In both the world wars the Football League was rearranged as a regional affair, with clubs permitted to use loan players where their own players were unable to play for their own club.
In the season 1944/45 Arsenal played in the Football League South and on 12 occasions in that season used Stan Mortensen of Blackpool.
Having signed for Blackpool in 1941 he had yet to play a league match for the club, but watching his performances for Arsenal the Blackpool management must have been looking forward to the resumption of the normal activities as they saw their man knock in 18 goals in those 12 games to become Arsenal’s top scorers. And if that were not enough he played in five of Arsenal’s games in the Football League Cup (South), and scored another seven there.
But even this wasn’t Arsenal’s record scoring feat in the war years for in 1941-2 Reg Lewis played 23 league games and scored 42 goals.
After the war Mortensen played 317 games for Blackpool and scored 197 goals.
Here are the anniversaries…
2 December 1899: Arsenal 2 New Brighton Tower 0 – NBT were one of the clubs created to fill a stadium – but never succeeded in doing so. They resigned from the league in 1901.
2 December 1907: The Professional Footballers’ Association set up. The first football union was set up in 1898 but ran into difficulties. The PFA was then set up to replace it and became the longest surviving sports person’s union in the world.
2 December 1916: Tottenham played Arsenal at Highbury, even though the game was designated a home match for Tottenham, as their ground had been taken over for the testing of Enfield rifles. A second “home” match for Tottenham against Arsenal was scheduled for 6 April 1917, was however played at Clapton Orient’s ground.
2 December 1922: Frank Bradshaw’s first game. He became a pro with Wednesday and won the FA cup with the team before moving to Northampton in 1910, and then Everton, where he played 66 league games and scored 19 goals. Arsenal lost 3-2 to Birmingham.
2 December 1922: Andrew Kennedy’s first game. He must be counted as one of Knighton’s better signings coming from 3rd Division South team Crystal Palace, and at the end of his first season for Arsenal, winning two caps for Ireland. See also here
2 December 1926: Martial law in the UK was ended having been introduced on the outbreak of the General Strike.
2 December 1933: Arsenal 2 Liverpool 1 making it 8 wins and two draws in last 10. Hulme and Dunne scored
2 December 1936: Ted Drake scored three for England v Hungary. In all he played just five games for England but scored six goals in those games. Male was captain.
2 December 1936: Ray Bowden’s last game for England. In all he won six caps for England, and was one of the seven Arsenal players who played for England against Italy in the Battle of Highbury match, which England won 3–2.
2 December 1944: Arsenal 9 Luton Town 3 in the Football League South wartime league. Stan Mortensen on loan from Blackpool got three – a feat he bettered on Jan 27 when he got four in the 8-3 defeat of Fulham. In 12 games this season he scored 18 goals.
2 December 1967: Pat Rice made his debut as a sub in 1-0 loss to Burnley but had to wait until 1970/71 to become a regular in the first team.
2 December 1970: Arsenal 4 Beveren Waas 0; Fairs Cup 3rd round 1st leg. Kennedy 2, Sammels and Graham got the goals.
2 December 1972: Arsenal beat their main rivals Leeds Utd 2-1 at Highbury with 39,108 in the ground. Ball got a penalty and Radford the other.
2 December 1978: Arsenal beat Liverpool 1-0 in front of 51,902. Paisley, manager of Liverpool, then launched a tirade against the referee for having the temerity of booking Souness after he started a fight. Brady, O’Leary and Young were booked for retaliating. Newspapers questioned why TV had edited out a number of the more extreme tackles from Liverpool. Today the press never criticise TV editing and a manager criticising a ref would be punished. But not then, and certainly not with Liverpool.
2 December 1995: Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 1 – one of four draws in a row, in the mid-season collapse. Platt got the goal in a sequence of just four goals in five games.
2 December 2003: Fabregas became the youngest Arsenal player ever to score in the League Cup as Arsenal beat Wolverhampton 5-1. First and last appearance for Michal Papadopulos.
2 December 2009: Man City 3 Arsenal 0 (league cup). Five Arsenal players were booked in the match.
2 December 2017: Arsenal 1 Manchester Utd 3. Having knocked in five against Huddersfield the week before Arsenal lost at home to Man U – their first home defeat of the season. However in the next match Arsenal beat BATE Borisov in the Euoropa 6-0 to make it 12 goals in 3 games. It then took the club 8 games to score another 12.