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Don Roper: 10 years of magic at Arsenal

Don Roper: the key dates…

14 December 1922 Don Roper born in Botey, Hampshire 11 August 1947: Dan Roper signs from Southampton (See background article here) 23 August 1947: League Debut for Archie Macauley and Don Roper. Arsenal 3 Sunderland 1. 4 September 1956: Final Arsenal match for Don Roper 8 January 1957: Don Roper […]

Celebrating our most successful manager’s birthday

On this day in 1949 Arsenal’s reserve team were accused of smoking after the game. These days such an accusation would be ignored by the club, perhaps because invented negative reports are so commonplace, but in 1949 Arsenal went on the attack and threatened to sue. The newspaper backed down and wrote an apology.

Today […]

When Arsenal were deducted two points for a spot of argy bargy.

The events of this day in 1990 have always bemused me because for all the world it looked as if the Football League and Football Association were actually frightened of Arsenal and Manchester United. Liverpool were clear favourites at the top of the league on the day when there was a sport of argy-bargy on […]

When Kroenke met the Arsenal fans

On this day in 2013, some Arsenal fans group representatives wrote to Stan Kroenke requesting he honour his pledge made in 2011 to meet Arsenal fans groups. He didn’t.

However his son Josh Kroenke did turn up to a meeting (without warning) on 10 March 2019. That was a fans’ forum at which with head […]

The falsification of Arsenal’s history by repeating what the last guy said

by Tony Attwood

One of the most fascinating results of studying Arsenal’s history is just how commonly held views about the club’s past turn out to be utterly untrue.

For example, it is reported in many histories of the club that after Arsenal turned professional in 1893, one way or another all the local clubs […]

Islington council accused of trying to crush Arsenal out of existence

Arsenal’s move from Plumstead to Highbury was not universally liked, and many local residents and shop keepers in Islington objected strongly, even forming a “Defence Committee” and demanding that the local council stop the move.

It was a rather futile approach since the power of the local authority to stop the development of the unwanted […]

The strange behaviour and goalscoring decline of Adebayor

Adebayor, who on this day in 2006 scored for Arsenal, is not exactly remembered fondly by Arsenal fans because of his exploits in leaving the club and what he did later, but the extraordinary thing about his was that when he was playing, in 104 games he got 46 goals. A ratio of 0.44 goals […]

What was Arsenal’s most local derby ever?

Looking at that question you might think the answer is either going to be a game against Tottenham, or a game against Leyton Orient. Or maybe Clapton Orient. Or there again against Tottenham in the first world war when they played on our ground.

But no, let’s get rid of the war time games and […]

The men who got 33 (from the wing) 39 and 44 goals for Arsenal in a season

This day in 1937 marked the start of the final triumph of the glorious 1930s. Between April 1930 and April 1938 Arsenal won the league five times and the FA Cup twice, also coming runners’ up in the league once and beaten finalists in the league once.

But this was not just the work of […]

Why season openings don’t always tell us what is going to happen

Publications

“Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football” is the definitive history of Arsenal from its inception as a league club through to its first year at Highbury, and reveals dramatic elements of Arsenal’s early days that have never been revealed before.

“Making the Arsenal” is a journalist’s inside view of the events around Arsenal’s […]

The moment officialdom decided that it had to take on Arsenal

19 years ago today after a league match at Highbury, it was suggested that Mr Wenger, who until that moment had an utterly unblemished record as a manager, had indulged in violent or threatening behaviour against Mr Taylor, the fourth official at Sunderland. At the hearing Mr Wenger was given a 12 match ban. He […]

Only one person predicted Arsenal’s unbeaten season. But you’ll not guess who!

The answer to our question comes in the entry for 11 August 2003, and I really don’t want to spoil the fun by telling you who it was.

But I’ll give you a clue. He later became a notorious critic of the club.

Here are the anniversaries for today.

11 August 1923. It was common […]

The day Arsenal just avoided going out of business

Today is the anniversary of the moment in 1910 when Henry Norris took over Woolwich Arsenal FC. There were no other deals on offer at the time, and without Norris’ engagement with the club, it would have ceased trading and been wound up.

Norris subsequently cleared Arsenal’s debts, moved the club to Highbury and made […]

When Arsenal players force a transfer for more money, it doesn’t always work out

It is always nice to think that there is something special about Arsenal which brings out the best in players, and that after they depart the club, they never quite get that old Arsenal form back again.

Of course this can be a misleading thought since players may have played out their best years with […]

The endless stories that were told about Bellerin leaving.

By Tony Attwood

If you come across any stories of an Arsenal player wanting to leave the club this summer, it might be worth pausing for a moment and recalling the wild and frantic tales that surrounded Hector Bellerin who signed a new long term contract on this day in 2013. For two summers running […]

From the proposal of a salary cap in the Premier League to a mother’s expletives

On this day in 2009 Ivan Gazidis, then of Arsenal, proposed a salary cap in the PL – just one of a number of attempts by clubs, the PL and Uefa to get club spending under control. As yet none of these has shown much sign of having any real impact, although the issue of […]

From Arsenal’s Highbury debt to a 3% ticket price hike. Arsenal on 1 July in history

For many years 1 July was the first day of the summer transfer window, but this was changed when clubs decided to end the transfer period as the new season started. Previously it ended at the end of August – after several games had been played.

As a result it is also the day that […]

Which two of our most gifted players ever were both signed on this day in 1997?

What day contained not one but two utterly brilliant signings? The answer is this day in 1997 when Marc Overmars, Emmanuel Petit both signed for the club. Overmars played 100 games for Arsenal and Petit 85. Not huge numbers but their impact in transforming the club from also-rans into double winners cannot be over-estimated.

Here […]

When dismissing the notion of match fixing seriously backfired on the League

Making fun of people who suggest there might be something amiss with football is a common substitute for proper debate. The very notion that it could happen in English football is thus considered laughable and not worthy of investigation. Those suggesting something is amiss are themselves held to be worthy of derision.

Such was the […]

The knighting of Henry Norris, the rioting at Wembley, the long serving Grimandi

Does anyone remember Gilles Grimandi at Arsenal? I hope so because with us he won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups – in fact the two doubles under Mr Wenger. He also won the French League with Monaco.

That might be enough for most people, but since then and playing 114 games for […]

Who scored 38 goals in 34 games, and 74 in 90 games – and was booed?

The answer to the question above is Jack Lambert – one of the most extraordinary footballers ever to have taken on the Arsenal shirt. I won’t try and summarise his story here, but rather suggest that if you are interested you might like to follow the link in the first anniversary article, commemorating the birthday […]

The first Arsenal trophy in 17 years, and 18 in a row

Until the publication of John Sowman’s “The Long Sleep” no one had ventured to write a proper history of Arsenal between 1953 and 1970, simply because Arsenal achieved nothing during that spell. After all the titles that had gone before, no one really saw this coming, but a series of disastrous decisions by the board […]

When the referee was criticised by the FA for his handling of the game

By Tony Attwood

These days we don’t ever have referees criticised by the newspapers, but in the past even the FA would tell a referee off in public as was the case for the Arsenal v Tottenham game on this day in 1900. The crowd at Arsenal were known to be rowdy and were often […]

Arsenal stadium move announced, and allowed, plus the new shirt

By Tony Attwood

I am not sure anyone particularly noticed at the time but 4 March was both the day that Henry Norris confirmed Arsenal were moving to Gillespie Road from Plumstead, and the day one year later that London County Council gave permission for the ground to be built. That doesn’t sound too odd, […]

The thousands of players signed and who never play, and move on, forgotten

by Tony Attwood

In compiling these anniversary files I find time and again myself looking at the details of a player who has signed for Arsenal, sometimes with a little bit of a fanfare, but who never make it, moving on to play in non-league football if at all. Why don’t they make it? Maybe […]