the next 11.