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August 2020
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4-0 down, and then we won 5-7 with our ex-player as their manager

There is a saying that one should never go back – and in football that means not going back to a club that you have played for, or managed before.

Brian McDermott did not heed this advice, for not only did he return to Reading to be manager for a second time, after previously managing them for four years, he rejoined them six years to the day after his first signing.  Unfortunately second time around it only lasted six months.

As for his connection to Arsenal, he played for us as a youth player from 1977 to 1979 and then made 61 first team appearances for us before moving on to Oxford United.

He was also the manager of Reading on 30 October 2012, when Reading played Arsenal in the League Cup at the Madejski Stadium. Reading were 4–0 up after 35 minutes, but lost the tie 7–5 after extra time.

Here are the anniversaries…

 

17 December 1896: John Anderson signed from Crook Town.  He made his debut on 1 January 1897 and went on to play 144 league games for Arsenal over seven seasons before moving to Portsmouth in 1903.

17 December 1902: Arsenal 5 Brentford 0; FA Cup supplementary round.  Arsenal went out in the next round, but only had two more years of playing in the qualifying rounds before they gained automatic continuous entry to the 1st round proper.

17 December 1904: Arsenal scored five in the 1st division for the first time in a game away to Notts C, with the local paper making a special positive mention of the vibrant Arsenal away support.

17 December 1910: Last game for Matthew Shortt.  It meant he had played four games and all four had been Woolwich Arsenal defeats.  He had joined Arsenal from Dalbeattie Star in Scotland.  Later he moved to Scotland and played there as a centre half.

17 December 1910: News of the Houndsditch jewellers robbery which led to the in the Siege of Sidney Street emerged as Arsenal lost their fourth match in succession – 4-1 away to Preston, Alf Common scoring his first goal.  It meant Arsenal had won two and lost six of the last eight.

17 December 1918: The Southern League instructed its directors to meet with the Football League, to discuss amalgamation thus creating a Third Division

17 December 1918: At the same time as above the London Combination (which had run the war time leagues in London) held a meeting with the now re-formed Players’ Union.  Sir Henry Norris attended, but the meeting broke up over a debate concerning the function of the Combination.

17 December 1921: Arsenal lost to Oldham 1-2, but Reg Boreham, the new man now playing his second game scored the Arsenal goal.  The result meant that in the five games since the 5-2 win over Birmingham, Arsenal had scored a single goal in four of the games, each from a different player.

17 December 1938: Arsenal beat Stoke 4-1 – their second win in eight league games.  Lewis (2) Drury and Bastin got the goals. Unfortunately, it was not a new beginning – Arsenal then only won one of their next five.

17 December 1944: Jimmy Robertson (the first player to score for each side in north London derbies) was born.  Having failed to get into the Middlesbrough team he went to Cowdenbeath and then St Mirren before being purchased by Tottenham in 1964, for £25,000.

17 December 1955, Dennis Evans scored one of the most famous own goals in history when a whistle in the crowd resulted in Evans kicking the ball into his own goal to make the result  Arsenal 4 Blackpool 1. It was only Arsenal’s 7th win in 21 games.

17 December 1960: Arsenal 2 Burnley 5.  Strong and Herd got the goals. The result meant that in the last four games Arsenal had scored 13 and conceded 13.  It also meant Herd had scored seven in five league games.

17 December 1969: In the third round of the Fairs Cup Arsenal drew 0-0 draw in the first match, away to Rouen in front 12,093.

17 December 1977: Coventry City 1 Arsenal 2, in front of a modest gate of 20,993, Stapleton getting both goals.  With eight minutes to go a rare Coventry attack brought a penalty, and reduced the arrears but Arsenal were never in danger.

17 December 1983: Arsenal 3 Watford 1.  First match as manager for Don Howe. Raphael Meade got a hat trick – his first goals of the season.

17 December 1993: Death of Len Julians.  He played 18 times for Arsenal and scored 7 goals.  He later played for Nottingham Forest and Millwall and coached in Africa.  The article linked here is followed by a number of interesting additions from his family and those who saw him play, which are well worth reading.

17 December 2008: Following a dispute Lady Bracewell-Smith left the Arsenal board of directors without indicating what would happen to her shares.

17 December 2009: Brian McDermott became first team manager of Reading.  He stayed until 2013 and then managed Leeds for one season before returning to Arsenal as chief scout.  In 2015 six years to the day after he left, he returned to Reading as manager on 17 December 2015.   Six months later, on 27 May 2016, McDermott was sacked.

17 December 2012: Reading 2 Arsenal 5.  Santi Cazorla scored his first hat trick.

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