The unbeaten season was Arsenal’s season of all time, in my view. And one of the games nominated as the performance of the season occurred on this day in 2004 – Mr Wenger naming it thus at the time. It was, for anyone who was there, a really fine affair.
Here are the anniversaries.
10 January 1018: Basic and fundamental rights to justice were granted to all freemen of England by King Knut. These were of course all removed following the conquest of the country in 1066 by the Normans but it was the English nation’s first step to liberation.
10 January 1840: The Penny Post was started – an important issue when considering how Arsenal arranged the friendly fixtures in 1886/7, and in particular how Dial Square came to play Eastern Wanderers. Without the next-day penny postal system it would have been impossible to arrange to play anyone except teams in Plumstead and Woolwich. Postage remained 1d until 1917.
10 January 1891: As Arsenal moved towards winning the London Senior Cup they played Old Westminsters. Old West appealed against the state of the ground, (it must have been truly awful for there to be an appeal) and Arsenal appealed against Old West for using an ineligible player. Old West eventually dropped out.
10 January 1900: Bristol City 1 Arsenal 3 – in the Southern District Combination – the competition that ended with a match v Tottenham which was abandoned due to abusive language from the crowd.
10 January 1903: First Arsenal game for Tommy Shanks. He performed reasonably in his first season and got caps for Ireland, before becoming a star turn in his second year at the club.
10 January 1904: James Devlin reportedly born in Bellshill on this day. However we suspect the town is right but the date is wrong.
10 January 1905: Andy Ducat joined from Southend Athletic. He became perhaps the greatest Woolwich Arsenal player of them all, and was only sold as the club sank into financial disaster, but returned to play again during the war years.
10 January 1910: Stories about Arsenal’s financial demise circulated throughout the month, and a fund raising committee was set up on this day to try and help the club. The club did indeed go to the brink but was rescued by Henry Norris.
10 January 1914: FA Cup 1st round. Bradford City (away). Despite going well in the league (being third and equal on points with the top club) Arsenal lost 0-2.
10 January 1920: For the second year running an FA Cup match was played at Highbury although Arsenal were drawn away. It ended Arsenal 4 Rochdale 2: Rutherford, Groves, Graham and Pagnam scored.
10 January 1925: FA Cup 1st round day but much of London was beset by dense fog and Arsenal’s game at West Ham was postponed. It is an important moment in unravelling the story told by Arsenal manager Knighton that the players were drugged, and as with so much of his testimony the tale he tells simply does not stack up.
10 January 1931: Having drawn 5-5 in their last game Aston Villa went to Highbury for the 3rd round of the Cup. The result was a 2-2 draw, with Lambert and Jack getting the Arsenal goals. London was crowded with fans that day as at the same time Tottenham played Preston (it ended 3-1) and West Ham played Chelsea (1-3). Brentford, Palace and Fulham were also all at home, playing in the third round.
10 January 1948: Arsenal 0 Bradford 1, FA Cup 3rd round. This was a huge shock as Bradford were then in Division 2, and Arsenal top of division 1.
10 January 1970: Peter Marinello’s debut, and he scored. But it was his only goal in 14 as Arsenal endured a 10 game run without a league win. It ended as a 1-2 away defeat to Man U and was the start of four defeats in a row. See Arsenal 1969/70.
10 January 1978: Football news was dominated by Liverpool’s decision to pay a British record £352,000 for Middlesbrough midfielder Graeme Souness.
10 January 1979: There was a little light relief for Arsenal fans from the travails of the season as Tottenham Hotspur were held to a 1–1 draw by non-league Altrincham.
10 January 1998: Arsenal 2 Leeds Utd 1. Overmars scored both goals. It was the 22nd match of the second double season and the third in an unbeaten run of 18 games that led to the title. The second double: part 1, part 2, part 3.
10 January 2004: Arsenal beat Middlesbrough 4-1 to go top of the league alphabetically with points, goals and GD the same. Arsène Wenger called it the performance of the season. The 21st league match of the unbeaten season
10 January 2012: Luke Freeman sold to Stevenage. Although described by Arsène Wenger as a very interesting prospect he never played for Arsenal in the League and settled for a career in the lower divisions.
10 January 2012: Francis Coquelin signed long term extension – but then spent 2013/14 on loan. However by Christmas 2014 he was back with the first team, although normally as a sub. His recognition as a quality DM came in 2015 and he became a first team regular.
10 January 2017: Cohen Bramell joined Arsenal from Hednesford Town and Daniel Crowley loaned to Go Ahead Eagles. Jon Toral was recalled from his loan to Granada.