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Today marks the anniversary of the death in 1940 of Arsenal’s greatest ever goalscorer in 1940: Jack Lambert.
He struggled at first to make his mark on the Arsenal team but went on to achieve the most incredible scoring feats, scoring 98 goals in 143 league and cup games. But despite this he was often booed and jeered by the crowd, a tragedy that gives us an insight into the long-running negativity of supposed Arsenal supporters.
He was part of Chapman’s great team that took Arsenal to prominence in the 1930s, winning the league twice and the FA Cup once. After that he was manager of Arsenal’s nursery team, Margate.
Here are the anniversaries…
7 December 1886: The most likely date for Eastern Wanderers to have agreed to play Dial Square in what was to be the forerunner of Arsenal’s first match
7 December 1889: Royal Arsenal lost 1-5 to Swifts ending the club’s first FA Cup run. Swifts had reached the cup semi-finals in 1874, 1876 and 1886. In 1890 they merged with Slough Albion & Young Men’s Friendly Society, to form Slough FC which later became Slough Town.
7 December 1896, Arsenal 1 Aston Villa 3. This was a benefit match for Joe Powell’s family after he died having been injured playing for Arsenal against Kettering.
7 December 1889: Kentish Independent comments that while in the past they would never dream of covering football now “there is probably no subject so much talked about around us.”
7 December 1889: Edward Williams joined the club. He only played for the club through the rest of the 1889/90 season and made it to five games scoring three goals.
7 December 1903: Arsenal lost 3-1 at home to Millwall Athletic in the final season of Arsenal in the London League Premier Division. It was Arsenal’s first defeat in the League. The crowd was given as “Moderate”.
7 December 1909: Henry Norris, acting as Mayor of Fulham, helped the Church Commissioners save face after there was public uproar over the Church’s decision to rent its land in a residential area to an oil storage company. The event undoubtedly led to a rapport with the church which Norris used in his favour when renting Highbury.
7 December 1911: Ronnie Rooke born. He started out with Crystal Palace in the Third Division South, playing 18 games and scoring four times before going to Fulham in the Second Division in 1936 scoring 57 goals in 87 league games, including all the goals in Fulham 6 Bury 0 in the FA Cup.
7 December 1912: League debut of Frederick Groves v Derby. He had played for Barnet Albion and Glossop North End before signing as an amateur player in August 1912, turning pro 14 months later.
7 December 1914: Having entered the competition for the first time in 1908/09 Arsenal reached the final of London Challenge Cup for first time, losing 1-2 to Millwall.
7 December 1918: Arsenal lost at home to Tottenham 0-1 in front of 12,000 – a small crowd due to freezing temperatures and the flu epidemic. It was most noteworthy however as George Elliot the mayor of Islington attended, marking the end of hostilities between the council and Arsenal following the launch of the residents’ “Highbury Defence Committee” in 1913.
7 December 1926: The Express published Sir Henry Norris’ letter concerning the FA’s treatment of Tom Whittaker noting that all they had offered was one year’s salary, for an injury which ended his career. Worse it had emerged that the FA had not insured its players for the tour. He also called the FA “impudent” for responding to the commentary in the programme anonymously.
7 December 1932: David Jack’s final cap for England – he played nine times for his country and scored three goals whereas with Arsenal he played 181 games and scored 113 goals.
7 December 1939: Ian Ure born in Ayr. He played for the now defunct Ayr Albion and then Dundee and as a member of their championship side which then reached the semi-final of the European Cup, and is inducted into their hall of fame. He also played for Scotland, in the team that beat Spain 6-2 at the Bernabeu.
7 December 1940: Jack Lambert (Arsenal’s reserve coach) died in car accident aged 38. He had played 143 league games for Arsenal and scored an amazing 98 league goals making him the most prolific goal scorer who played over 100 games, in Arsenal’s entire history.
7 December 1946: Second and last game for Cyril Grant. Cyril fared a little better at Fulham, his next club before moving on in March 1948 to Southend United of the Third Division South where he was twice top goal scorer. He stayed there until aged 35 and scored 64 goals in 183 matches, moving finally on to Gravesend & Northfleet.
7 December 1974: Carlisle 2 Arsenal 1. It was Alex Cropley’s first game after his transfer from Hibs, and is remembered for what the press called an “eight man brawl” which was broken up by police officers entering the field of play as the ref looked on helplessly.
7 December 2002: Man U 2 Arsenal 0. After scoring in 47 consecutive games Arsenal failed to score.
7 December 2004: Arsenal 5 Rosenburg 0. Arsenal had already qualified for the next phase of the competition, but saw no need to take it easy. The goals came from Reyes, Henry, Fabregas, Pires and Van Persie.
7 December 2017: Arsenal beat BATE Borisov 6–0 in the final Europa League group stage match with goals by Mathieu Debuchy, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Olivier Giroud and Mohamed Elneny as well as an own goal.