8 May: the double, the cup, the unbeaten season, and a wartime trophy

Day by Day: the videos – An Arsenal video for (almost) every day of the year in order. 


By Tony Attwood

It turns out that 8 May is quite a jolly day in Arsenal’s history as on 8 May 1971 Arsenal won the Double for the first time, beating Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup, in extra time, having secured the League at White Hart Lane five days earlier.

Kelly and George got the goals. It was only the second time Arsenal had played in front of 100,000.  You’ll remember Charlie’s goal – it is the one where he lay on the ground waiting for everyone to pick him up.

Then on 8 May 2002 Arsenal not only won the League in Manchester by beating Manchester United but also then became the first team in over 100 years to go unbeaten all season away from home.

This was in fact league match 37 of the 3rd Double season as Arsenal also set a new record for 8 consecutive away wins in Premier League – a record equalled on 28 September 2013… by Arsenal

8 May 2005: Arsenal beat Liverpool 3-1 as part of a 14 match unbeaten run in all competitions up to the end of the season which concluded with another FA Cup triumph.  The run also included a 12 match unbeaten run in the league.

But let’s not forget an earlier, if smaller triumph…

On 8 May 1922 Arsenal beat Crystal Palace 1-0 in the London Challenge Cup final having beaten Barking, QPR and Tottenham in earlier rounds.

Now you will be forgiven for not knowing about this competition.  For this was a competition that Woolwich Arsenal FC entered from 1908/9 season (when the competition was first formed) on to 1974 when it was wound up following competition from the League Cup.

In its early years the competition ran through four rounds with the semi-final and final being played on neutral grounds.  This changed in 1933 when all rounds were played on the ground of one of the participating teams (the home team being the first drawn from the hat, as in the conventional style).

From the start, the competition attracted both Football League and Southern League teams plus leading amateur teams – Arsenal for example playing Bromley in 1909 and Tufnell Park in 1914.

There was an unofficial change in the early 1930s when the first division clubs moved over to playing their reserve teams.  This change was similar to that which Arsène Wenger introduced with the League Cup many years later – the selection of the players was entirely a matter for the clubs and not a formal matter of policy by the London FA who organised the competition.

However change was afoot, and by 1966/7 it was compulsory for all league clubs to enter the Football League Cup (until that date some clubs, including Arsenal, refusing to take part).  The London Challenge Cup was thus of even less significance than before, and it finally ceased with the 1973/4 competition.

It was revived in 1990 for non-league teams, before being discontinued once again ten years later.

Arsenal’s first-ever match in the competition was on September 28 1908 –a 1-0 away victory over Fulham.  The club’s final match was on November 12 1973 in the semi-final, played away to Tottenham in which Arsenal lost 0-3.   The team on that final occasion is worth recording as it includes a few famous names:

Barnett, Dixon, Nelson, Powling, Tones, Matthews, Chambers, Hornsby, Ritchie, Price, Brady.

Arsenal reached the final on 16 occasions, winning the competition eleven times.

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.

100 Years: 100 Years in the First Division

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