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The multi-million pound lesson showing that big signings don’t guarantee success

The Arsenal History Society is part of the Arsenal Independent Supporters Association – a body which gives positive support to the club, and has regular meetings with directors and senior officials of the club to represent the views of its members to the club.  You can read more about AISA on its website.

Below you will find today’s feature, and the list of anniversaries for today.

Although the purpose of this site is primarily to record events relating to Arsenal, we do occasionally like to look further afield at events which fascinate those of us involved in this compilation.  And today includes one such event – the signing of Figo by Real Madrid and the announcement of the concept of the Galacticos.

The idea was simple – in order to keep the interest and excitement of the fans and the media at fever pitch height, and of course to make sure they won the league and European Cup each year, the club would sign one of the great players in world football, at whatever price was required, every summer.

Figo was the first, and Zidane, Ronaldo, Owen and Beckham followed, but the results did not go Real’s way and they failed to win anything for four years.  They were a great set of players – but not a great team, and there is a huge difference.

Sadly the lesson of this era is now lost on many supporters as the clamour constantly for more and more purchases is back at fever pitch, forgetting some rather important lessons along the way.  Such as the fact that football is a team game, and players have personalities and personal lives that can affect their performances.

Here are the anniversaries

24 July 1870: Harry Storer born. He became Arsenal’s first ever player to win representative honours, and the first player to be transferred for disciplinary reasons after a major falling out with fans.

24 July 1905: Widespread interest in Woolwich Arsenal led to the Daily Mirror noting that season tickets for the season ahead had gone on sale.

24 July 1910: Woolwich Arsenal FC formally taken over by Henry Norris and William Hall.  They promised the Football League to use their money to keep Arsenal in Plumstead for one year, but by this date had extended that to two years in a promise to George Leavey.   Eventually they paid for the club to stay at the Manor Ground for three seasons before moving to Highbury.

24 July 1946: Arthur Milton signed pro forms.  He became the last ever man to play football and cricket at the top level for England.  He remains in the top ten in terms of catches in first-class cricket (758) and in 1952, he equalled the world record of seven catches in a day, and eight in the match.

24 July 1966  Martin Keown born.  Although he started his career with Arsenal he was eventually sold to Aston Villa and then on to Everton, returning to Arsenal to play 311 games six years after he had left the club.

24 July 1971: Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic 0 Arsenal 5.   (Simpson 2, Radford 2, Kennedy).  The first friendly of the season.  Although there doesn’t seem to be a full team sheet available for this game, it is noted that Marinello played in the starting XI – an attempt to rehabilitate him after missing out on the previous season.

24 July 1977: After a players’ drinking spree in Sydney, on a club tour of Australia, Terry Neill diminished his power base somewhat by sending just two of the culprits home including Alan Hudson who did not play for the club again. On this day the result was Celtic 3 Arsenal 2 (Sydney, Australia) (Rice, Macdonald)

24 July 1989: FK Mjolner (Norway) 0 Arsenal 4 (Merson, Adams, Quinn, Campbell).  The second of three games in an early pre-season tour of Sweden.

24 July 1998: The BBC reported that Arsenal had gained the “go ahead” to play European games at Wembley.  It was a revolutionary move at the time, but turned into a disaster in terms of results.  

24 July 1990: Västra Frölunda 0 Arsenal 4 (Linighan, Smith, Merson 2).  The second of the pre-season matches in Sweden.

24 July 2000: Real Madrid signed Figo and launched the Galacticos era and Zidane, Ronaldo, Owen and Beckham arrived, leading to the club not winning anything for four years.

24 July 2002: Richard Wright signed for Everton for £3.5m.  He had joined Arsenal in July 2001 for what is thought to be about £2m as a potential successor to David Seaman, and in preference to Alex Manninger, but played just 12 games.

24 July 2003: Oleg Luzhny joined Wolverhampton W after 109 games for Arsenal.

24 July 2005: SC Ritzing 2 Arsenal 5 (Bergkamp, Henry, Reyes, Hlev, Larsson).  The third match of the pre-season in which we won every game of the six played.

24 July 2012: Arsenal played Malaysia on what seemed on TV pictures to be a ploughed field. Eisfeld scored his first goal and appeared to have a bright future with the club.  It was the series of games that was supposed to include a match in Nigeria, but never did. Eisfled moved on to VfL Bochum but his career was blighted by injury.

 


 

We currently have two books available.

“Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football” is the definitive history of Arsenal from its inception, and “Making the Arsenal” is a novel which tells the story of Arsenal in 1910.

Both books are now available on Kindle and in print.    Please see here for more details.   

On this site we have hundreds of series of articles on Arsenal history and a full list of the various series of articles on Arsenal’s history can be found here.    Three particular highlights are…

Henry Norris at the Arsenal:  There is a full index to the series here.

Arsenal in the 1930s: The most comprehensive series on the decade ever

Arsenal in the 1970s: Every match and every intrigue reviewed in detail.

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