Weird and Wonderful Arsenal Facts

Arsenal Mini Blasts from the Past

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  1. 1893-94 – in Arsenal’s third ever League game John Heath scored our very first hat trick in a 4-0 win over Walsall Town Swifts.
  • 1894-95 – following unsavoury incidents against the referee on January 26th, 1895

      Arsenal’s ground was closed for five weeks. The home games against Burton 

      Swifts and Leicester Fosse had to be played on neutral grounds.

  • 1895-96 – while the modern manager might complain of having a couple of fixtures in three days two fixtures in one day was not unheard of back in the 1800’s. That happened to Woolwich Arsenal on Saturday December12th 1896 when they were due to visit Loughborough in the League and also entertain Leyton in the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. The first team travelled to Leicestershire for the League match and lost 8-0 while the reserves disposed of Leyton 5-0 in the FA Cup.
  •  1889-90 – On March12th 1890 Arsenal got their revenge on Loughborough for the 8-0 defeat by giving them a 12-0 thrashing.
  • 1889-90 – Arsenal played away in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup to Thorpe, the game ended in a 2-2 draw after extra time. Thorpe was unable to travel for the return game and Arsenal gained the victory by default.
  • 1900 – Samuel Hill-Wood, Arsenal’s chairman, playing in a county cricket match for Derbyshire against the MCC at Lords scored an incredible ten runs off of one ball which is still the highest recorded for a single delivery.
  • 1904 – On Christmas day Arsenal played against a Paris XI and defeated them   26-1 (our highest ever score) the lone goal scored by the Paris XI was by the only Englishman on their side – it’s reported that the Arsenal team stepped aside to allow him to score.
  • 1907 – on November 7th Arsenal played Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the first ever London derby which Arsenal won 2-1 with a big assist going to the huge throng of Arsenal away supporters in the crowd of 65, 000. Royal Arsenal Works at Woolwich had closed for the day to allow its workers to celebrate King Edward VII’s birthday.
  • 1925 – In his first major purchase for Arsenal Herbert Chapman resigned Charlie Buchan from Sunderland, he had left previously over an expenses dispute.  Buchan was responsible, along with Herbert Chapman, for Arsenal’s adoption of the WM formation which eventually brought Arsenal significant success in the 1930s. After retiring from football Buchan became a football journalist with the Daily News (later renamed the News Chronicle), wrote one of the first coaching manuals, and also commentated for the BBC. In 1947, he co-founded the Football Writers’ Association, and from September 1951 until his death, he edited his own football magazine, Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly, which was published until June 1974.
  1. 1926 – Dan Lewis, our Welsh goalkeeper, was sent off in a game against Sunderland on April 10th 1926. He was the only Arsenal player to be sent off during the twenty seasons between the two world wars.
  1. 1928 – Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman sent his team out wearing the numbers 12-22 while his opponents Sheffield Wednesday wore number 1-11.
  1. 1930 – Arsenal wins their first FA Cup on April 26th1930 in front of a crowd of 92,488 at Wembley Stadium beating Huddersfield Town 2-0. With Alex James and Jack Lambert scoring the goals.
  1. 1931 – Arsenal wins their first League Division One Championship under new manager Herbert Chapman.
  1. 1932-1935 – Arsenal become only the second club to win three consecutive League Division One Championships, Huddersfield Town were the first club to do so from 1924 to 1926. Herbert Chapman was the manager for the 1932-33 and 1933-34 titles and unfortunately died of pneumonia in 1934. George Allison managed the team for the 1934-35 title.
  1. 1936 – Arsenal won their second FA Cup on April 25th 1936 in front of a crowd of 93,384 at Wembley Stadium beating Sheffield United 1-0. Ted Drake scored the only goal with sixteen minutes left in the game.
  1. 1938 – Arsenal won the First Division Championship for the fifth time in 1937-38 with 52 points which was only 16 points more than bottom club West Bromwich Albion. It was manager George Allison’s second League title.
  1.  1939-1945 – Arsenal lost 9 players during WW11, more than any other club.
  1. 1947-48 – Arsenal won the First Division Championship for the sixth time, it was the first title for manager Tom Whittaker.
  1. 1950 – Arsenal won their third FA Cup on April 29th1950 in front of a crowd of 100,000 at Wembley Stadium beating Liverpool 2-0. Reg Lewis scored both goals.
  • 1950 – Arsenal retained their entire professional staff of fifty nine at the end of the season, which is thought to be the largest recorded number in Football League History.
  • 1951-51 – Doug Lishman scored three consecutive hat tricks at Highbury against Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and Bolton Wanderers. Thierry Henry duplicated this feat during the 2002-03 season.
  • 1952-53 – Arsenal won their seventh First Division Championship, the second for Tom Whittaker.
  • 1953-54 to 1968-69 – this was a barren period for Arsenal as they went through sixteen seasons without winning any trophies.


13 thoughts on “Weird and Wonderful Arsenal Facts

  • Interesting bits of history–
    Thanks GN5!

    Leicester vs Liverpool = Home
    Crystal Palace vs Burnley = Home
    Manchester City vs Tottenham = Home
    Brighton vs Aston Villa = A
    Arsenal vs Leeds = Home (2-1)
    Eibar vs Real Valladolid = Home

  • Leicester v Liverpool: Away
    Crystal Palace v Burnley: Home
    Manchester City v Tottenham: Draw
    Brighton v Aston Villa: Home
    Arsenal v Leeds: 5-1
    Eibar V Real Valladolid: Draw

  • Oh GN5! What that must have been like, seeing those three hat tricks. See if you can spot yourself in the pic in this link:
    Did you, by any chance get to Wembley the following season to see the cup final v Newcastle? I understand that we finished the game with only 8 men on the pitch. And, Dougie Lishman hit the bar with a header.

  • Great post GN5…

    Off of the top of my head I believe that Charlie Buchan suggested the Third Back to Chapman during the 1924/25 season after a succession of games where the Arsenal defence had been performing poorly.
    Chapman always said he was willing to listen to anybody, even the tea boy, if he thought they had a good idea. I think that Jack Butler was the original Third Back.

    Back in day the half backs, that is left half, centre half and right half were kind of midfielders, the only out and out defenders were the left back and right back – the clue is in the name I guess.
    The Buchan/Chapman idea was for the centre half to stay back in between the full backs, therefore becoming a centre back as is the title we tend to give them today. One of the Arsenal inside forwards would then drop deeper into midfield to aid the left and right half giving Arsenal a kind of 3 3 4 formation. The forwards would be an outside left, an outside right, a centre forward, and either an inside left or an inside right depending on which inside forward was the attacker (David Jack, Ray Bowden etc) and which inside forward was the midfielder (Alex James, Bryn Jones etc)

    The tactic worked and the following season 1925/26 Arsenal finished runners up in the League scoring 90+ goals but conceding considerably less.

    Chapman developed the tactic and eventually found the perfect player in Herbie Roberts to play the new centre half role (Third Back/Centre Back).

  • Up until the mid to late 1960’s Arsenal used to have four teams competing in four leagues.

    The Football League for the 1st team.

    The Football Combination for the reserves

    The Metropolitan League and the South East Counties for other reserves and youths.

    I’m sure GN5 knows more and remembers more about this than me, for some reason a competition called the Eastern Counties League rings a bell.

  • During the 1930’s Arsenal had a nursery club called Margate FC, I’m not sure what League they played in but many of the most promising Arsenal youngsters of that time went there to finish their football education, Reg Lewis was one I’m pretty sure. I’m not sure if this was a Chapman idea or if it was already something Arsenal and other First Division clubs did back before youth football became more organised following the Second World War.

    So nursery clubs weren’t exactly unheard of in Britain, although the FA probably found a reason to ban the practice post war, being the progressive organisation they’ve always been.

  • Intriguing facts there, GN5. Thanks for sharing these at this time. The records didn’t appear to name the clubs against which Henry repeated Lishmans’ feat of 3 consecutive hat tricks; or could it have been the same teams and in same sequence? That would be truly weird, for sure.

    Something to clarify, though. The 1889-90 12-0 “revenge” against Loughborough precedes the 1895/96 8-0 loss, if the sequence of the season/years is taken into consideration. So, nice to confirm which result came first. Such goal margins were a frequent occurrence in those days; these days, only a sending off can see a Pro side concede so heavily. Well, at least, that’s what it’s looked like.

  • Fine in-swingers, too Kev.

    For what it’s worth, GN5, the records show Arsenal won the LONDON CITY CUP 6 times between 1953 and 1969/70. 😀😀

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