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Did the Arsenal manager really drug his own team on this day in 1925?

The infamous story of the Arsenal manager giving his team drugs to enhance their performance in 1925, is oft repeated in history books, but none that I know has actually bothered to check out the details of what looks like a very unlikely tale.

Certainly an investigation into the conditions in London at the time by the Arsenal History Society reveals that the details given by the manager to the sunday newspaper that ran the story were very, very unlikely to be true, but were just dreamed up 20 years later to spice up the tale and give the paper a better headline.

For more details see the link on the 1925 anniversary listing.

Here are the anniversaries

12 January 1907: Arsenal started the journey to the Cup semi-finals for the second successive season with a 1-1 draw against Grimsby, but as with the previous year the final was a step too far.

12 January, 1912  The press reported meetings of the English and Scottish League regarding claims of unpaid player transfer fees including James Maxwell who after two appearances for Arsenal mysteriously “went missing”.

12 January 1917: The Fulham Chronicle provided the latest in its series of shock-horror reports about the disintegration of English urban society with a story that a gang-culture had developed among the well-paid young men working munitions factories.  An early sign of the middle classes being terrified of, and then demonising, young men.

12 January 1918: Arsenal lost 1-4 “away” to Tottenham in the wartime league.  Tottenham’s ground had been taken over by the military testing Enfield rifles, and so Tottenham were playing their “home” games at Highbury although a few like this one were played at Clapton Orient’s ground..

12 January 1922: All Irish prisoners taken during the War of Independence were released as the final arrangements ending the conflict were put into place.

12 January 1924: With Arsenal perilously close to relegation they increasingly depended on other clubs around them doing even worse than they were.  On this day Middlesbrough lost to Watford of Div III (South) in the Cup, part of a run of 9 games with 8 defeats and 1 draw. It was a major factor in Arsenal’s survival.

12 January 1925: The FA Cup match away to West Ham was again called off because of fog, and again Arsenal manager Knighton claimed that he drugged the team before the match.  Yet there was never any chance of the match being played as the whole of East London was fog bound and had been for three days so why would he bother. He also claimed he didn’t know who the doctor who gave him the pills actually was!

12 January 1928: Andrew Kennedy sold to Everton.  Kennedy played the first 13 games of 1925/6 before Bob John was moved into defence to replace him.  He did however play in the last eight games of the 1926/7 season including the FA Cup Final. In all he played 129 times for Arsenal.

12 January 1935: Ehud (Tim) Rogers signed by Arsenal from Wrexham (of the 3rd Division North).  One source quotes this date as 1934. He made 16 league appearances and scored 5 goals.

12 January 1952: Norwich 0 Arsenal 5, FA Cup 3, on the way to another cup final.  Lishman (2), Logie, Goring and Roper scored.

12 January 1974: Having beaten Norwich in the cup the week before Arsenal repeated the result winning 2-0.  22,084 attended and Brady made an early appearance while reports suggested Kennedy appeared to have no interest at all in what was happening.

12 January 1993: Cup Match 7 in Arsenal’s Cup Double season.  Arsenal 2 Nottingham F 0, in League Cup round 5.  Ian Wright scored both goals. All in all Wright scored 10 in the FA Cup that season and five in the League Cup.  No Arsenal player has ever scored more than these 15 Cup goals in one season.

12 January 2003: Birmingham 0 Arsenal 4.  Two goals from Henry against Birmingham City took his Arsenal total to 100 goals in all competitions.

12 January 2008: Arsenal 1 Birmingham 1.  Part of a 14 match run of 12 wins and 2 draws.  Untold Arsenal’s first ever report focused on organised time wasting while the ball was out of play with the report headlined, “Arsenal witness the end of football”.

12 January 2011:  John Jensen who was implicated in the downfall of George Graham, signed a 6 month contract with Blackburn as assistant manager.

12 January 2011: Ipswich 1 Arsenal 0, Football League Cup semi-final.  Having beaten Tottenham, Newcastle and Wigan thus far there still were hopes of making the final.

12 January 2012: Philippa Dawson, a direct descendant of Jack Humble (Woolwich Arsenal’s first chairman, and a director into the 1920s) addressed an AISA Arsenal History Society meeting in the House of Commons.  She was the first member of the family to do so for four generations. The meeting was also addressed by Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North, who in 2015 became the Leader of the Labour Party.

12 January 2017: Jon Toral loaned to Rangers.  This was the fourth and final loan of the player who joined Hull City in the summer of that year.

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