By Tony Attwood
I sometimes think that many of the fans who moan about the current (2013) state of Arsenal, and make their comments about “the worst Arsenal team ever” have no concept of history at all.
Perhaps because I have lived there and been through them, any new ones that come along are less vivid and hurtful than for other supporters, although that is not to say they don’t hurt. Maybe as one gets older they don’t hurt quite so much.
Anyway, here’s what I came up with. It was actually a much larger list for the period I arbitrarily chose, than I expected it to be.
The criteria I have used is Arsenal being beaten in the FA Cup or League Cup by a club from a lower league that season. I think I have found them all, and removed any occasions where we are beaten by a team we now think of as lower league (eg Luton Town) but who were in the top division at the time.
|1969/70||Blackpool 2-3||FA Cup 3rd round||Mee|
|1973/4||Tranmere 0-1||League Cup 2nd||Mee|
|1978/9||Rotherham 1-3||League Cup 2nd||Neil|
|1979/80||Swindon 3-4||League Cup QF||Neil|
|1983/4||Walsall 1-2||League cup 4th||Neil|
|1983/4||Middlesbrough 2-3||FA Cup 3rd round||Neil|
|1984/5||Oxford United 2-3||League Cup 3rd||Howe|
|1984/5||York City 0-1||FA Cup 4th round||Howe|
|1991/2||Wrexham 1-2||FA Cup 3rd round||Graham|
|1993/4||Bolton 1-3||FA Cup 4th round||Graham|
|1994/5||Millwall 0-2||FA Cup 3rd round||Graham|
|1995/6||Sheffield U 0-1||FA Cup 3rd round||Rioch|
|1996/7||Leeds U 0-1||FA Cup 4th round||Wenger|
|1999/2000||Leicester 0-0 pens||FA Cup 4th round||Wenger|
|2000/1||Ipswich 1-2||League Cup 3rd||Wenger|
My point here is that defeats by lower league clubs happen. And indeed they can happy twice in one season, as has happened in 2012/13 – look at 1983/4 for example.
In fact the whole thing is common and doesn’t mean too much really. It is terribly upsetting and frustrating, but it is there, it happens on the day.
And I don’t think it is just Arsenal that suffers. Obviously I don’t have the level of reference books for other clubs as I have for Arsenal, but I do recall Manchester United lost to Coventry in 2007. And indeed Tottenham and Liverpool seem to me to have some difficulty this season with lower league teams.
In a very real sense the historical perspective doesn’t make the defeat I witnessed yesterday to Blackburn any easier to take, but at least history shows us that this is just an occasional recurring theme. It does not represent the end of the world, or the end of an era.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal – crowd behaviour at the early matches
- Untold Arsenal
- Referee Decisions – just what are the refs up to this season?
- The weight loss programme: The only guaranteed way to stay fit