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)
2 August 2009: Arsenal 3 Rangers 0