It was quickly forgotten, as all such nonsense stories are, but Arsenal’s preparations for the Uefa Europa League final against Chelsea in Baku were reported in some of the media before the game to have been disrupted by an approach by Barcelona to recruit Unai Emery as the replacement of Ernesto Valverde as head coach.
The argument at the time was that although Barcelona had won La Liga they had been humiliated by Liverpool in the Champions League and defeated 2-1 by Valencia in the Copa del Rey final. So the board decided a new manager was needed and Unai Emery was the man.
The Sun ever anxious to disrupt anything that Arsenal might do published a four-man shortlist which contained the names Emery, Ronald Koeman, Massimiliano Allegri and Roberto Martinez.
Of course the whole matter was dropped after Arsenal lost to Chelsea in the Europa final, and by 30 May the tune had changed. Instead of Emery leaving because he was wanted by Barcelona it became, on this day, a year ago, Emery leaving because he was a useless manager. He was useless now and always had been. No one in their right mind would want him.
Once more it was obvious that the objective was the disruption of the club. Facts had nothing much to do with anything.
Here are the anniversaries.
30 May 1921: The AGM of the Football Association was held in London. During the course of the day it was proposed to explore the possibility of holding the cup final at Wembley. This happened for the first time in 1923.
30 May 1952: Alex Forbes made his 14th and last international appearance. The result was Sweden 3 Scotland 1.
30 May 1960: The Times published a long piece denouncing the inauguration of the Football League Cup which replaced the Southern Floodlit Cup, while praising the move towards European competitions. Despite winning the SFC the previous season, Arsenal was one of a handful of clubs that declined to be part of the League Cup.
30 May 1983: George Wood transferred to Crystal Palace. Having come from Everton he had played 60 games for Arsenal and played 192 for Palace after leaving Highbury.
30 May 1995: Death of Ted Drake – the Arsenal man who in one season scored 42 league goals in 41 games and who once scored seven goals in one league game. In 1954/5 Chelsea won the league with Ted as manager – an amazing achievement considering that in 1951/2 and 1952/3 they had come 18th, thus just missing relegation. They sacked him in the 1961/2 season but it took them 50 years from Drake’s title, to get another.
30 May 2000: Lauren Etame Mayer transferred from Mallorca for £7.2m, where he had played 63 league games. He had started his career in Spain, playing for San Fernando, Sevilla, Levante before Mallorca.
30 May 2006: Theo Walcott became the youngest England international by appearing in a 3–1 friendly victory over Hungary at Old Trafford aged 17 years and 75 days.
30 May 2013: Arsenal announced a clearout of 10 players including Arshavin, Squillaci, Denílson, Mannone, Gervinho and Djourou. Gervinho was the real tragedy – a brilliant player who was booed by some members of the Arsenal crowd and who had now had enough.
30 May 2014: Arsène Wenger signed a three year contract extension, presumed by experts to be his last contract with the club before retirement.
30 May 2015: Arsenal 4 Aston Villa 0, FA Cup Final. Walcott, Sanchez, Mertesacker and Giroud scored as Villa had five players booked to Arsenal’s nil. Arsenal became only the second team in the 20th/21st centuries twice to win the Cup two years running. Arsenal also become the first team in those centuries to score seven in successive cup finals and the most successful FA Cup team of all time with 12 wins. Arsene Wenger became the most successful FA Cup manager of the last 100 years with six wins but within two years would exceed even his own record.