We might be rather upset with referees in the current football climate but in 1996/7 there seemed to be an all-out assault on the club by match officials, with five red cards in ten games. It was Wenger’s first season and there appeared to be a feeling among officialdom that these foreigners the new man kept bringing in had to be taught the rules of the game. Interestingly, the rules of the game often didn’t seem to apply to Manchester United and there was no doubt that Vieira was being targetted throughout the season. Arsenal survived to come third in the league before winning the double the following season.
Here are the anniversaries.
11 January 1890: Arsenal 3 London Caledonians 1 in the London Senior Cup. The game saw Arsenal go through to the final. Arsenal lost this final, but won the final the following season.
11 January 1900: Charlie Preedy born in India – the first Arsenal player with this distinction. His father was with the Royal Artillery and the family moved back to England when Charlie was 7. However he did not become a professional player until he was 24, when he joined Charlton Athletic in the recently formed Third Division South.
11 January 1902: Walter Anderson made his debut against Preston North End having been signed the previous month from Sheffield Utd
11 January 1908: Arsenal v Hull City (FA Cup 1st round). It was a 0-0 draw in front of 15,000 and Hull won the replay 4-1.
11 January 1911: John Charles Peart signed as a professional. He played over 60 times before and after the war, and was also associated with Croydon Common and Margate.
11 January 1913: Croydon Common 0 Woolwich Arsenal 0 in the FA Cup. Arsenal won the replay against their south London rivals but were knocked out in the next round by Liverpool.
11 January 1915: The new Footballers’ Battalion (which was set up and funded by Henry Norris) marched through the streets to White City where it was barracked. as a prelude to a major recruiting event held at the Royal Albert Hall a couple of days later.
11 January 1926: After months of dithering the FA finally considered Jock Rutherford’s suspension case having had a chance to look at the legal ruling. They concluded he had broken Rule 43 concerning being connected with betting although there was precious little evidence, and he had won his court case over the affair. Arthur Bourke in the Islington Gazette was outraged with the FA’s stance, but relieved that the FA now felt Rutherford had suffered enough and registered him again. In effect with no evidence at all the FA had stopped him earning a living.
11 January 1930: Of course no one knew at the time, but the FA Cup third round game, Arsenal 2 Chelsea 0 was the start of the journey to the first major trophy. Appropriately for history, two of the club’s greatest players of the era – Lambert and Bastin – got the goals.
11 January 1936: Bristol Rovers 1 Arsenal 5 on the way to another cup triumph. Ten of the Arsenal team were full internationals – it was the first time this had happened in a senior match in England.
11 January 1951: Carlisle United 1 Arsenal 4. Arsenal had drawn 0-0 at Highbury in front of 57,932, but after this replay played Northampton in front of the biggest ever crowd at Highbury for a cup match.
11 January 1969: Arsenal 2 Sheffield W 0. It meant Arsenal had six consecutive wins during which just one goal was conceded. It was the first “six in a row” in the league since March/April 1956. Gould and Radford got the goals.
11 January 1975: Arsenal 2 Carlisle United 1 in front of just of 21,538. Arsenal moved five points clear of the bottom three, as Radford’s first half goal came from what was just about Arsenal’s only good move, and Carlisle’s equaliser came because Arsenal’s defence acted as if they could not possibly believe that the visitors could even dream of mounting an attack, let alone scoring.
11 January 1979: Brian Talbot signed from Ipswich Town with whom he had won the FA Cup in 1978. He went on to play 327 games for Arsenal. He became chief scout and assistant director of football operations at Fulham in February 2017
11 January 1997: Sunderland 1 Arsenal 0. Bergkamp was sent off; Arsenal’s fifth red in 10 games. Arsène Wenger noted three of the five red carded players were attackers saying, “When teams play Arsenal the games are physical and we have to defend ourselves”.
11 January 2008: Nic Anelka joined Chelsea for £15m and it turned out to be his longest ever stint at a club with 38 goals in 125 games between 2008 and 2012