The moment the rest of the league turned against Arsenal



Today’s headline anniversary headline comes from 1915

30 March 1880: Birth of Tommy Shanks – the man who became the first Arsenal player to score 20 goals in a season, but then mysteriously left for non-league Brentford, before playing for Leicester Fosse.

30 March 1888: Royal Arsenal 3 Millwall Rovers 0.  This game against the local rivals was the first ever game the club  played on the Manor Field (then known as Mr Cavey’s field) which in 1893 became the home of Woolwich Arsenal until 1913.   See also here

30 March 1889: Arsenal 9 Royal Artillery 0.  It was Royal Arsenal’s largest win since the formation of the club at the end of 1886.

30 March 1891: Arsenal 1 Heart of Midlothian 5.  Arsenal secured a 10,000 crowd for a second time, and this figure was a significant factor in the discussions about Arsenal becoming a professional club.

30 March 1894: Joseph Toner born.  He joined Arsenal in 1919 and stayed for seven seasons, playing 89 games and scoring six goals before moving onto St Johnstone.

30 March 1895: Woolwich Arsenal met Newton Heath (later Man Utd) for the first time at home after the Manor Ground was re-opened following the closure due to crowd problems.   Arsenal won 3-2 in front of 6000 supporters

30 March 1897: JB Mitchell, Arsenal’s first manager took office.  His appointment had been hastened by the club’s concerns over the 0-8 defeat to Loughboro and the view that was spreading that there was increasing indiscipline in the team.

30 March 1898: WR Elcoat accepted an offer to take over as Arsenal manager one year after Mitchell had resigned citing difficulties in his relationship with the board.  He, like his predecessor only last one year. Most books that mention him call him “George” but this is an error.

30 March 1915: Henry Norris went to a joint meeting of the FA and the Football League, after the colonel in charge of the Footballers’ Battalion complained that some football clubs were actively working to stop their players joining up. Charlie Buchan reported Sunderland told him they would sue for breach of contract if he left his job to sign up.  Norris assured the meeting that Arsenal and Fulham were going out of their way to encourage players to sign up, and were at the same time still paying the wages of the players who had signed up. This event was a key element in the split between Norris and other senior figures in football which led to his ousting in 1927.

30 March 1929: Arsenal 7 Bury 1 made it 11 without defeat. Jack got four, Parkin two (his first goals for the club)  and Thompson the other. Unfortunately, the form suddenly dipped with no wins in the next four.

30 March 1934: Arsenal’s top crowd for the season: 69,070 v Derby County.  Alex James scored the only goal and kept Arsenal on course for the second successive championship.

30 March 1935: Arsenal beat Aston Villa away 3-1 meaning that in the league for the month Arsenal had trebled their number of away wins, but had managed just two 1-1 draws at home.  But they were still top of the league.

30 March 1938: Arsenal were again top of the league but now had eight league games to play in 36 days, plus the club also had a series of friendlies – including (amazingly) one against arch-rivals of the season, Wolverhampton!

30 March 1940.  Tottenham 1 Arsenal 1 in the wartime League South “C” Division.  Arsenal also played in the “A” division which ran from October to April, and had beaten Tottenham twice in that division.

30 March 1946: The war leagues continued for the 1945/6 season with Arsenal in the Football League South, on this day beating Millwall 4-0 in a seven match unbeaten run. 29,444 turned up at WHL (where Arsenal played its home games through the war), but earlier poor performances meant Arsenal eventually finished only 11th in the league.

30 March 1970: Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace 0.  Four league wins in five seemed like a miracle following the earlier ten without a win.  Radford and George got the goals.

30 March 1974: Stoke 0 Arsenal 0 made it four games undefeated as the mini-revival continued to build.  In the end it was six without defeat as Arsenal climbed towards their final position of 10th in the league.

30 March 1983: Jérémie Aliadière born.  A prodigious talent but a player constantly hampered by injury – so many in fact that he only managed 2 league games with Arsenal between 2001 and 2007.

30 March 1985: Last first team appearance for Raphael Meade.  Stoke 2 Arsenal 0 in front of a crowd of just 7,371 – the lowest crowd to see Arsenal since 5 May 1966.  The result made it one win in six.

30 March 1985: George Cox died.  Although he only scored one goal for Arsenal he could be a prolific scorer, as his Football Combination record of 53 goals in 75 matches shows.   Despite playing for Arsenal’s first team during the 1930s, George Cox remains better known for his career in first-class cricket.

30 March 1988: Oxford Utd 0 Arsenal 0 in front of 9,088.  This was the debut of Brian Marwood. He played 52 league games and scored 16 goals for Arsenal and was a crowd favourite.

30 March 2002: Arsenal 3 Sunderland 0.   League match 31 of the 3rd Double season.  Vieira and Bergkamp put Arsenal two up in four minutes.  Wiltord scored the third on the half hour. It was part of a 13 match winning streak.

30 March 2009: Stan Kroenke increased his shareholding in Arsenal to over 20% by buying the Danny Fiszman shares.

30 March 2013: Arsenal 4 Reading 1, which made it 16 goals in three games against Reading.  Santi Cazorla got a goal to add to his hattrick in the away game, with Gervinho, Giroud and Arteta getting the others.  And also here  This was part of an 11 match unbeaten spell which ended the season to keep Arsenal’s run of top four finishes going.

30 March 2022: Arsenal played a surprise and secretive friendly against Brentford, which it was assumed was to test out young players and new tactics.  Arsenal had won six of the last seven games, but after the friendly lost the next three.


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