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November 2020
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January 7: Arsenal 2 Bedford 2, on our least favourite day of the year.

By Tony Attwood

There are two reasons for choosing Arsenal v Bedford as the topic for January 7, apart from the fact that the result was remarkable.

First, we are obviously talking cup football at the moment, following our draw on January 6 2013 with Swansea.   And second January 7 is not exactly Arsenal’s favourite day.

The records suggest that overall we have played 19 first team games and won merely five, drawn four and lost ten on January 7th..  Way below our average across all days.

Of all the games and near disasters on this least favourite of days, the most awful must be the meeting of Arsenal and the mighty Bedford Town.

To give you the run down: Bedford were a Southern League club, who were player-managed by Ronnie Rooke of Arsenal and indeed England fame.

Over time they became known as giant killers but nothing really prepared the public at large for their match on January 7 1956 when they drew 2-2 with Arsenal at Highbury.   The crowd is put down at over 55,000.

In the replay Bedford nearly gained a victory, with two goals ruled offside, and leading 1-0 until four minutes from time.  They only lost 1-2 in extra time.  Rather wonderfully there is a brief film of the kick off available here.

Bedford Town under its original guise lasted until 1981/2 when the landlord of the ground ended the lease.  No new ground could be found and the club was wound up, although subsequently a new ground was found and they started again in 1989.

Unfortunately at this moment I don’t have Arsenal’s team for the day, but I do have the information at home so I will in due course replace this paragraph with one that includes the team – unless you would like to write it out and send a note in.

The books…

The sites…

The main series

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4 comments to January 7: Arsenal 2 Bedford 2, on our least favourite day of the year.

  • Mike Crisp

    Ronnie Rooke did indeed manage Bedford (twice) but at the time of the Arsenal games the manager was Tim Kelly.

  • Dominic Joyeux

    Hi there,
    I have the programme which has hand written amends to add or subtract players. So here we go:
    1. Sullivan
    2. Charlton
    3. Evans
    4. Goring
    5. Fotheringham
    6. Holton (captain)
    7. Clapton
    8. Tapscott
    9. Groves
    10. Bloomfield
    11. Tiddy
    I’m a Bedford man so would have wished those offside goals counted. But we did have another moment of FA Cup glory beating Newcastle united at st james’ in 1964.
    Dominic J

  • Warren

    Hi I collect old football matches from the 1920s,30,40,50 and 60s. Such as 1928 Wembley wizards England 1 Scotland 5 on vynl with original commentary from George Alison and I also have 1956 Arsenal v2 Bedford 2 and the replay in original commentary with Kenneth wolstenholm doing the replay.Fanstactic to watch..

  • Warren, is it possible to put the George Allison commentary on the internet? I am not sure there is one available on line for historians to hear, and it would be of great value. If you don’t have a way to do that, can you get in touch with me as I would love to put it on this website so all can hear it. I’ve never heard a complete commentary and I’ve been recording Allison’s life for years! Email me Tony@schools.co.uk if you would be interested.

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