Arsenal vs Rangers – the friendlies alongside those with Racing Club de Paris


It was Herbert Chapman and the president of Racing who took up the issue of a Racing v Arsenal match in the 1930s, and turned it into  a regular event, taking place as close to Armistice Day as possible each year.  It was in fact one of two regular friendlies that the club instituted – the other being a game against Rangers, which started in 1933 as the Game of Champions.

Once again it was a series that started through the work of Chapman – this time via his friendship with Bill Struth of Rangers.  Struth had been at Rangers longer than Chapman and had watched Arsenal grow from being relegation fodder into the dominant side.

Indeed there was even a link between the two contests as at the 1933 match against Rangers Arsenal invited Racing to be guests of honour.  In return Herbert Chapman and Samuel Hill Wood (the chairmen) were given the French Medal of Physical Culture.  Allison later received the same medal as the series continued.

So it was that three seasons after Arsenal started the series against Racing Club de Paris the series started, of which one of the high points was the midweek friendly between Arsenal and Rangers in December 1951.  62,012 was the official total, with many more locked outside.

It was the first game under the new floodlights at Highbury floodlights and a big black and white picture of the night hung in the Marble Halls at Highbury – and hopefully still has a place at the Emirates.

In the first year of the games there was a home and away format, the first match in Glasgow on September 20 1933 and the second at Highbury on September 27 – one week later.  After that it was once a year, alternating in venues, sometimes at the start of the season sometimes at the end.

The sequence of matches at Highbury ended in August 1967.  Arsenal won 3-0 with two from Sammels and one from Armstrong.   The following season a 2-2 draw was played out and that was that.

Results from Arsenal v Rangers friendlies:

1933/34  Rangers 2, Arsenal 0 (Ibrox)
1933/34 Arsenal 1,  Rangers 3 (Highbury)
1934/35 Arsenal 1, Rangers 1 (Highbury)
1935/36 Rangers 2, Arsenal 2 (Ibrox)
1936/37 Arsenal 2, Rangers 1 (Highbury)
1938/39 Rangers 1, Arsenal 0 (Ibrox)
1951/52 Arsenal 3, Rangers 2 (Highbury)
1953/54 Rangers 1, Arsenal 2 (Ibrox)
1954/55 Arsenal 3, Rangers 3 (Highbury)
1955/56 Rangers 2, Arsenal 0 (Ibrox)
1958/59 Arsenal 0, Rangers 3 (Highbury)
1960/61 Rangers 4, Arsenal 2 (Ibrox)
1962/63 Arsenal 2, Rangers 2 (Highbury, Jack Kelsey Testimonial)
1966/67 Rangers 2, Arsenal 0 (Ibrox)
1967/68 Arsenal 3, Rangers 0 (Highbury)
1968/69 Rangers 2, Arsenal 2 (Ibrox)
1973/74 Rangers 1, Arsenal 2 (Ibrox)
1980/81 Rangers 2, Arsenal 0 (Ibrox)
1989/90 Rangers 1, Arsenal 2 (Ibrox) (Zenith Data Challenge)
1996/97 Rangers 3, Arsenal 0 (Ibrox)
1996/97 Arsenal 3, Rangers 3 (Highbury, Nigel Winterburn Testimonial)
2003/04 Rangers 0, Arsenal 3 (Ibrox)

Emirates Cup:

2 August 2009: Arsenal 3 Rangers 0

12 Replies to “Arsenal vs Rangers – the friendlies alongside those with Racing Club de Paris”

  1. Tony,

    Hope this is of interest and not duplicated elsewhere.

    Full statistics of the Rangers/Arsenal meetings are to be found at RangersPedia here:

    Article in The Scotsman archives about the 1973 game at Ibrox which finished 1-2:

    And a mention of the significance of the 1973 Centenery Match to Rangers manager Willie Waddell who, as a 17 year old, had debuted for Rangers in the 1938 friendly, scoring the only goal of the game:

    There remains an anger and resentment that Rangers’ Arsenal shares were ever sold by that ******* Whyte.

  2. A lot of great history between these 2 mega clubs. I recently saw pictures of the 2 great managers Struth and Chapman teeing off at Royal Turnberry. It seems the two managers and their players enjoyed a round of golf before the annual matches in the thirties.
    I’d love to see the links between the two reinstated.
    A bit more info on the August 1996 match at Ibrox – it was a testimonial for Richard Gough and Arsenal were managed by Bruce Rioch in front of 40,000 fans.

  3. I remember the 1967/68 game at Highbury mainly because of the hooliganism of the Rangers fans on the north bank. They threw empty bottles up at the roof which splintered down onto the Arsenal fans heads,because of this, this fixture was not played again at Highbury till Nigel Winterburn’s testimonial. A truly scary experience that day.

  4. As a Rangers fan I was disgusted when our ‘new saviour’ Craig Whyte sold our club’s Arsenal shares. I loved our club having links to The Gunners and would hope our current board to try to get the shares back one day soon and to further cement the relationship between two great clubs.

  5. I was 12. I’d been to Arsenal matches before, but I’d been too small to stand up till now so this was my very first visit to the North Bank. I went with my Uncle Fred who’d been attending Arsenal games since the 1920s. Shortly after half time the Rangers fans started chucking bottles into the roof. There were over 60,000 people in the ground – ie it was totally choca – and yet a gap opened up on the terraces probably fifty yards wide as glass showered down onto the crowd below. Uncle Fred put his jacket over my head as he dragged me to safety. It was a very very scary introduction.

  6. The 1996 Richard Gough testimonial at Ibrox was the first Rangers game I got took to. Looking up the Arsenal line up? Can find the Rangers one, but can’t find the Arsenal one, can anyone help? From my memory Lukic was in goals and did Bergkamp play?

  7. It was a 3-3 draw
    Seaman 1, Parlour, Winterburn, Hughes. Bould. Marshall. Platt, Wright (2)Anelka, Bergkamp (1) Selley Morrow Limpar Lukic and Shaw were the subs.

  8. Tony, that was team for game at Highbury the Winterburn testimonial not the game at Ibrox.

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