An Arsenal Blast from the Past Charles Buchan (1891-1960)

July 2, 2015

 

Reading back on my post about Sir Henry Norris it made me realise that I knew very little about the life and career of Charles Buchan – so here goes…………

Charles Buchan 1

Charles was born in 1891 in Plumstead, London. In 1909 he joined a local club, Woolwich Arsenal playing as an amateur. He was impressive in reserve games but he fell out with manager George Morrell over his expenses, and refused to sign to a professional contract. He then moved to Northfleet United as an amateur for the remainder of the 1909/10 season. At Northfleet he helped the team win the Kent Senior Cup, Kent League and Thames and Medway Combination medals. After the 1909/10 season he signed for Southern League Leyton and was spotted and signed by Sunderland in March 1911.

Charles was extremely successful with Sunderland they won the 1912/13 First Division title, and narrowly missed out on the double, losing the FA Cup final 1–0 to Aston Villa. He was considered to be the best footballer in the country and was Sunderland’s leading scorer for seven of the eight seasons from 1912/13 to 1923/24 (excluding the WW1 seasons, when no football was played). His appearances for England were limited due to the war therefore he only earned six full caps, scoring four goals.

(The following is an excerpt from the book “Fields of Glory by Gavin Mortimer)
Charlie enlisted in the Grenadier Guards in April 1915, the moment the season ended. He was sent to Caterham barracks to train and was told by the sergeant “We don’t tame lions here, we eat them!” Buchan spent a year at the Guards depot and was promoted to acting lance-corporal in March 1916. In May that year he was sent to France and he arrived on the front line of the Western Front in mid July, two weeks after the Battle of the Somme commenced. He was in the 3rd Battalion, stationed at the village of Mericourt, and was soon promoted to lance-sergeant. He was also put in charge of the battalion’s football XI! In the early hours of the morning of September 14 Charlie went into action for the first time in a big push on the Somme. It was a slaughter and 380 men and 18 officers (from 21) were killed or wounded from Charlie’s battalion. Charlie remained on the front line throughout 1917, fighting in the Ypres offensive of July 1917 and at the battle of Bourlon Wood in November 1917, part of the offensive when the British used tanks for the first time. It was a bitter battle that degenerated into bloody hand to hand fighting. The battalion diary noted that they “killed 40 of the enemy with the bayonet”. In December 1917 his named was put forward for a commission and he returned to England in early 1918 for officer training. He was also decorated with the Military Medal for courage shown during the battle for Bourlon Wood.

In 1925 at the age of 34 his place in the Sunderland team went to Dave Halliday who went on to score at least 35 league goals in each of his four full seasons with the club becoming the most prolific goals to games goal scorer in their history.

Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman was interested in buying Buchan however Sir Henry Norris was reluctant to spend the £5,000 he was reputed to be worth. Sunderland manager Bob Kyle started off by asking for only £4,000 but eventually Chapman bargained him down to £2,000 up front plus £100 for every goal he scored during his first season; he went on to score twenty-one forcing Arsenal to pay £100 more than Kyle’s original demand. Charles made his debut for the Gunners in a North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur on August 29th 1925 (This was also Chapman`s 1st game as the new Arsenal manager). Much of Arsenal’s success in the 1930’s was due not only to his goals but also to his contribution to Arsenal’s tactics it was he, along with Chapman, who thought of changing Arsenal’s formation to the famous “WM“, in order to fully exploit the revised offside law. His idea was to move the centre half from a roaming position in midfield to a “stopper” position in defence, with one forward brought back into midfield. This meant the offside trap was no longer the responsibility of the two full-backs, but the single central defender, while the full backs were pushed wider to cover the wings.

Despite his age he was a regular at Arsenal for three seasons. He captained Arsenal to their first-ever Cup final in 1927, but again was on the losing side, as Cardiff City beat the Gunners 1–0, thanks to a freak mistake by Arsenal keeper Dan Lewis. He finally retired at the end of 1927–28, having scored 16 league goals that season despite being 36 years of age. In all he scored 56 goals in 120 matches for Arsenal; his count of 257 goals in the League would have been more had the First World War not intervened.

After retiring, Buchan became a football journalist with the Daily News (later renamed the News Chronicle), he wrote one of the first coaching manuals, and also commentated for the BBC. In 1947, he co-founded the Football Writers’ Association. The decision to form the FWA was made by Charles Buchan and 3 other journalists – Coles, Roy Peskett and Archie Quick on board a ship in the middle of the English Channel on September 22 1947. The four were returning from Brussels, where they had seen England beat Belgium 5-2 in a friendly international. Within a month they had formalised some of the rules and regulations for the fledgling association; membership would be by invitation only, to “working journalists who are accredited football correspondents for newspapers and agencies”. Headquarters were to be in London, with the initial membership fee set at five guineas for the first year, and two guineas annually thereafter – with an FWA tie included. It was Charles Buchan who suggested that an award should be given “to the professional player who by precept and example is considered by a ballot of members to be the footballer of the year.” That was back in 1947 and since then the Footballer of the Year Award has become the most prestigious award in the British game. Voted for year-on-year by the FWA members, the first recipient was Sir Stanley Matthews. From September 1951 until his death, he edited his own football magazine, Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly” which continued to be published until June 1974, 14 years after his death.

He published his autobiography, “A Lifetime in Football” in 1955.

Charles Buchan died in 1960, at the age of 68, whilst holidaying in Monte Carlo.

GunnerN5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Will Petr Cech make a significant difference?

July 1, 2015

I think we can all agree that Arsenal have been lacking a truly top class ’keeper since “Mad” Jens left. Some would say that the lack goes back further to David “Safe Hands” Seaman’s departure.

We’ve seen a few come and go, Almunia, Fabianski and Mannone, while a few more have stayed, Szczesny, Ospina and Martinez. All have been given a chance to make the Number One shirt their own. None of them have been entirely successful.

The signing of David Ospina during last summer’s transfer window came as a bit of a surprise to most Gooners, he had had a good World Cup, was one of two first team ‘keepers at French Ligue 1 side Nice but was not happy to share the gloves with the young Joris Delle and so signed for Arsenal for around £3 million. He had a good but not spectacular first season and now seems likely to leave for pastures new.

So we come to our latest recruit Petr Cech, one of the rocks that Abramovich’s Chelsea were built on and a mainstay of the side since he joined in 2004, his 333 appearances say a lot about his consistency as well as his talent. There can be no doubt that he played an enormous part in the many successes that Chelsea have enjoyed since Abramovich injected his roubles into the then ailing West London club.

I don’t think there can be any doubt that Arsene Wenger has signed one of the best goalies in the world. I believe that Cech will bring an air of calmness into our defence and will give some confidence to our defenders. My personal belief is that he will certainly make a significant difference to our team and it’s prospects in the coming seasons.

What do other Gooners think?

Written by Norfolk Gooner.


Benzema for Koscielny anyone?

June 29, 2015

Just a little poser with a twist to follow on from Micky’s post.

I feel we need a top striker but am scratching my head as to who we can get that is :-

1 Top class and able to bring that class to the more robust EPL.

2 Potentially available (i.e current employers are willing to consider selling).

3 Their price is not over-inflated and represents true market value.

4 Their wage expectation is not over-inflated.

5 The player has an interest in joining us.

Most of the viable options have some question mark hanging over them with one of these questions. I have ruled out Suarez and Aguero as we will just not get them from those clubs, even though they tick every other box. Looking at some of the other candidates (that I like) my observation would be as follows:-

Cavani – Likely to be able to adapt to the EPL as he is a reasonable physical specimen. However he is over-priced by PSG due to over-paying for him. Unsure of any real player interest in joining us. Is he still one of the world’s best or has he slipped down a notch? Most likely factor to prevent transfer is PSG’s and his unrealistic expectation with transfer fee and wages respectively.

Lewandowski – Seems top grade and will likely adapt to the EPL due to his physical attributes. However he doesn’t seem surplus to requirements at Bayern and I have not heard of any interest on his behalf, so an unlikely option due to this.

Aubemayeng – Not yet a top proven striker but I feel there is a bit of the “Thierry- convert from decent winger to top striker – Henry’s” about him so would be a very good punt. Wages and transfer fee likely to be reasonable, however recent statements from Dortmund seem to be telling us to do one so this is looking less likely.

Higuain – Seems top class but maybe will not cut it in the EPL, and was considered second to Benzema when at Real so is he truly world class? Recent Napoli chairmen statements will likely make his transfer unlikely.

Benzema – Not without its difficulties but I still feel our best bet. Real seem to be looking for a shiny new toy so he could become surplus and may feel he doesn’t want to play second fiddle. I feel the club willingness and player desire may possibly be there. Players deemed surplus at Real, (and Barca for that matter…Aleeeexiiis :) ), are often still top players but are just victims of the Galactico recycling project. Is a physical specimen so should cut it in the EPL and has excellent link up play to fit with our (well Micky’s and my J ) desire to play with a fluid front 3.

Here is the twist……….

Real seem interested in Kos. Now if Kos said to AW no thanks I love it here then stop it right there and then and move forwards based on him staying. But if Kos expresses a slight interest that shows his head may have been slightly turned then maybe AW should say to Real “You only get him if Benzema is part of the deal”.

I love Kos but in my mind there are maybe 2-3 excellent alternatives to him at a reasonable price out there. The top striker position seems to be scarce and hard to fill at present, more so than the CD position IMO. Is it easier to replace Kos than it is to get a top striker in a straight off deal? Maybe this is our best, if not only, chance of getting that top striker in a reasonable deal.

So what do you guys think?

Written by GoonerB


Arsenal Transfer System Solution

June 26, 2015

The diary says Rant Friday, the mind says relax, all is cool and smokey dopey Glasto weekend.

On the transfer front, I suspect the real action will begin once the Copa America ends, and then the endless haggling will rumble on and on and on.

The really good news is that I have a solution.

Let’s look at the evidence. How many of our 1st XI would get in to the current Champions League winning Barcelona side? You guessed it. None. Maybe two if you are being nice and elastic. In other words, out there somewhere is a player better than we have in any one position. So, here’s the plan and like all great ideas, it is very simple.

Allocate your transfer budget. Say £70M (you’d recoup maybe 30 by flogging players with bad hair and so on). Ok, next step, allocation of funds. Don’t need defenders, so one midfielder, and one forward. Tidy so far.

Attackers are better than midfielders, so 40 on the front boy, and 30 on the other fella.

List all players who may be an upgrade. Reus, Draxler, Benzema, Cavani etc

Ditto midfielders. Schneiderlin, Wanyama, Bender, Vidal, Cavalho and so on.

Then take out a sodding great Ad. in SHOOT jobs section:

AFC OFFER £40M + 160k wages to …… (list potential applicants eligible to apply)

AFC OFFER £30M + 120k wages to …… (list potential applicants eligible to apply)

NO OFFERS. NO NEGOTIATION. FIRST COME GETS JOB.

No buggering about over the numbers. In budget. Get two serious upgrades. We’ll make a system to fit later.

Written by mickydidit89

 


Sir Henry George Norris (July 23, 1865 – July 30, 1934)

June 25, 2015

An Arsenal Blast from the Past No. 21

sir-henry-norris1

Born in Kennington, to a working class family he left school at fourteen to join a solicitor’s firm. Eighteen years later he left to pursue a career in property development, partnering W.G. Allen in the firm Allen & Norris. He made his fortune building houses in south and west London, Fulham in particular. He was commissioned into the 2nd Tower Hamlets Rifle Volunteers in 1896, but resigned the following year. From 1909 to 1919 he served as Mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Fulham, a member of the London County Council from 1916 to 1919, and as a Conservative MP for Fulham East from 1918 to 1922.

During World War I Norris was a military recruitment officer for the British Army. He served in the 3rd Middlesex Artillery Volunteers and in 1917 he was knighted and given the honorary rank of colonel for services to his country. He was also a prominent Freemason, rising to become Grand Deacon of the United Grand Lodge of England, and a well-known local philanthropist with close connections to the Church of England; he counted the Archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Thomas Davidson as a personal friend.

He purchased Woolwich Arsenal in 1910 and controlled his club like a dictator. Unlike other club directors and chairmen of his era Sir Henry never served on boards to raise his standing in the community, he did things his own way. He made numerous powerful enemies both in and out of football due to his questionable tactics and bullying nature. His company, Allen & Norris, was responsible for transforming Fulham from a semi-rural outpost into an urban jungle. In the process of constructing, renovating and selling houses, he made a large network of contacts in building and banking, many of whom owed him favours. Photographs and written accounts suggest that his physical stature, actions and mannerism’s made him a man to be feared.

The Woolwich Arsenal board welcomed Norris with open arms, having heard of his political ‘prowess’ when he was a director of Fulham. He had negotiated their rapid rise from the Southern League right up to Division Two. Fulham’s rise in divisions took place in only four years and that led directors of other clubs to suggest that the Football League had received substantial backhanders, but no firm evidence was ever found. Sir Henry was already the undisputed master of subterfuge. On buying his majority stake in Woolwich Arsenal, he proposed a merger with Fulham and a permanent move to Craven Cottage to create a London ‘super-club’ but he was blocked by the Football League. Unable to merge the two clubs he set about rejuvenating Woolwich Arsenal and proposed that the club should be moved to North London enabling them to benefit from a local population of 500,000 in the districts of Finsbury, Hackney, Islington and Holborn. Chelsea, Orient and Spurs protested the proposal over concern for the erosion of their fan bases. The Tottenham Herald described Norris as an “interloper”, and a cartoon portrayed him as being the equivalent of the Hound of the Baskervilles, prowling around farmyards in an enormous spiked collar, ready to rip apart the Tottenham cockerel and steal its food.

An FA enquiry was set up to investigate the move but, once again, Sir Henry used his “influence” to stack the deck by appointing many personal friends to the committee and giving them information that would be favourable to Woolwich Arsenal. The committee ruled that the opposition had “no right to interfere”. The Tottenham Herald placed an advertisement begging its readers not to go and support Norris’s Woolwich interlopers stating that “They have no right to be here.”

A group of Highbury residents were equally indignant about the possibility of the undesirable elements of professional football creating a vulgar presence on their doorstep. But true to form Sir Henry launched a charm offensive on the group, assuring them that they’d barely notice a football club in their midst, and in any case, that 30,000-plus fans in the district every other Saturday would be excellent for local business. The next hurdle to cross turned out to be the Church of England, many on the ecclesiastical committee believed football to be ‘ungodly’ and local residents believed that the thought of the Church of England agreeing to a football club buying the land was inconceivable. But Sir Henry went right to the top and offered the church a donation of £20,000, the church committee accepted the offer and the Archbishop of Canterbury personally signed the deed to Highbury.

Highbury construction

With several members of the team killed in the Great War and no football having been played since 1915 Sir Henry’s hopes of transforming Arsenal into a super-club appeared to be in tatters. Having invested over £125,000 into the club, he faced the almost impossible task of rebuilding Arsenal from mid-table in Division Two to his dream “Super Club”. But he was about to pull another rabbit out of his hat. When the FA reconvened in 1919, Norris was full of confidence having just been knighted for his work as a recruitment officer during the war. He was also granted the honorary title of colonel and in the 1918 General Election had been voted Tory MP for Fulham East on a platform of “common decency”, “family values” and “moral strength”.

An FA management committee, anxious to get football back on its feet, proposed that Division One be expanded from 20 to 22 clubs. This wouldn’t seem to benefit Arsenal, who’d finished fifth in Division Two in the 1914-15 season, Birmingham and Wolves finishing third and fourth. It was widely believed that Division One’s relegated clubs, Chelsea and Spurs, would obtain a reprieve but Norris got to work his magic tricks on the committee. He secretly ‘canvassed’ every single member of the FA committee, with the proposal that Arsenal deserved promotion – however Spurs directors were kept completely in the dark throughout and suspected nothing. He also maintained that the Gunners should be rewarded “for their long service to league football”, neglecting to mention that Wolves had actually been league members for longer.

As for relegation-threatened Chelsea, Norris assured the Stamford Bridge chairman that his club would be reprieved as long as Arsenal got promotion. When the vote was taken, Chelsea got their reprieve, and Arsenal received their promotion. White Hart Lane was stunned. Even Tottenham’s parrot, presented to the club on the voyage home from their 1908 South American tour, was unable to cope with the news. It dropped dead, thus giving rise to the football cliché “sick as a parrot”. ‘Lucky Arsenal’ and ‘Cheating Arsenal’ were two of the more complimentary titles bestowed upon the club at the time.

Arsenal 1920

By 1925 Sir Henry had owned Arsenal for close to 15 years and they had still not won any trophies – he was convinced that the problem was his manager Lesley Knighton who he dismissed, shortly before he was due to receive a £4,000 bonus.  Huddersfield Town’s triple Championship-winning boss Herbert Chapman was appointed manager in 1925 but Sir Henry found the 5ft 6in Chapman, dubbed ‘Yorkshire’s Napoleon’ to be a real handful to manage. Chapman informed Norris that if he really wanted to see Arsenal win a trophy in his lifetime, he’d have to spend his cash: his main target, Sunderland’s brilliant striker, Charlie Buchan, was officially worth £5,000, but Sir Henry worked out a deal where he would pay £2,000 to Sunderland up front and £100 for every goal Buchan scored during the season.

Charlie Buchan

In 1927, the Daily Mail ran a series of articles alleging that Norris was guilty of making illegal payments to Charlie Buchan. Norris, they claimed, had given under-the-counter sums to Buchan to compensate for the loss of income he would incur from his move south – the player had to give up his business interests and buy an expensive house in London. The FA was strict about payments made to players, even though everyone in football knew that sweeteners regularly lured players to big clubs. Sir Henry had also personally ‘overseen’ the sale of the team bus in 1927 for £125, which somehow found its way into his wife’s bank account. The revelations were sensational how could such a high-profile member of the Conservative Party indulge in such financial malpractice? Norris challenged the Daily Mail’s allegations in court two years later, but the charges were upheld by the judge. An investigation by the Football Association followed, which uncovered that he had also used Arsenal’s expense accounts for his personal use to, namely to pay for his chauffeur. He sued the Daily Mail and the FA for libel, but in February 1929, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Hewart, ruled in favour of the FA and the Daily Mail. As a result, Sir Henry Norris was banned from Football – forever.

Knighton, Blyth and Dunn at Norris hearing

After his death in 1934 from a massive heart attack, a kinder, gentler Sir Henry Norris could be glimpsed. His estate was valued at over £71,000 – the equivalent of over £4m today and not only were his widow, three daughters and two sisters taken care of, but Norris also looked after many of the Arsenal staff he used to terrify. Former manager Leslie Knighton was staggered to receive a cheque for £100 from the Norris estate, enabling him to take early retirement. Trainer George Hardy and groundsman Alec Rae received £50 each – over a year’s wages. Rae was likewise dumbfounded, as Norris was “always on to me if the pitch wasn’t quite like the croquet lawn he wanted”. The Fulham chapel where his funeral took place overflowed with friends and well-wishers. The vicar who conducted the service summed up: “Of the dead, speak nothing but good.” To this day, the regulars over at White Hart Lane might beg to differ.

Although Sir Henry Norris died nearly 80 years ago, his name continues to provoke controversy.

GunnerN5


The (Curious?) cases of Joel Campbell, Akpom and Sanogo

June 24, 2015

Here are three relatively young players that AW rates highly…

Joel Campbell had an outstanding WC2014 and then had some decent appearances but he was never really outstanding when playing for us or when going out on loan. Clearly, he is a talented player and he is highly viewed by many. The question is – what shall we do with him? Keep him, loan him or sell him?

Akpom has got the pace and a decent eye for goal. AW rates him and he has had a good career with your youth system like Afobe. Again what shall we do with him? Keep him, loan him or sell him?

Then comes the case (maybe the most curious) of Sanogo. A touted French striker that unfortunately suffered a horrific injury early on in his career…He then recovered and joined us on a free…He has again some potential but he is clearly not ready for Arsenal yet…So what shall we do with him? Keep him, loan him or sell him?

Looking forward to your answers

Written by RC78


Keep the Corporal

June 22, 2015

It is my belief that we should be looking to retain the services of one Corporal Carl Jenkinson at THOF for the immediate future and I will state my case as to why.

What would be the reasons to let him go? Firstly some would argue he is not good enough. Others would say that we are well covered in his position and that there is no place for him when we have Bellerin, Debuchy and Chambers who can all play there.

Out of all our British players the corporal is still playing catch up. He doesn’t yet have the experience of being a regular senior international player and is arguably not yet able to put in performances at the highest level on a consistent basis, as you would expect from the likes of Jack, Ramsey, AOC, Gibbs.

That doesn’t mean though that he will not reach this level and, as with many of our youngsters, it is too early to say whether he will cut it at the top level or not. There have been glimpses that he has that level of performance in him. His recent performances at U21 level have seen him looking like one of the best of the young England players participating. The one game though that above others sticks in my mind was his performance against Bayern Munich in our 2-0 away victory. I believe it was Robben and Muller that were changing flanks to have a go at our young rookie, but he managed to keep both of them quiet for more or less the whole game, which is no easy feat. If that kind of performance is in there and can be replicated consistently then we have a player.

What about the competition?

Bellerin is a fine player and would currently get the nod as first choice but I have 2 things in my mind where this is concerned. Firstly it might be nice to have the option of playing Bellerin as a speedy right winger at times with Jenks behind him. Secondly is the dreaded Barca DNA. I would say there is a good chance that we will lose Bellerin to Spain at some point in the future, and also while he is still in his prime, if not at his peak. If Jenks has developed into that consistent top level player the impact will be lessened, rather than facing the situation scrambling around trying to recruit a new top level player who may need to bed in.

Debuchy? Well he is over 30 so has a limited period that he can provide us with top level cover in this role anyway. Debuchy’s ability to cover at CD and possibly even for Le Coq, (according to RC he played there for Lille which I found an interesting option), means for me that we can keep all 3 with Jenks easing into a more regular role as Debuchy fades / moves on. If Jenks is not as likely to get that playing time right now then I would suggest we get another loan season going while making sure we have him secured on a decent contract term. Chambers can also cover the role but my preference would be to develop him as a CD.

Finally, and perhaps the most important of the lot is the home grown quota rules. This consideration really extends beyond Jenks to all our quality young home grown players. The home grown quota rule may start to bite on some top teams as much as FFP. The team with the greatest amount of high quality home grown players could hold a significant advantage in the next few seasons to come, and we are, in my opinion, in one of the strongest (if not the strongest) positions in this sense relative to our top table rivals. For me it is a hands off to the Chavvies and Northern Oilers with Jenks, Jack, Aaron, Kieron, Calum e.t.c

As always over to you guys for your opinions.

Written by GoonerB


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