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How the FA tried to cheat an Arsenal player out of compensation for an injury


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Although we tend to think that fake news is a modern concept, there are signs it existed as early as 1926.  Arsenal’s Tom Whittaker, who later went on to be Arsenal manager (winning the League twice and FA Cup once with the club), had gone on a tour of Australia with an FA XI, but had been so badly injured that he was unable to continue his playing career.  The FA refused to compensate him for this loss of his livelihood, although there could be no doubt that the injured had occurred in an FA match.

Sir Henry Norris was very voluble in his denunciation of the FA, and so the FA persuaded the Daily Express to run an article saying that the player had been handsomely compensated for his injuries.

Subsequent events showed that this was totally untrue, and it was Sir Henry’s exposure of the FA’s perfidious behaviour that heightened their determination to get their revenue upon him, as they did a couple of years later.

Here are the anniversaries for this day.

6 December 1885.Angus McKinnon was born in Paisley.  He played with the junior league team Petershill in the north of Glasgow and there are suggestions Angus signed for Heart of Midlothian and then Carlisle United in the Lancashire Combination before going to Woolwich Arsenal in May 1908.

6 December 1886: Working through the events of the winter of 1886 we can conclude  that the Secretary of the newly formed Dial Square FC, having seen an advert requesting fixtures in “The Referee”, wrote to Eastern Wanderers on this day to fix up the club’s first game.

6 December 1902: Sandy Main’s last league game in a 0-2 away defeat to Small Heath.  He played his final game on 23 March 1903 away to Brentford in a 1-0 victory in the London League Premier Division.

6 December 1913: Arsenal 1 Leeds City 0 and Chapman’s first visit to Highbury.  Before he was to become Arsenal’s manager, Leeds City would be ejected from the league and Chapman banned from football for life.

6 December 1916: The King asked Lloyd George to form a government in co-operation with Bonar Law.  As a direct result the first Ministry of Labour was set up on 11 December.

6 December 1918:  Following a proposal from Henry Norris, the London Combination decided to ignore the FA’s rules on not paying players, and also decided to set up the London Combination Victory Cup – which ultimately led to the first huge row between Arsenal and Fulham.

6 December 1919: 50,000 came to Highbury for the first time to see a 1-1 draw with Chelsea.  It was also the day on which the programme referred to the club on its cover for the first time simply as “Arsenal”.rather than “The Arsenal”.

6 October 1921: The Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed giving independence to the Irish Free State but members of the legislature (Dáil) were required to swear an oath to the king and as republicans would not do this, so they never took their seats.

6 December 1923: The Conservatives held the Fulham parliamentary seat previously held by Sir Henry Norris.   But the vote for the party had declined by 25% in just four years. Indeed by 1933 Labour had taken the seat, getting nearly 60% of the vote. It shows that the electorate had been voting for Sir Henry, not the party.

6 December 1926: Responding to Sir Henry Norris’ attack on the FA for its treatment of Whittaker the Daily Express ran a piece stating the FA’s position, that Whittaker had been treated “handsomely” and claiming that it was the FA and not Arsenal who had been paying Whittaker’s wages from the date of the injury until the settlement, (ignoring the fact Arsenal had taken him on as trainer of the reserve team and thus they had been paying him, not the FA).  The Express as the FA’s propaganda unit – who would believe it!

6 December 1930: Arsenal v Grimsby abandoned due to fog.  It was replayed on January 28th 1931 with the result  Arsenal 9 Grimsby Town 1.  Matches that were played on 6 Dec included Derby County 6 Chelsea 2 and Sunderland 6 Liverpool 5.

6 December 1941: Brighton 2 Arsenal 3 in the London (wartime) League.  That made it four straight wins for Arsenal in which they scored 15 goals as the club  headed towards being champions of the League.

6 December 1955: Tony Woodcock born in Nottinghamshire.  He started with Nottingham Forest in 1974, joining their first team in the 1976/7 season and working under Brian Clough wherein he was a major force in the drive to win the League, League Cup and European Cup.

6 December 1978:  Arsenal drew with Red Star Belgrade 1-1 draw, thus forcing Arsenal out of the Uefa Cup – their first venture into Europe in eight years.

6 December 1982 George Graham became manager of Millwall, at a time when they were bottom of Division 3.  They avoided relegation that season and in 1984–85 they were promoted to the Second Division.

6 December 1997: Arsenal beat Newcastle U away 1-0 in a sequence in which the club won only two out of eight but still went on to win the Double for the second time.  (Game 17)  The second double: part 1, part 2, part 3.

6 December 2003: Leicester 1 Arsenal 1.  With no Henry, no Vieira, and Cole sent off for wild challenge Arsenal managed to secure a draw in the 15th league match of the unbeaten season.

6 December 2011: Olympiacos 3 Arsenal 1.  Arsenal put out a much changed team and with Fabianski injured on 25 minutes, Mannone took over.  Rosicky gave Arsenal the lead but Mannone had a difficult night thereafter.

6 December 2014: Stoke City scored three in the first half (including one in the fourth minute) and appeared to have scored a fourth before the ref changed his mind.  Cazorla and Ramsey scored in the second half to leave it 3-2 to Stoke.

6 December 2016: Basel 1 Arsenal 4 in the Champions League.  As a result of this and PSG’s results Arsenal won the group and on 12 December were drawn against Bayern Munich in the round of 16.

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