Remembering Arsenal:11 December 2021 – the recovery begins and other anniversaries

By Tony Attwood

On 11 December 2021 Arsenal were not in the best of shape, being seventh in the league and having lost three of their last four games, scoring five but conceding nine.

The game against Southampton was thus a “must win” not least as Southampton had numerous injuries and had just signed an emergency goal keeper with their two first choice men both unavailable.

This was also the moment Aubameyang was dropped for disciplinary reasons – the start of the process that saw him removed from the club.  However within 27 minutes Arsenal were two up through goals from Lacazette and Martin Ødegaard, with his third goal in three.  Gabriel got the third heading in a corner from Martinelli.

Arsenal moved up to sixth in the league – not what we all wanted but at least it was top six.

Here are the 11 December the anniversaries

11 December 1881  Thomas Tindal Fitchie (the only man to be signed by Arsenal five times) was born.  TT became a travelling salesman with Jacques & Co a sports goods and games manufacturer. They encouraged his football career as it allowed them access to the clubs and the players who were his team-mates.

11 December 1886: Arsenal’s first game under the name Dial Square, beating Eastern Wanderers 6-0.  When Arsenal History Society was formed there was no contemporary evidence to show this game actually took place, but our research found the missing newspaper evidence including the only contemporary report of the match – something which had been lost for 100 years.  After this match, membership of the club was expanded from those who worked in the Dial Square factory to everyone working for the Woolwich Arsenal.

11 December 1886: Fred Beardsley played for Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup and thus did not play in the Eastern Wanderers game as suggested in some quarters.

11 December 1897 Arsenal 4 New Brompton 2, FA Cup qualifying round 5.  Arsenal thus qualified for the first round proper but as happened two years earlier Arsenal lost to Burnley in the next round.

11 December 1901: “Dave” Halliday was born in Dumfries and trained initially as a motor mechanic playing for the works team of car maker Arrol-Johnston.  He later moved to Sunderland where he became their all time record scorer, before finally moving to Arsenal.

11 December 1902: Dan Lewis was born in Maery, Glamorgan, and after playing for clubs in his area moved to Clapton Orient, before joining Arsenal in 1924,

11 December 1909: After 7 consecutive away defeats Arsenal’s upturn in away form continued, beating Preston 4-3 making it three wins in a row.  See here for the build up to the game    Arsenal’s centre forward problems revealedand also here

11 December 1911: Having initially rejected an offer Dick Roose signed for Woolwich Arsenal.  In 1927 Henry Norris admitted that he and Hall had put up half each to pay a player £200 to sign for Woolwich Arsenal.  Roose himself was called upon by the League at one point to explain his expenses, and his testimony made the League a laughing stock.

11 December 1920: British forces set fire to 20,000 square metres of land in the centre of Cork, including the City Hall, in reprisal for the killing of a British auxiliary in an ambush. On the same day 50,000 watched a 1-1 draw with Chelsea, in very poor weather. It was Arsenal’s 10th game unbeaten although it did mean an end to the run of four consecutive victories.

11 December 1925: Sir Henry Norris made a payment of £125 to Charlie Buchan as compensation for the loss of revenue from the sports shop in Sunderland that bore Buchan’s name.  Because the money came from Sir Henry personally and was not related to playing the payment did not break the rules of the FA or League..

11 December 1926: A goalless draw away to Birmingham hardly seems a noteworthy event but having won just two of their last six games before this match Birmingham were happy to get a draw.  Arsenal having sunk down the league table were undoubtedly relieved to have gone three without defeat.

11 December 1928: The FA confirmed that they would press ahead with their hearing concerning Sir Henry Norris at Arsenal.  It finally began in February 1929.

11 December 1929: H. B. Peel left Arsenal to go to Bradford City.  He was the only player to leave the club during the entire season.

11 December 1937: Arsenal 2 Preston 0.  Last game for John Milne who lost his place to “Boy” Bastin.  He went on to play for Middlesbrough and later went to Mexico City with Tom McKillop and Jimmy Hickie to train a team there.

11 December 1943: Jack Crayston’s last game in the Football League South (wartime league).  At the end of the war he joined the coaching staff at Highbury and in June 1947 was appointed assistant manager to Tom Whittaker

11 December 1960: John Lukic born.  He played first for Leeds as a schoolboy and then started with the first team in 1979 before transferring to Arsenal for £75,000 as a replacement for Pat Jennings.

11 December 1963: Nigel Winterburn born.  He was with Birmingham City and Oxford Utd until joining Wimbledon in 1983, from whom he was signed by George Graham as part of the most famous defensive unit in Football League history.

11 December 1972: Arsenal beat Coventry at home 2-0 in front of 28,599.  Within five minutes Radford got the first, heading in an Armstrong corner.  Then when Mortimer’s shirt pulling tactics for once failed to haul back McNab, he  passed to Armstrong whose shot was parried to Radford who had all the time in the world to tap it in.

11 December 1979: Swindon Town 4 Arsenal 3 – for the second time Swindon knocked Arsenal out of the league cup. Arsenal’s team was… Jennings, Devine, Walford, Talbot, O’Leary, Young, Brady, Sunderland, Stapleton, Hollins, Rix.

11 December 2012: Arsenal lost in league cup to Bradford on penalties.  It was 1-1 after extra time with Vermaelen scoring, but he then missed one of the penalties along with Cazorla and Chamakh in the shoot out.

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