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When fans says “we want our Arsenal back” hopefully they don’t mean 18 January 1960

By Tony Attwood

The 1960s were not Arsenal’s finest era, and the start of the decade certainly suggested things were amiss.  In 1959/60 we came 13th in the First Division and were knocked out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle by Rotherham United.

Our manager was George Swindin and he lasted two more seasons after this disaster  before being replaced by the even worse Billy Wright.  When people say “we want our Arsenal back” I hope they don’t mean this.

On the other hand the fifties were the golden era for Rotherham United being in the 2nd division and the closest ever to getting into the First, finishing third on goal average.

Drawn against Arsenal in the 3rd round they were given no chance however, but held us to a 2-2 draw at Millmoor after being 2-0 down with 20 mins to go. At Highbury the replay finished 1-1 after extra time and Rotherham apparently won the toss in the boardroom to choose the neutral venue for the third match.  They chose Hillsborough and got a crowd of 56,000 and a victory by 2-0. Apparently if we had won the toss it would have been White Hart Lane.

Here’s the Arsenal team:

Goalkeeper Jim Standen
Full back Len Wills
Full back Jimmy Magill
Centre half John Snedden
Wing half John Barnwell
Wing half Tommy Docherty
Outside right Danny Clapton
Inside forward Len Julians
Centre forward Mel Charles
Inside forward Jimmy Bloomfield
Outside left Jackie Henderson

After the game Arsenal lost just once in the next seven which was a huge improvement in league form.  Indeed two days before the second replay Arsenal had lost 0-3 away to Tottenham (which makes the choice of WHL as the ground for the 2nd replay rather odd.

Rotherham however were in no great shape, apart from the Arsenal games, failing to win in the next nine games:

26 Dec 1959 Rotherham United v Middlesbrough L 0-2 League Division Two
28 Dec 1959 Middlesbrough v Rotherham United L 3-0 League Division Two
02 Jan 1960 Rotherham United v Bristol City W 3-1 League Division Two
09 Jan 1960 Rotherham United v Arsenal D 2-2 FA Cup
13 Jan 1960 Arsenal v Rotherham United D 1-1 FA Cup
16 Jan 1960 Scunthorpe United v Rotherham United L 2-1 League Division Two
18 Jan 1960 Rotherham United v Arsenal W 2-0 FA Cup
23 Jan 1960 Rotherham United v Leyton Orient D 1-1 League Division Two
30 Jan 1960 Rotherham United v Brighton and Hove Albion D 1-1 FA Cup
03 Feb 1960 Brighton and Hove Albion v Rotherham United D 1-1 FA Cup
06 Feb 1960 Rotherham United v Cardiff City D 2-2 League Division Two
08 Feb 1960 Brighton and Hove Albion v Rotherham United L 6-0 FA Cup
13 Feb 1960 Hull City v Rotherham United L 1-0 League Division Two
27 Feb 1960 Huddersfield Town v Rotherham United L 2-1 League Division Two
02 Mar 1960 Rotherham United v Sheffield United D 0-0 League Division Two
05 Mar 1960 Rotherham United v Ipswich Town L 1-4 League Division Two
12 Mar 1960 Bristol Rovers v Rotherham United L 3-1 League Division Two
19 Mar 1960 Rotherham United v Sunderland W 1-0 League Division Two
26 Mar 1960 Brighton and Hove Albion v Rotherham United D 0-0 League Division Two
02 Apr 1960 Rotherham United v Stoke City W 3-0 League Division Two
09 Apr 1960 Portsmouth v Rotherham United L 2-0 League Division Two
16 Apr 1960 Rotherham United v Lincoln City W 1-0 League Division Two
18 Apr 1960 Liverpool v Rotherham United L 3-0 League Division Two
19 Apr 1960 Rotherham United v Liverpool D 2-2 League Division Two
23 Apr 1960 Aston Villa v Rotherham United L 3-0 League Division Two
30 Apr 1960 Rotherham United v Swansea Town D 1-1 League Division Two

But it was not all over for Rotherham who actually reached the first ever League Cup final, losing to Villa.  Arsenal refused to participate.

In the 1965-6 season they lost 1-0 to Manchester United after a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.   But in 1967-68 they committed suicide getting Tommy Docherty as manager, and getting relegated as well.

So there we are: 18 January 1960.  Not exactly our greatest moment.

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4 comments to When fans says “we want our Arsenal back” hopefully they don’t mean 18 January 1960

  • Oguntuase Amos

    Arsene Wenger is the father and the architect of the modern Arsenal FC. it is a disservice to malign and insult such a man. He might not have won anything in the past 7 seasons but how many managers could operate under the conditioned he had operated and win anything substantial? Fans memory are short but we still have reasonable ones, only the shortsighted live in the present forgetting the power of history.

  • colario

    They don’t mean 1900 or 1961. They mean 1997-2005 with Arsene keeping the standard he set.

  • David Corne

    I used to go to away matches and in 1960 the Arsenal played at Aston Villa where I’m pretty sure they lost.
    After the game the team were heading back to London on the same train as the some of the away Arsenal support. I remember to this day that Jimmy Greaves was mentioned to George Swindin as a would be signing for the Gunners by a fan awaiting on the platform at New Street. Swindin dismissed the suggestion and said ‘Greaves is too much of a trouble maker.’ I’ve never forgotten that comment; Greaves of course, returned to London with Spurs obtaining his signature. What a player Arsenal missed out on. Oh for someone like him in today’s current team.

  • wenger should have been released some time ago ! imagine selling fabregas & van persie and not buying a decent replacement .. I have supported Arsenal for 50 years but all the club care about these days is trying to win the ‘best bank balance’ cup. can the club fool all of the supporters all of the time ?! discuss ..

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