What happened to Arsenal in the wartime leagues?

During the first and second world wars, normal league and cup football was suspended – although the 1914/15 season was played, largely because of the view that the war would be finished by December 1914, and thus not inconvenience the Football League.  There was a major campaign to get football banned, particularly supported by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but the fact that those campaigning for the ban were also adamant that horse racing should continue, undermined the case.

In the end, it was the work of Henry Norris is raising the “Football Regiments” and his rising prominence in the War Office in the first world war, that ensured that the War Leagues were established and continued, and set the model for similar leagues during the second world war.

During the war years, clubs were allowed to use players registered with other teams, but could not pay the players.  In the first world war, Arsenal played in the London Combination, and came second in that league twice, but did not win any of the competitions.

In the second world war Arsenal fared better, winning the 1939/40 London South “A” division, the London League 1941/2, the London war cup 1942, the Football League South and the Football League Cup South 1942/3, and the Football League Cup South 1945.

Here are the anniversaries.

6 March 1905: Thomas Fitchie and Robert Templeton represent Scotland – the first Arsenal players ever to do so.

6 March 1915:Arsenal played Lincoln away, and lost 1-0 – a sure sign that there was unlikely to be any late push to regain a promotion position in the latter part of the season.  It was another 10 days before the League announced it would cease at the end of the season, but by then everyone had assumed this would happen – both because of the war and the overt match fixing by Liverpool was making the game a farce.

6 March 1920:Arsenal were away to Sheffield United and suffered a further defeat, this time 0-2. in front of 25,000 people, making it six defeats in the last eight.

6 March 1926: Swansea 2 Arsenal 1.  FA Cup 6.  It was the first time Arsenal had progressed this far since 1922.

6 March 1926: Last game for Dr James Paterson.  A war hero and hero of Scottish football, it was the libelous description of him by manager Leslie Knighton in his autobiography, that helped unravel the truth about Sir Henry Norris’ running of the club prior to Chapman – and lead to the unearthing of multiple other untruths contained in Knighton’s memoirs.

6 March 1935.  Tottenham 0 Arsenal 6, as Arsenal continued their run of 13 unbeaten to win the league for the 3rd successive year.  It was the first game for Alf Kirchen, who scored.

6 March 1937: WBA 3 Arsenal 1 (FA Cup 6th round).  Arsenal went out after scoring 17 in three previous rounds – mostly on this occasion because Ted Drake didn’t play.  Worse,  John Milne was injured

6 March 1943: Brighton and Hove 1 Arsenal 5 (Lewis 3, Dennis Compton 2).  Round 1 of the wartime Football League Cup South. The competition was played as a mini-league home and away against three clubs, before the semi-final and final, in which Arsenal beat Charlton 7-1 at Wembley in front of 75,000.  Arsenal also won the Football League (south) this season.

6 March 1948:  Alex Forbes debut: Arsenal 5 Wolverhampton 2.  Alex went on to play 217 league games for Arsenal.

6 March 1965: John Snedden sold to Charlton for a fee of £15.000.  He had played 83 games for Arsenal, and after Charlton moved on to Orient.

6 March 1971: Leicester 0 Arsenal 0.  FA Cup 6th round in the first Double season.  It was one of three rounds in which a replay was needed. 42,000 turned up and not too much happened until in the 88th minute when Dick Glover saw the ball coming towards him, two yards out and with the goal beckoning.  He swung a boot – and missed the ball completely.

6 March 1988: Tony Adams’ played his first game as club captain permanently replacing Kenny Sansom.  He was aged just 21 yrs 148 days.

6 March 1991: Ray Parlour signed his first professional contract with Arsenal.  He went on to play 339 games for Arsenal before leaving in 2004.

6 March 1993: FA Cup round 6 – Ipswich 2 Arsenal 4 in front of 22054 with goals from Adams, Wright and Campbell plus an own goal.  Cup match 12 of Arsenal’s Cup Double season

6 March 1997: Nicolas Anelka signed by Arsenal.  He scored 23 goals in 65 games, and much later Arsène Wenger revealed his plan had been to play Anelka and Henry as a dual striking partnership, but it never came to pass.

6 March 1999: Arsenal 1 Derby 0 (FA Cup round 6) as Arsenal marched on to the FA Cup Semi Final.  Kanu got the only goal in front of 38,046.

6 March 2004: Portsmouth 1 Arsenal 5 (FA Cup round 6).  Henry and Ljunberg got two each and Toure the other all within the first hour.  Sherringham scored for Portsmouth in the final minute.

6 March 2008: Arsenal in the shape of Keith Edelman first announced plans for the redevelopment of Highbury as apartments with the pitch as a centrepiece garden.

6 March 2012.  Arsenal 3 Milan 0.  Arsenal had lost the away leg 4-0, but with the crowd at its noisiest Arsenal rallied and almost forced extra time  Park chu Young made a rare appearance as a sub.

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