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October 2020
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The passing of Sir Henry Norris, the man who saved Arsenal.

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.


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100 Years in the First Division: the absolute complete story of Arsenal’s promotion in 1919.


 

Today is the anniversary of the passing of Lt Col Sir Henry Norris, the man who saved Arsenal from extinction in 1910, who moved the club to Highbury, and who organised both the conscription and demobilisation of the army from his post in the War Office during the first world war and who post-war brought Herbert Chapman to the club.

Sir Henry was forced to resign from his position within Arsenal in 1927 following the takeover of the club by the Hill-Wood family and their associates.  The Hill-Wood family then continued to run Arsenal until they sold their shares to the Kroenke family.

Many reports suggest that Henry Norris was accused of stealing money from Arsenal – this is not true.   Rumours to this effect did circulate at the time of the Hill-Wood take over  but Arthur Gilbert, Arsenal’s solicitor and company secretary made a public statement confirming that no one in the FA was accusing or had accused Sir Henry of stealing money from Arsenal.

As a result of this admission Sir Henry took the FA to court for libel, since they had suggested in a report that Sir Henry had acted beyond the laws of football.  On  5 February 1929 the legal case between Sir Henry and the FA came to court and the judge ruled Sir Henry’s claim for libel failed because the gathering of information by the FA was similar to proceedings in court, in that they could not be challenged on the basis of slander or libel.  On that basis the FA could, in the process of gathering information, say anything it liked in one of its reports without fear of legal action.  It was a technical victory for the FA, simply meaning they could not be challenged over what they wrote in their own internal reports.

The issues that concerned the FA covered the payments to Sir Henry’s chauffeur, the alleged payment of money to Clem Voysey, the signing on fee for White,  and the famous £100 per goal arrangement with Charlie Buchan.   The court simply ruled that in their reports the FA could say anything they liked and could not be sued for it.  Thus Sir Henry simply walked away from football, and the club he had rescued in 1910, and from then on financed into the 1920s, having been edged out of Arsenal in a boardroom coup.

Here are the anniversaries.

30 July 1912: William Garbutt, ex-Arsenal man, appointed manager of Genoa CFC.  Genoa was seen to be an English town in Italy, and Garbutt sought work in the docks – but within weeks he was given the  job of being head coach of the club.

30 July 1915: Archie Macaulay born in Falkirk.  He played at first with Rangers and then West Ham, served his country in the Army Physical Training Corps, and later signed for Brentford from whom he was signed by Arsenal in July 1947 for £10,000.

30 July 1923: Arthur Hutchins was given a free transfer to Charlton then of Division III South, having played 108 league games for Arsenal.

30 July 1934: Death of Lt Colonel Sir Henry Norris – the man who rescued Arsenal in 1910, built Highbury in 1913, and hired Herbert Chapman in 1925.  Contrary to his current reputation he was very generous to the club’s staff, and always fought for Arsenal against vested interests elsewhere. See Henry Norris at the Arsenal for the full story of his work with the club.

30 July 1938:  The first edition of the Beano comic went on sale while those who liked slightly more serious matters would have been eagerly reading the new summer publications including “Brighton Rock” (Graham Greene), “Scoop” (Evelyn Waugh) and the hit novel of the year “The Code of the Woosters” by PG Wodehouse.

30 July 1962:  Jon Sammels signed as a professional.  He scored on his debut in 1963 and went on to play 212 games all told, including making 21 appearances in the first Double season. 

30 July 1966: England beat Wembley to win the world cup – their only final appearance.

30 July 1969: Kaiserslautern 2 Arsenal 2 (15,000) (Radford, George).  The third of four pre-season games.

30 July 1974  Brian Clough became the new manager of Leeds United, but his assistant Peter Taylor remained at Brighton as manager.  Brighton had finished two places off relegation from the 3rd division under Clough, which is exactly where they ended the following season under Taylor.  

30 July 1975: Hearts 0 Arsenal 2 in front of 11,000 fans.  Kidd was injured on 20 minutes and replaced by Radford, but not before putting Hornsby through to score.  Eddie Kelly ran the defensive side of the team excellently and Hearts hardly had a chance to get anywhere near the Arsenal goal.

30 July 1976: Arsenal 2 Notts C 0 (Ross, Macdonald).  It was the first friendly ahead of the new season.

30 July 1985: Windsor and Eton 0 Arsenal 1 (Woodcock).  First of four pre-season friendlies.

30 July 1989: Arsenal 1 Liverpool 0 (Bould)   Just 23,000 turned up at Wembley for the second of two games in the Makita Tournament.

30 July 1991: Arsenal 2 Celtic 2.  Paul Davis Testimonial.  He stayed with the club until 1995, making 447 league appearances all told and scoring 37 goals.  

30 July 1997: PSV Eindhoven 1 Arsenal 0 in a pre-season friendly.

30 July 2001 Real Mallorca 0 Arsenal 2 (van Bronckhorst, og).  The fourth of seven pre-season games.

30 July 2007: Reyes, one of the Invincibles, left Arsenal.  He had just had a season long loan with Real Madrid, playing 30 games for them, having played 69 for Arsenal across three seasons.

30 July 2008: Jens Lehmann, having moved to Stuggart, played his first match for them… against Arsenal.  It ended VFB Stuttgart 1 Arsenal 3 (Vela, Bendtner, Wilshere)

30 July 2011: Arsenal signed midfielder Amaury Bischoff from Werder Bremen.  Arsene Wenger admitted the signing was a gamble because of his injury record and indeed he only played one game for Arsenal, before moving on to Académica de Coimbra in Portugal.  Also on this day: Arsenal 2 Boca Juniors 2 (Emirates cup) (Van Persie, Ramsey)

30 July 2015: Jon Toral loaned to Birmingham City for a season after a successful spell with Brentford.  He played 36 games, scored 8 goals, and won awards for Goal of the Season award, Players’ and Supporters’ “Player of the Season” awards. After an unsuccessful spell at Granada he went to Rangers and finally found a permanent club in Hull City whom he joined in 2017.

30 July 2017: Arsenal lost to Sevilla 2-1 in the Emirates Cup, with a goal from Lacazette.

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