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The percentage success rates of long term Arsenal managers

On this day in 1983 Terry Neill was sacked as Arsenal manager.  He had taken Arsenal to three successive cup finals, of which just one was won, and had never looked like winning the title.  His win percentage of 44.95% was only a little worse that George Allison (46.24%), Tom Whittaker (47.21%) and George Graham (48.91%) but it was the lack of success in the league that caused his sacking.

If we compare him to the present day we can see how he failed – for his 44.95% win rate compares poorly with our two best long term managers in terms of percentage victories: Unai Emery with 55.13% and Arsene Wenger with 57.25%, one of whom was sacked and one of whom was edged out by fan protests.

Here are the anniversaries.

16 December 1893: In its first year in the FA Cup, Woolwich Arsenal won through to the first round proper beating 2nd Scots Guards on this day.

16 December 1905: William Garbutt (the man who created Italian football) joined Arsenal from Reading.  He was part of the Arsenal side that reached two FA Cup semi-finals in successive seasons; but was then displaced by Jackie Mordue and played in the reserves before moving to Blackburn at the end of the 1907/08  season.

16 December 1906: George Stead who wrote as Redshirt in the Woolwich Gazette died aged 49.  He served in the Royal Horse Artillery and was a shareholder in the club, and was said to be very active in meetings.

16 December 1911: Arsenal played Middlesbrough with Leigh “Dick” Roose in goal, and 11,000 turned up – far more than might have been expected without Roose in the game.  He had been brought in by Norris to bring in the crowds, and it certainly worked. Arsenal won 2-1

16 December 1914: There was a German naval raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby, a raid that claimed extra significance as it saw the death of the first Kitchener “your country needs you” volunteer, Theo Jones.

16 December 1921: Parliament ratified the Anglo-Irish Treaty thus formally ending the conflict in Ireland.

16 December 1922: With just three of the original XI from the first day of the season playing, bottom of the league Arsenal got a 1-1 draw with Huddersfield – and indeed Arsenal could have won the match but for having a goal disallowed for the whole ball not crossing the line.  Rutherford got the goal that was allowed. Arsenal moved up to 20th out of 22.

16 December 1963: Mel Charles scored in the first of three consecutive wins including in the middle of the three a welcome 2-1 home win over Tottenham in front of a pre-Christmas crowd of 63,400.

16 December 1970: Charlie George played his first game for the first team since an injury on the opening day of the league campaign.  This match was against Beveren in the Fairs Cup 3rd round.

16 December 1983 Terry Neill was dismissed.  He was the 12th most successful permanent manager at the club with a win percentage at under 45%.  He did however lead the side to one FA Cup triumph: against Man U.

16 December 1983: Don Howe became manager, having previously been reserve team coach for Bertie Mee and first team coach in 1968.  See also here

16 December 1988: Sydney Cartright died.  He signed for Arsenal on 24 April 1933 and his final game was on 15 April 1939, a 2-1 home win over Manchester United.  The article highlighted here has several interesting additions from members of his family for which we are very grateful.

16 December 1991: Micky Thomas, the man who scored the winning goal to beat Liverpool 0-2 and thus win the league for Arsenal was transferred to Liverpool.  Thomas played 206 games, and scored 30.  But it is said that he and George Graham had a row in 1991 and so he was sold to that team from up north.  Souness paid £1.5m for an icon.

16 December 1995: Arsenal drew with Chelsea during a disastrous 15 match run which gained just four wins.  Dixon scored what was only Arsenal’s second goal in four consecutive games.

16 December 2006: Silva and Adebayor scored to give Arsenal a 2-2 draw with Portsmouth,in a run of just one defeat in 20 games which took them up the table and into the League Cup final by being Tottenham over two legs.

16 December 2007: Arsenal 1 Chelsea 0 (Gallas).  It was part of an 15 match unbeaten run in the Premier League which ultimately helped Arsenal end the season in 4th.

16 December 2017: Arsenal beat Newcastle 1-0 with Ozil scoring.  It was part of a nine match mid-season unbeaten run in Wenger’s last season.

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