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November 2020
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Whatever happened to Benik Afobe?

Benik Afobe – whose birthday it is today – was registered with Arsenal from 2010 to 2015, but never played for the first team.    He had loans with Huddersfield, Reading, Bolton, Millwall, Sheffield Wednesday and MK Dons before signing for Wolverhampton (scoring 22 goals in 46 games), and later Bournemouth and most recently Stoke – who have now loaned him to Bristol City.

He has played for England from under 16 to under 21 level, and for DR Congo’s first team.

Here are the anniversaries…

12 February 1887: Alexandra Utd 0 Royal Arsenal 6.  It was Arsenal’s seventh game since their formation the previous December, and took the goals scored total to 33.

12 February 1907: The Daily News reported an explosion in the Manor Ground had wrecked Arsenal’s catering facilities.  It did not however interrupt the playing of matches.

12 February 1910: Arsenal 0 Blackburn 1.  The defeat left Arsenal perilously close to relegation and the low crowd of just 7,500 took them closer to closure.. Match preliminaries here.  See also report on the crowds during the era.  

12 February 1910: Andy Ducat’s international debut for England.  As a cricketer he played 1 test match for England and 429 first class matches.  He went on to play six times for England at football.

12 February 1927: Daniel Lewis’ first cap.  He played three times for Wales between 1927 and 1929.  Also first league match for John Barley at home to Leeds. He went on to play 8 league games across three seasons.

12 February 1937: Laurie Scott signed for Arsenal.  Ernest Tuckett went to Bradford City in part exchange.  He played 115 games for Arsenal before moving on to Crystal Palace in 1951.

12 February 1938:  Arsenal v Preston – the fourth ever 70,000+ crowd to see Arsenal.  Arsenal lost 0-1 to the team rivalling them for the championship. However Arsenal won the league, while Preston came third.

12 February 1966: Last game for Joe Baker (a friendly).  He played 144 games for Arsenal and scored 93 goals – a terrific goal to game record – before going on to Nottm Forest on 26 Feb.

12 February 1972: Arsenal 2 Derby 0.  Attendance: 52,055. It was after this game that the dream of consecutive Doubles, and then the dream of retaining the league title both began to slip away.

12 February 1977: Man C 1 Arsenal 0. The fourth consecutive game without a win, the start of seven consecutive defeats in the league – the worst ever run of defeats, beating the six recorded under both Chapman and Knighton, and worse than anything in the relegation year.

12 February 1985: Ian Allinson injured as Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-0.  In the 1984/5 season Allinson with 10 goals was joint top goal scorer in the league with Talbot and Woodcock.

12 February 1993: Benik Afobe born.  After multiple loans and a bad injury, he finally came good with MK Dons and was transferred to Wolverhampton Wanderers in early 2015 and then to Premier League Bournemouth one year later.

12 February 2014: A goalless draw at home to Man U was welcomed as stabilisation after a 5-1 defeat to Liverpool had brought a 10 match unbeaten run to an end.  Arsenal won the FA Cup and ultimately came 4th in the league – but there was still one more shock to be had – a 0-6 away defeat to Chelsea in March.

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