The days when Arsenal had its own nursery club…

86 years ago Arsenal took over Margate FC, to create the first feeder club in the country.  Over time the FA instituted a number of rule changes which made the idea far less attractive, but not before many other clubs had copied Arsenal’s lead.  After nursery clubs were completely forbidden the idea was replicated on an international scale with first Manchester City and then Red Bull taking over clubs in various countries in order to extend their name and have a way of nurturing players through clubs in their own group, rather than sending players out on loan to clubs over which they had no control.

Here are the anniversaries…

16 June 1917:  With newspapers forbidden from writing anything about the war other than reprinting official reports on (often invented or at least exaggerated) victories on the battlefield, the local newspaper in Fulham started a long running series of attacks on the Borough’s mayor, Henry Norris following the flooding of local sewers caused by a lack of repair (itself caused by a lack of manpower to carry out the repairs and a lack of funding). The campaign continued for a staggering six years. 

16 June 1934: Margate became Arsenal’s feeder club.  With the school leaving age of 14 but league clubs prohibited from signing players until 17, the nursery idea allowed Arsenal to train youngsters as amateurs and monitor their development.  Other clubs quickly followed Arsenal’s innovation.

16 June 1982: Graham Rix and Kenny Sansom became the first Arsenal players to play for England in the final stages of the World Cup.  In April 2017 Rix suffered a heart attack while in 2018 he was accused by multiple Chelsea trainees of racism and physical assault.

16 June 1986: Danny Clapton died aged just 51. He moved to Luton Town in September 1962 and lived (and for a while played football) in Sydney from 1963 to 1970 before returning to London to run a public house in Hackney.

16 June 1994: Lee Harper signed from Sittingbourne.  He only played once for Arsenal before moving on to QPR.  In his career he played over 100 times each for QPR, Northampton and Kettering.

16 June 2000: Lauren signed from Real Mallorca.  He had already played for four pro clubs by the time he joined Arsenal, but it was Arsenal where he made his real mark, playing 159 league games.  In recent years he has occasionally worked as a pundit.

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