An Arsenal Blast from the Past 1932/33 League Divison 1 Championship

March 21, 2014

The 1932/33 season saw Arsenal win it’s second League Division One Championship it was the first of three successive Championship wins 1932/33, 1933/34 and 1934/35. During the eight year period of 1930/31 to 1937/38 they won five League Championship titles. In the 1932/33 season they scored 111 goals, Cliff Bastin getting 33 of them, a record for a winger unlikely ever to be beaten. That year there was also a shock defeat in the FA Cup losing 0-2 away to Walsall, Herbert Chapman got the local underground station, Gillespie Road renamed to Arsenal, and he also introduced the now famous white sleeves in a match against Liverpool in March 1933. Unfortunately Chapman died of pneumonia in January of 1934, he was succeeded as manager by George Allison with Tom Whittaker and Joe Shaw as coaches, George went on win the League titles in both 1933/34 and 1934/35. The 1934/35 season saw Sunderland emerge as their main competitors; Arsenal lost 1-2 away then they drew 0-0 at Highbury on March 9th 1935 in front of Arsenal’s all time record crowd of 73,295.

Arsenal were the outstanding team in the Football League, early on in the1932/33 season Leeds United were one of their main competitors and they were involved in a titanic tussle for the leadership of the First Division. On Boxing Day 1932 Leeds travelled to Highbury, at the time they were six points adrift of Arsenal in the League standings and to everyone’s surprise it was Leeds who triumphed beating Arsenal by 2-1, with Charlie Keetley getting both goals in front of a huge 55,876 crowd, while Joe Hulme scored the lone Arsenal goal. Incredibly enough this set the scene for the very next day, when they played again in the return fixture at Elland Road where the crowd of the previous day was exceeded and a new record attendance for Elland Road was set at 56,796. For safety reasons the gates were locked and hundreds clambering on nearby house roofs as well as the Peacock Public House and various vantage points on Beeston Hill, in an attempt to get a glimpse of the action. Victory would have strengthened Leeds United’s championship aspirations but they were held to a goal-less draw by the star-studded Gunners and ended up the season in eighth position.

Arsenal went on to take the Football League Championship that season and were so dominant and overwhelming that they went on to become only the second team in Football League history to complete a treble by winning the Championship again in 1933-34 and 1934-35, Huddersfield Town being the first team to achieve the treble of Championships from 1924 to 1926.

In an English International game played at Highbury against Italy on November 14th, 1934 England fielded seven Arsenal Players Frank Moss in goal, George Male at right back, Edie Hapgood at left back, Wilf Copping at left half, Ray Bowden at inside right Cliff Bastin at inside left and Ted Drake at center forward. Ted Drake scored one of England’s goals in a 3-2 victory, during the 1934/35 season Ted netted 42 times for Arsenal.

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Arsenal training: Apr 27, 1935

The Arsenal team was chock full of Internationals and household names and their line ups at the time usually included such names as: Frank Moss; George Male, Eddie Hapgood, Frank Hill, Herbie Roberts, Bob John, Joe Hulme, David Jack, Tim Coleman, Jack Lambert, Alex James, Cliff Bastin, Wilf Copping, Ray Bowden and Ted Drake

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Arsenal 1932-33 Team

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gn5 league standings

NB: That’s the type of League table that I like, no Manchester United, Manchester City or Tottenham Hotspur anywhere to be seen – those were the days my friends………

GunnerN5


“Arsène Knows” – a celebration of 999 games.

March 20, 2014

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Arsène Wenger’s 1st game on Oct.12th 1996 – a 2-0 away victory over Blackburn Rovers

In August 1996, Arsenal dismissed manager Bruce Rioch and former Barcelona player and manager Johan Cruyff was the odds on favourite to take over; however Arsenal appointed a relative unknown named Arsène Wenger.

He officially took over the reigns on October 1st 1996. Arsène was a close friend of club vice-chairman David Dein, whom he first met during a match between Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers in 1988. The Evening Standard greeted his appointment with the headline “Arsène Who?” Arsenal finished third in his first season and missed out on a Champions League qualification place to Newcastle United who was in second place based on goal difference.

In his second season, Arsenal won the Premier League and FA Cup to complete the second league and cup double in the club’s history. Arsenal had to overcome a 12-point deficit on league leaders Manchester United in the final few weeks of the season. Arsenal’s success was built on an already stalwart defence which consisted of Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon and Martin Keown with David Seaman in goal. The defenders contributed to a run of eight consecutive clean sheets between January and March 1998.

Arsène thought of striker Dennis Bergkamp as the catalyst of the team plus the new signings of Petit and Vieira along with winger Marc Overmars and striker Nicolas Anelka all provided the core and benefited from Arsene’s attack-minded principles. The beginnings of “Wenger Ball” had officially arrived at Highbury!

The following seasons were a series of close calls, in 1998–99 the club finished second behind Manchester United who also defeated Arsenal in a FA Cup semi-final replay.

One year later, Arsenal lost the 2000 UEFA Cup Final to Galatasaray on penalties and in 2001, was beaten by Liverpool in the 2001 FA Cup Final, even though they dominated the match. During this period both Overmars and Petit left to join Barcelona.

Arsène then surprised everyone by signing a new four-year contract in July 2001.

Arsenal made several signings in the summer, including the controversial arrival of defender Sol Campbell, on a free transfer, from Tottenham Hotspur and midfielder Giovanni van Bronckhorst from Rangers – they along with Fredrik Ljungberg, Thierry Henry and Robert Pirès who were brought in during previous transfer windows, now created the bedrock of the first team.

2001- 2002 was another double season and, for Arsenal fans, the ultimate moment arrived when Sylvain Wiltord scored the winning goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the penultimate game of the season to secure the club’s 12th league championship and third double; four days earlier Arsenal had beaten Chelsea 2–0 in the 2002 FA Cup Final.

That same season Arsenal scored in every single league fixture and was unbeaten away from home. Arsenal extended their good form into the 2002–03 season; they overhauled Nottingham Forest’s top-flight record of 22 away league matches without defeat and surpassed Manchester United’s Premier League total of 29 matches unbeaten. They ended up second to Manchester United in the league after giving up an eight point lead, however they gained some consolation by winning their ninth FA Cup defeating Southampton 1-0.

In the 2003–04 season, Arsenal made history by winning the Premier League without a single defeat – an accomplishment last achieved by Preston North End over 115 years earlier. The team became known as “The Invincibles” and they clinched the League Championship in front of Tottenham’s supporters at White Hart Lane with a 2-2 draw on April 25th 2004 – eventually their undefeated run ended at 49 league games.

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“We won the league at White Hart Lane”

That Arsenal chant must gnaw away at Tottenham fans who have suffered the indignity of watching our Gunners clinch the title on their ground not once, but twice.

Arsenal enjoyed another comparatively strong campaign in 2004–05, but finished second to Chelsea. Consolation again came in the 2005 FA Cup; Arsenal defeated Manchester United on penalties, after a goalless final with Patrick Vieira scoring the winning penalty with his last kick as an Arsenal player.

In the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons Arsenal finished fourth in the Premier League on both occasions and outside of the top two for the first time in Arsene’s tenure. The club reached their first Champions League final in May 2006, but ended the competition as runners-up to Barcelona in a 2-1 loss.

In the summer of 2006, Arsenal relocated to the Emirates Stadium; Wenger believed the increased capacity was “vital” to the club’s financial future. Arsenal has not won any trophies since the 2005 FA Cup but has continued to win qualification to the Champions League and under Arsene’s guidance they have qualified in the last seventeen seasons.

This brings us to the current season where with nine games left to play we look to be assured of another CL qualification spot and have a shot at winning the EPL Championship and we play Wigan in the semi final of the FA Cup.

Saturday March 22nd will be an epic day in Arsène Wenger’s tenure as the Arsenal Manager will take his Arsenal side to Stamford Bridge to play against Chelsea in his 1,000th game in charge of the club.

Arsenal accomplishments for Arsene Wenger

• FA Premier League: 1997–98, 2001–02, 2003–04

• FA Cup: 1997–98, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2004–05

• FA Community Shield: 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004

Individual accomplishments for Arsene Wenger

• French Manager of the Year: 2008

• J. League Manager of the Year: 1995

• Officer of the British Empire: 2003[206]

• Onze d’Or Coach of The Year: 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004

• Premier League Manager of the Season: 1998, 2002, 2004

• LMA Manager of the Year: 2001–02, 2003–04

• BBC Sports Personality of the Year Coach Award: 2002, 2004

• Freedom of Islington: 2004

• FWA Tribute Award: 2005

• English Football Hall of Fame: 2006[207]

• Premier League Manager of the Month:

March 1998, April 1998, October 2000, April 2002, September 2002, August 2003, February 2004, August 2004, September 2007, December 2007, February 2011, February 2012, September 2013

• World Coach of the Decade: 2001–2010

Top ten Arsenal Managers with the longest tenure.

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Arsene Wenger’s Record at Arsenal

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Written by GunnerN5


The end is nigh. Nine Premier League games remaining. What are we after?

March 19, 2014

I cast my mind back to the final stretch last season, and we were in a battle for Top Four. For the sake of this discussion, I’d like to put aside the hunt for Trophies, and delve deeper into what there is to look forward to.

Following the loss to Spurs a year ago, momentous events followed. Principally, was the cementing of the partnership between Mertesacker and Koscielny. This was in tandem with a new found restraint from our Full Backs who proceeded to show more discipline.

What was laid in those final nine games, were the foundations of a new defensive stability that continued to serve us so well into this seasons’ campaign.

Apart from the sunny Spring time fixtures, the meeting up with chums and the inevitable excitement that any game of football brings, I wonder what little gems lie in wait.

Injuries present opportunities, and the largest recipient this season has been The Ox. He has benefited from injuries to both Aaron as well as Theo. Might the remaining fixtures see him finding a definitive starting position for next season? Talking of definitive positions, we have the Jack issue.

Looking across the midfield, I still wonder who is the No 10 of choice. I understand there is a fluidity in this area, but with all the injuries to key players, I certainly don’t know how my First XI would line up. I have a feeling we will begin to see the real Mesut emerge as the midfield pivot around which all that is good orbits.

I can also see Gnabry getting more playing time, and have a gut feeling he is one of those players that will rise to the top very quickly. Remember the Aaron of last season, and we see how certain players can suddenly blossom.

Like the pairing of Kos and Mert, it can be an unforeseen partnership that emerges, and this can happen in small couplings anywhere on the pitch, which is why I see a possibility of this between Mesut and Serge.

Now, how about some dark horses. Kellstrom and Diaby, who peaches informs us is at altitude not skiing. With Aaron returning, how will the midfield set up?

With some mouthwatering encounters around the corner, there remains much fun to be had. Who knows where we end up, but I reckon, as with last season, there are surprises in store outside of the results themselves.

Prior to the Spurs game and the wonderful blast of a goal from Mr T. Rosicky, I would have liked to see a couple of long rangers, but another one or two wouldn’t hurt. Oh, and is there any chance a genuinely quality free kick specialist might emerge in the mould of Noddy Talbot? That would be long overdue and a real bonus.

The one thing I’d like to see more than anything over the remaining fixtures would be a new found venom from the true fans towards the early leavers. A mass mocking, naming and shaming, a Faceoff Campaign, anything. Some suggestions on how to deal with this, my biggest beef, and a real solution would leave my season ending on an even higher note.

Written by MickyDidIt


Suarez, Sturridge, Robben. Do AFC need a Cheat?

March 18, 2014

Bear with me ….

Over the past week we have seen and been on the wrong end of some dreadful cheats. A quick think brings me to Sturridge’s appalling dive to get Vidic sent off, Robben’s dive to earn BM a penalty, Suarez theatrics (nothing new there) and the world renowned Gerrard Flop.

Furtherrmore, this season we have had Lewandowski at Dortmund flapping around like a beached trout and Ashley Young perfecting his double somersault with twist and pike.

Over at Stamford Bridge we have some wonderful diving talent – Hazard, Oscar and Torres trying successfully to do The Drogba (a master of the art). Man City rely on the collapsing talents of Silva, Dzeko and Nasri.

Spurs have lost Monkeyboy who is world class at cheating but he has joined a whole team well versed in the Dark Arts – Marcelo, Ronaldo and Pepe etc – all love a dive.

Barca have Busquets, Pique, the obnoxious Alves, Neymar and Adriano.

So, who are Arsenal’s divers and if we don’t have them  …. why not?

Diving pays. It may offend your finer sensibility but it works – time and time again. What is the cost if a dive gets spotted by the referee? A yellow card, hardly enough of a deterrent to stop a clever forward, after all the profit is a penalty and probably a goal. Yellow card or goal? Ask a defender whether they would take one for the team when an attacker is advancing on goal – we fans get angry when the defender prefers to allow the game to flow!! So why not use such a cost-free tactic?

The antics of Robben last week infuriated me but had Giroud the nous to cheat his way to a penalty in a similar manner would I really protest? Would you?

What the first few para’s show is that all the top sides have players who dive and do so on a regular basis. A dive can get your team not just a penalty but also in the case of Sturridge a valuable defender sent off.

I am trying to recall an Arsenal player diving for a penalty. It must have happened in the last few seasons but I cannot recall it. Eduardo was called for diving – and goodness me the media went mad – even though he was just avoiding an Orc trashing his damaged leg. Perhaps this has had a knock-on effect on the way we play. Eboue liked a dive but he was so hopeless at “simulation” it became laughable and embarrassing.  Oh, I just remembered Santi diving vs West Brom in 2012 and Arteta burying the pen.Since then ….. ?

I know, I know … it isn’t The Arsenal Way, we always take the moral high ground and I am proud of Wenger’s honesty and his belief in The Beautiful Game but just once couldn’t we ape our opposition and go for the reverse dive with tuck?

What do you think?

written Tongue-in-Cheek by Big Raddy


Just two minutes of Magic and Mozart Composes another beauty.

March 17, 2014

North London Derbies are always that little bit special and with the tightest race for years as to who will eventually become Champions, together with the implosion of United and the resurgence of Liverpool and of course not forgetting the two big mega bucks clubs, this was a game we just had to win.

Within under two minutes the ever enthusiastic Oxlade Chamberlain set up Rosicky to what can only be described as a wonder goal, if not our best long range shot of the season.

We were ecstatic and yet not for the first time, instead of taking advantage of the early lead, we handed possession to Spurs and apart from Oxlade Chamberlain missing a sitter or passing to Podolski we retreated further and further back and left Giroud as a lone attacker. For the rest of the match he was largely nullified except on the few occasions he was brought into play.

Alex v spuds

This is a dramatic change of tactics by Wenger as we have been always an attacking team with neat fluid passes which more often or not produced pleasing football to the eye and invariably some spectacular goals. A better team may well have punished us. Spurs huffed and puffed had 60% of the possession but in all honestly only mustered one or two half chances

It’s a dangerous tactic to employ especially with practically the whole game to play after the early lead. Having said that Mertesacker and Koscielny were outstanding, is there a finer defensive partnership in the League ?

kos per and olly

We have several players still out and perhaps the after effects of the Bayern game took the edge from our overall performance but the need for support for Giroud with a world class striker really became apparent in this game.

Three points in the bag though. I wouldn’t say we won ugly and we certainly weren’t at our best but a massive improvement is needed next weekend against what I consider our hardest game in the run in, or so my crystal balls tell me 🙂

I have to give Rosicky Man of the match purely for the reason that his goal won us the game. Koscielny a close second and The Ox for his never ending drive and directness always looking for goal.

Finally a word on Szczesny. Allowing for the fact he had missed the last two games and made a fairly straightforward save, twice in a minute he dropped a cross, once he was fouled but on the other occasion he got lucky and if you look carefully was flapping and nearly brought Adebayor down, which could have resulted in a penalty. He is by no means the finished article and I still maintain he needs competition for his place.

Players after spud victory

Written by kelsey


What do you think of Tottenham?

March 16, 2014

Easy answer to that question 😀

Thing is, as my nephew keeps telling me – Spurs are having a very good season (by their standards) – and that should they win today they will be just 3 points behind with us facing a death cluster. My reply  ….  Always in our Shadow.

Kaboul gets sent off for a dubious red giving away a penalty – his card is rescinded. Koscielny does the same – banned for a game. FA bias? As if!

Injuries could have some effect upon the result. Spurs are without Dawson which is a huge blow to the Arsenal. The man is hapless and a secret agent paid by Mr Gazidis. So far he has done well, let us wish him a speedy recovery.

Spurs have looked Up North for inspiration as they attempt (yet again) to break into the Top 4. They could have based their plans upon Man City or Liverpool and develop an attacking , fluent style of football. They didn’t. They chose to “ape” the playing style of Stoke! With £100m to spend they bought Orcs.

The skilful Lamela, who is Spurs record signing, hasn’t had a sniff of the first team, instead they have 7 players over 6 ft. all of whom are trained in the Dark Arts.  The long-suffering Spurs fans put all their faith in a 21 y.o Dane because he is the only one who can use the ball on the ground. Take out Eriksen’s free-kicks and there isn’t much else in terms of ball skills.

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Adebayor. When he plays against other teams he really amuses me in his haplessness, unfortunately he seems to excel against us and we must hope he will have a quiet game today.

Having been thrashed by a fine Benfica team they will be refreshed today. I can only assume they played with today’s match in mind because Spurs were pants.

Tim Sherwood: Can you imagine such a knob as our manager? The man has passion – I will give him that, and a huge desire for Spurs to do well. My wife has the same and also has the same level of team management experience. How could Levi give this fellow the job? Was it a money-saving exercise? That said, Sherwood’s record is no better or worse than previous Spurs managers because you could employ Noddy or one of the Teletubbies as Spurs manager and they would do just as well.

Arsenal: I am saddened that Ozil will not have another chance to silence his critics today, instead we have another opportunity to show just how deep the squad is (or isn’t). A midfield of Ox, Santi, Flamini, Rosicky and Arteta is still strong and the decision to load the squad with mid-fielders has proven to be sensible. In the past when we lost, for example, Cesc, we were at a loss, now we have options.

At this point can we all laugh at Chelsea!! 😀

Monreal will be a key player today as Spurs will probably look to hit on the break through the pace of Lemon and Ade. The midfield battle will be just that, Spurs have monsters and they like to “put it about”, if Sandro plays the match-up with Flamini will be exciting.

This is a day for The Ox. He plays well, we win. For this reason I expect Sherwood to tell his team to target our young maestro, expect to see rotational fouling – which has become the norm – and we must hope for a strong and fair referee. In recent times we have suffered from homer after homer; watch the BM game and see dreadfully biased refereeing. Watch the Stoke game – see JW get horribly kicked throughout the first 30 minutes and then see a highly dubious penalty given by yet another homer ref. It must be so frustrating for Mr. Wenger.

My Team:

sp v a

I hope we shall see the wing play of Gnabry at some point or the power of Podolski

Tottenham: Regular readers will be used to my rambling on the origins of the city in which we play. To find the origins of Tottenham we have to go back to the 11thC. This was the time of the Battle of Hastings and King Canute and Harald. A Royal edict was written which proclaimed  that London (Londinium) was becoming unhealthy thanks to the cramped living conditions in the city. Under this Decree  the Nightmen had to take their wares to an area of flatland by the River Lea. A Nightmen’s job was to clean the streets of the night’s “refuse” which was thrown out the windows into the streets. This unpleasant mess was taken by barge down the river and over time the excrement and rotting vegetation developed into a slimy ooze. The area was avoided by sane people and yet there were some drooling, bewildered unfortunates who made this stinking morass their home. Originally known as Shittingham it was re-named Tottenham during the late 19th century.

Big game today – always is. Take 3 points today and we close the gap at the top.

Let it be so….

COYRRG

Written by BigRaddy


Bayern: A Fan’s View.

March 15, 2014

The draw for the next round of the Champions League was about to be made. Please, please Munich or Madrid. Two sides I’d love to see us beat, and two Cities I’d love to visit.

I packed light. Scarf, wallet, passport, ticket, fags, lighter, Nicorette gum, e-cigarettes and a lightweight tunnelling shovel just in case.

We lift off from Bristol Airport at 2pm on the Monday, and I’m in my hotel in the middle of Munich by 6pm local time. My chum Max doesn’t arrive until Tuesday evening, so I head to the bar where there are already gathered ten or more committed drinking Gunners. Three of us head into town and explore a wonderful City. We launch into a heart stopping Bavarian Meat Fest of epic quality and then back out into town. We visit every one of the famous beer halls (thanks for the tip YanMan), and eventually roll back into the hotel in the early hours.

Match Day. Kick off not until 20:45 local time, so plenty of time to explore. I opted for the two hour trip to Mount Wank. The train journey South and West to The Alps takes you through absolutely stunning countryside. Past Lakes and then into the foothills before journeys end. Turns out Mount Wank is little more than a pimple, so I opt to head up The Zugspitze (Germany’s highest peak at over 9,000 feet with views over four countries).

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Step One. I board the small mountain train that climbs the steep snowy base before entering a tunnel gouged through the heart of the mountain itself. Being the only passenger not in heavy footwear and florescent arctic clothing, looks in my direction are curious. Emerging in some ski resort or other, I then head to the cable car for the final push. At this point, curious looks turned to something more sinister. Now I don’t know if any of you have ever in your youth boarded a tube train in rush hour, with dyed orange and black hair, reeking of fish with every square millimetre of your hands bloodied and scabbed, having done a day’s work with sea lions, but I have, and the feeling is one of being highly toxic and infectious. The unsurprising upside is that you find yourself, as I did in the cable car, with a lot of space to yourself and the most terrific choice of views.

Wow, the view from the top was breathtaking on a perfect day. I felt fantastic. Things were going well.

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I managed to re-join one old mate as well as my new chums back in the hotel bar around 18:00.

Off to the match and a fast thirty minute express train to the outskirts of the city. Emerging from the underground, the Stadium comes into view. Perhaps half a mile away, it sits isolated on a barren plain sitting there like some squashed glowing poisonous tropical fruit. It is impressive in its Bayern Red luminous robes.

Stadium

I’m guessing there were three odd thousand Gooners high in the North End behind the goal. For me, our vocal support was somewhat muted in its potential as there were two distinctive areas of noisy support, and being divided by a quieter central group, we never managed to sync and get maximum volume. Nevertheless, we did our best against overwhelming numbers. Incidentally, and perhaps it was just on this occasion, but the Bayern support was nothing like as colourful or vocal as we experienced in Dortmund. Having said that, they all remained until the very end. Now it’s worth remembering, that this Stadium is a 40 minute tube ride to the main Munich rail station, and also, that kick off is a full hour later. Mmmm.

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Needing to be at the airport at 14:00 on the final day, there was time to explore the City. It really is a lovely place. Stunning architecture and very friendly people. Time to visit a Palace, and track down some chocolate to bring home. Sitting outside a café in the sun, I pondered the difference between Munich and London. Striking to me was the absence of road markings and hideous signposts everywhere. The lack of traffic wardens and surveillance cameras. Uncluttered by ludicrous instructions. It struck me that citizens in Munich are capable of making their own decisions and not nanny stated. Clearly a very personal view, but it appeared to me that people were allocated individual responsibility, and they used it wisely. It was refreshing. I liked the place very much.

Here’s a question to myself. If I knew for absolute certain that The Arsenal were going to win every single game, would I still go? No, I wouldn’t. We lost to the current European Champions, and these things happen. I don’t mind. The team played with passion and pride, and I banked more very happy memories. I was in Dortmund with Raddy when we won, and that was also memorable but for more reasons than just the victory, and next season I want to try again. I met Gooners who were there when we beat Villarreal and Madrid, but they had to witness losses on their travels for that to be possible. This is football, and it is exciting. To make these journeys with fellow Arsenal fans is a privilege.

Thank you Chas and Ant, as without your amazing away support, I would never have been able to go.

Written by MickyDidIt


An Arsenal Blast from the Past No.6 …… 1947/48 League Division 1 Championship

March 14, 2014

One night during WWII I was lying in bed when the room was suddenly lit up with a nearby searchlight coming on. Thinking it was a raid coming, I jumped out of bed and I started to get dressed. Looking out of the window, I saw dozens of searchlights sweeping the sky and waving backwards and forwards. I went into the front room where Mum and Dad had the radio on and they were just announcing the end of the war in Europe. Our next-door neighbour rushed in and everybody sat talking until the early hours of the morning. The next day nobody went to work and we had an impromptu party down at the corner of the road. People took cakes and sandwiches down to be shared out and a radiogram was fixed up to provide music for people to dance to.

Germany had officially surrendered and Londoners could now try to rebuild their damaged City and lives. Life was still very difficult, good jobs were scarce, food was still rationed, we still used Cow and Gate powered milk, and bomb sites were scattered all over town. But gradually life was returning to the streets and the daily fear of bombing raids, and having to dash to air raid shelters for safety, was now just a horrible memory.

The Arsenal ground in North London was not spared from war damage as the North Stand was extensively damaged by fire and the roof had collapsed, the South Stand terracing was also badly damaged and in need of repair. The debts from the construction of Highbury and the costs of repairing the war damage were a heavy financial burden, and Arsenal struggled when competitive football resumed. The war had cut short the careers of many of the club’s star players, including Bastin and Drake and nine of the pre-WW11 had been lost during the war.. They lost 6-1 on aggregate to West Ham United in the third round of the 1945-46 FA Cup, and upon the league’s resumption in 1946-47 the club finished a disappointing 13th.

allison_georgeAfter close to forty years with the Arsenal George Allison decided to retire from football at the end of that season, and was replaced by his assistant Tom Whittaker, who had been the clubs trainer under Herbert Chapman. So Tom Whittaker took over the reigns at Highbury with Joe Shaw joining him from Chelsea. Arsenal kicked off the1947/48 season with a 3-1 victory over Sunderland at Highbury, an ideal start for the new management team. Leslie Compton, the previous club Captain who had been playing cricket for Middlesex Cricket club, returned to Arsenal and they won the next six games. Joe Mercer had been Arsenal’s Captain in Compton’s absence but Whittaker felt that now Compton was back he should, once again, lead the team but Compton felt differently and persuaded him to keep Joe on as the clubs Captain.

1947 was a milestone year in the life of GunnerN5, I was nine years old and, for as long as I could remember I’d spent endless hour’s playing football on Avenell Road with my mates and kicking a rag football (made by my Mum) about and using the main gate into Highbury as our goal. We were in awe of all the grown ups as they streamed in and out of Highbury on Saturday afternoon’s and wished we had the few pennies it cost to get inside. The different noises coming from the ground always left us wondering what was happening inside but we always knew when the Gunners had scored as that caused the biggest roar of all.

My maternal Grandfather then changed my life and gave me the best present I have ever received, for my 10th birthday he took me to my very first Arsenal game it was November 22nd 1947 Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town and we won 2-0. My memories of the game are somewhat of a blur but we stood, in what was our family section under the Clock, (you see nobody ever told my Grandfather to move – he was a 6”5” local coalman and made of steel). I often feel that the young Paul Ashworth, in the movie “Fever Pitch”, was none other than a young GunnerN5 because after being inside Highbury for the first time there was nothing that was going to keep me out, lack of money, broken glass topped brick walls, turnstiles, stewards, were just mere obstacles to be overcome – I was hooked for life.

arsenal_champions_1947_1948

Tom Whittaker enjoyed immediate success with the club, winning the League in 1947-48; led by Captain Joe Mercer and with goals from the attacking front two of Reg Lewis and Ronnie Rooke, Arsenal topped the table from October and never looked back beating second place Manchester United by seven points. Given the age of the Arsenal side at the time (Rooke and Mercer were both over thirty, as were Denis and Leslie Compton), it was a remarkable achievement however long-term success was never on the cards. In response, Whittaker started to rebuild the team with younger players and brought in Doug Lishman, Alex Forbes and Cliff Holton.

In a remarkable family double Denis and Leslie Compton played alongside each other at football in Arsenal’s League Championship of 1947/48 and at cricket in Middlesex’s County Championship title in 1947.

The highest ever Football League attendance was on Saturday January 17th 1948 when a crowd of 83,260 watched Manchester United play Arsenal at Maine Road the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

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gn5 table

GunnerN5


Vote: Should RvP Return?

March 13, 2014

Rumours are that Van Persie is going to leave that cesspit. Money and the chance to sate his inner child were the only reasons for leaving The Home of Football and now he has won his title he wants out. Should we resurrect his career?

Great players do not have to be great people (Shearer?) and RvP showed his true colours when shafting us just two summers ago. He had the chance to be an Arsenal great and have his own statue but instead took the 30 pieces of silver. This has coloured the way we look at him because he was,  let’s be honest,  fantastic in his final 2 seasons during which time he was the best striker in the PL if not the world.

Positives:

1. We need an additional striker; OG for all his talent cannot carry the attack. The loss of Theo has resulted in us not knowing whether they could really work in tandem as S&S do at Liverpool. Perhaps they can but given Theo’s proclivity for injury, we need back up.

2. RvP is almost at pension age and is doomed to the bench at MU, he needs a gig, perhaps he will accept less money.

3. He remains a wonderful, natural talent with the best left foot (and maybe right) in the PL.

4. Podolski, for all his Goonerdom, is not good enough for this team. He just hasn’t got a fast enough brain. RvP has.

5. Mr Wenger still has a fine relationship with RvP and looks upon him like a son.

Unknown

OK. Now why we shouldn’t buy him ….

1. He is a traitor

2. He is 31 in August.

3. He earns over £200k a week and has 2 years left on his MU contract – so we will have to buy him

4. He may not work well with a central striker like Giroud. It would require RvP to play off a CF, and we have plenty of number 10’s.

5. The players must have been very disappointed with his betrayal and he could cause problems in the dressing room.

6. He will never accept being a squad player.

My opinion is that we should let him rot in Manchester of try his luck at Galatasary (where old players with big names but no pace go before they play “soccer”.)

What do you think …..?

Written by BigRaddy


Arsenal go out, but with heads held high

March 12, 2014
Personally I feel it is difficult to write a review on a two legged fixture when constantly one refers back to key incidents in the first leg.

When one is playing arguably the best club side in Europe comparisons have to be drawn. My overall conclusion is that the tie, for all intensive purposes, was over in the home leg but the team showed a dramatic improvement last night and we should all be proud of the display.

We contained Bayern in the first half which had one fleeting moment when single handily Oxdale- Chamberlain literally walked through the Bayern midfield and defence, and though it came to nothing for one so young he is the future star of this Arsenal team.

When one is constantly pegged back in ones own half and the midfield is pushed back deeper and deeper I wondered if having Giroud as the lone striker was the right tactical decision last night. This is not a slight on Ollie but to counter balance my thoughts we didn’t have the quality or type of player on the bench to change the formation.

Would a fully fit squad have changed things ? I really am not sure, but there is no question in my mind that the gap has narrowed and we still have a major chance to win the FA Cup and a possible chance of The League.

On the downside Ozil, who looked completely out of sorts, has sustained a hamstring injury and when the boss says that he will be out for weeks, that is ominous. The inclusion of Rio who was not eligible to play really needs investigating.

I may be repeating what many have said, but we just are two or three quality players short to strengthen the squad as recent history has been proved to show that we pick up more injuries than any other PL team.

The diving and cheating by Robben has been discussed a thousand times, yet he seems to be getting away with it for years, so to me it’s a pointless discussion.

We gave it our best shot, so one can’t ask for any more and now we have a number of days to regroup and get down to the business end and give Spurs a spanking.

You will all have your opinions on each players performance though to me The Ox was our stand out player. Vermaelen who has played little football this season, played admirably in a position not best suited to him and Fabianski once again was composed and IMO it would be a bad decision to let him leave in the Summer as competition to Szczesny wouldn’t go amiss.

Written by kelsey