Better Days?

January 11, 2017

 

The Old Days. We always think they were better …

Would you exchange the better standard of football we see every season at The Emirates for the mud and passion of Highbury?

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Why do I long for a TA/Steve Bould  tackle which would “let the player know you are there” as opposed to the Guardiola idea of staying on your feet?

Some of the intricacy of our current teams passing football is beyond ken but I yearn for a Radford bullet header from a hopeful punt from George Armstrong. Why is hoofball so looked down upon as a short-term tactic?

Why did the architects of The Emirates build the stands so far from the pitch? It makes the paying punter spectators as opposed to being fans involved in  the play as we were at Highbury. Why can’t PL stadiums have a standing section?

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Football has become sanitised (IMO). Is the sport better for it?

p.s. This post was inspired by a photo of the tunnel at Arsenal Tube Station published by Chas.

written by Big Raddy

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Blast from the Past No. 17 … Arsenal’s Exclusive 10,000th game club

June 6, 2014

 

Joined Left Years Games Goals
1 David O’Leary 1973 1993 20 722 14
2 Tony Adams 1983 2002 19 669 48
3 George Armstrong 1961 1977 16 621 68
4 Lee Dixon 1988 2002 14 619 28
5 Nigel Winterburn 1987 2000 13 584 12
6 David Seaman 1990 2003 13 564 0
7 Pat Rice 1964 1980 16 528 13
8 Peter Storey 1961 1977 16 501 17
9 John Radford 1962 1976 14 481 149
10 Peter Simpson 1960 1978 18 477 15
11 Bob John 1922 1937 15 470 13
12 Ray Parlour 1988 2004 16 466 32
13 Graham Rix 1974 1988 14 464 51
14 Martin Keown 1981 2004 23 449 8
15 Paul Davis 1978 1995 17 447 37
16 Eddie Hapgood 1927 1945 18 440 2
17 Paul Merson 1982 1997 15 425 99
18 Dennis Bergkamp 1995 2006 11 423 120
19 Patrick Vieira 1996 2005 9 406 33
20 Frank Mclintock 1964 1973 9 403 32
Total: 306 10159 791

These are the players who have each played in over 400 games for Arsenal, between them they played in an incredible 10,159 games, an average of 508 games per player. Many of us will be familiar with 18 of them as they played in the past 41years but I doubt that any of us would have been around when the final 2 played.

Bob John 1922-1937 – 470 games

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Bob John

Born in Barry, Wales, Bob played for Barry Town and Caerphilly, before joining Arsenal, who signed him despite stiff competition for his signature. He made his Arsenal first-team debut on 28 October 1922 in a 2-1 home defeat to Newcastle United, and soon became a regular, succeeding Tom Whittaker at left half.

He lost his place from the Arsenal side in the 1923-24 season due to stiff competition from Billy Blyth and Andy Young, but after switching to left back, he once again became a first team player. Eventually he was put back to left half, and this time he remained a first-team regular. A prodigious ball-winner and noted passer of the ball, Bob reached (but lost) in the 1926-27 FA Cup Final, after an error by his compatriot and close friend, goalkeeper Dan Lewis whose one mistake led to Arsenal’s loss. It was Bob who consoled Lewis after the final whistle, assuring him he would get another chance to a win a medal, but Lewis never did get the opportunity.

Despite some very strong competition he remained a first team regular, finally winning some silverware in the 1929-30, FA Cup Final. This was followed by three First Division titles in 1930-31, 1932-33, and 1933-34. He also scored Arsenal’s only goal in the 1932 FA Cup Final when Arsenal were controversially beaten by Newcastle United. Newcastle benefited from scoring a goal that was later determined to have been out of play just before the goal was scored. By this time he was one of the senior members of the Arsenal squad, and mentored many of the club’s younger new arrivals, such as Alex James. He played for Arsenal until he retired in 1938, playing for the final three years of his career mainly as a reserve player, missing out on a medal in the League win of 1934-35.

After his retirement he had a largely unsuccessful career as a coach, finishing his football career as a scout for Cardiff City.

His 470 games place him 11th on the all time list.

He passed away in 1982 aged 83 years.

Eddie Hapgood 1927-1945 – 440 games

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Eddie Hapgood Highbury006

He was born in Bristol. Eddie started his football career in the mid-1920s as an amateur playing in local football (while still employed as a milkman), after which he played for Kettering Town in the Southern League. In 1927 Herbert Chapman signed him for Arsenal at a fee of £950. He was so thin and fragile that Arsenal’s trainer Tom Whittaker forced him to take up weight training and to start eating meat, as he was a vegetarian. This turned to Eddie’s advantage outside of football as his new found muscular physique allowed him to supplement his minimum wage, as a footballer, by fashion modelling and advertising confectionary.

He made his Arsenal debut on 19 November 1927 against Birmingham City; initially he was used as backup for left back Horace Cope. Eddie had to wait until 1929 before he became a first team regular, after that he made the position his own, right up until the outbreak of WW11 in 1939. He played 35 or more matches in every season in that period and went on to succeed Alex James as Arsenal’s captain and he led the side to the League title in 1937-38, while personally winning five League titles and two FA Cups.

He was capped by England on 30 occasions making his debut in1930, and was England’s captain for 21 games including his first match which was the infamous “Battle of Highbury” against Italy in November 1934. Italy was the reigning World Champions at the time and England had declined to take part in the World Cup, so the match was billed as the “true” World Championship match. The match was notoriously dirty, with many players sustaining injuries, including Hapgood who had his nose broken. England beat the Italians (who were reduced to ten men for most of the match) 3-2. He was also captain when the English team played Germany, in Berlin and were forced (under pressure from British diplomats) to give the Nazi salute before the match, England won 6-3.

When WW11 started, Eddie who was only 30 served in the Royal Air Force, while also playing for Arsenal and England in unofficial matches. In 1945, he wrote one of the first football autobiographies, entitled “Football Ambassador”. After that he left football completely; he fell on hard times and wrote back to his old club Arsenal asking for financial assistance (as he had never been given a testimonial match) but the club only sent him £30. He spent his later years running YMCA hostels.

His 440 games place him 16th on the all time list.

He passed away on Good Friday 1973 aged 64 years.

Two of the other members of the 10,000 game club are John Radford and Dennis (God) Bergkamp and they are also among only 16 players to have scored 100 or more goals for Arsenal, Paul Merson fell one goal short at 99.

GunnerN5

 


Arsenal’s Greatest Forwards Day 4

July 16, 2013

Continuing our Summer series of articles in search of Arsenal’s greatest ever team, this week we will end our quest for the greatest forwards to include in our team.  Don’t forget to take the opportunity to choose your personal favourite striker, this weeks posts will bring us bang up to date and there will be a vote on Saturday.

11. David Herd: 1954-1961.

David made 180 appearances over a 7 year period and scored 107 goals.

David was born in Hamilton but grew up in Manchester. He started his career at Stockport County and Soccer - League Division One - Arsenal New Signing - Highburymade his debut on the final day of the season, but his appearances  were limited by his national service duties. He scored five goals in 12 games in 1953–54 and he attracted the attentions of First Division clubs.

He did well enough to attract the attention of Arsenal, who signed him for £10,000 in 1954, and he made his debut on 19 February 1955 against Leicester City. David continued to be a bit part player, playing just eight games in his first two seasons at Arsenal, before making his breakthrough in 1956–57, scoring 18 goals in 28 games that season. From then on he was an established goal scorer, being the club’s top goal scorer for four season’s straight, from 1956–57 through to 1960–61 – when he scored 29 goals, the most by an Arsenal player since Ronnie Rooke. Despite being top scorer in 1960–61, he was unsettled at Arsenal due to their lack of success, and he moved to Manchester United in July 1961 for £35,000. Manchester United.

His first game for United came against West Ham United on 19 August 1961. He helped the club to the 1962–63 FA Cup, scoring two goals in the final itself against Leicester City. He also helped them to the 1965 and 1967 league championships and the 1967–68 European Cup. However, after he broke his leg in March 1967, his first-team appearances were limited, and he was not selected for the 1968 European Cup Final on 29 May 1968. In all, he scored 145 career goals in 265 appearances, an average of 0.54 goals per game. He also once scored past three different goalkeepers in one match on 26 November 1966 against Sunderland, as United won the game 5–0.

He left Manchester United in July 1968 for Stoke City on a free transfer. He played 39 games for Stoke in 1968–69 scoring nine goals as Stoke had a poor season narrowly avoiding relegation. In 1969–70 He made nine appearances scoring twice and was released at the end of the season. He then spent a short spell with Irish club Waterford.

He won his first cap for Scotland, on 18 October 1958 against Wales at Ninian Park; Scotland won 3–0. He won five caps in total for Scotland between 1958 and 1961, scoring three goals, his last cap coming in a 4–0 defeat by Czechoslovakia on 14 May 1961.

After retiring from playing, he had a stint managing Lincoln City between 1971 and 1972.

His 107 goals for Arsenal place he 16th on the all time list 

12. John Radford: 1962-1976.

John made 481 appearances over a 14 year period and scored 149 goals.

John was born in Hemsworth, Yorkshire. He joined Arsenal as an apprentice in 1962, turning professional in February 1964. He was a prolific goal scorer in the youth and reserve teams, before making his first-team debut against on 21 March 1964, his only appearance of the 1964-65 season. He played a little more the next season, playing 15 times, and became Arsenal’s youngest ever hat-trick scorer, against Wolves on 2 January 1965, at the age of 17 years and 315 days, a record that remains to this day. He played mostly as an inside forward or centre forward, and occasionally as a right-winger.

radfordBy the start of 1965-66 he was an Arsenal regular, and blossomed under the management of Bertie Mee; in 1968-69, although he had been moved out to the right wing, he scored nineteen goals and reached the 1969 League Cup final. As he peaked, so did Arsenal; in 1969-70 he again scored nineteen goals, and helped Arsenal win the 1970 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, their first trophy in seventeen years; John scored the second goal in Arsenal’s 3-0 win in the second leg of the final, which they won 4-3 on aggregate. By now, John had been moved up front again and continued to score regularly. The following season (1970-71) he scored 21 goals, his best single tally in a season, forming a partnership with Ray Kennedy that between them recorded 47 goals. With his goals, John was an instrumental part of Arsenal’s FA Cup and League Championship double-winning side, and his assists played an important role too; he set up Kennedy for the winning goal in Arsenal’s FA Cup semi-final replay win against Stoke City, and set up both Eddie Kelly and Charlie George for their goals in the Final against Liverpool.

John was now an England international, having already won four caps for the under-23 side. He made his full England debut in a friendly against Romania on 15 January 1969. However, he was not a favourite of England manager Sir Alf Ramsey and won only one further cap, against Switzerland on 13 October 1971; he scored in neither match. He continued to play for Arsenal through the early 1970s, scoring another 19 goals in 1972-73. However, his goal rate gradually reduced (only achieving single figures in 1973-74 and 1974-75) and he was injured in 1975-76, further restricting his appearances. By now, the partnership of Malcolm Macdonald and Frank Stapleton had become Arsenal’s first-choice attacking duo and John only played twice in the first four months of 1976-77.

Unable to keep a regular place in the side, he moved on to West Ham United in December 1976 for £80,000. After a year and 28 league appearances and no goals with the Hammers, Radford joined Blackburn Rovers in 1977. He was moderately successful with the Second Division side, scoring ten times in 38 league appearances. He left Rovers in 1978 and played for non-league Bishop’s Stortford before retiring. After retiring, he became a pub landlord, and enjoyed several spells as manager of Bishop’s Stortford in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

His 149 goals make him Arsenal’s fourth all-time top scorer.

13. George Armstrong: 1961-1977.

George made 621 appearances over a 16 year period scoring 68 goals.

Born in Hebburn, County Durham, George had trained as an electrician while playing in youth football, he was rejected by both Newcastle United and Grimsby Town, but nevertheless, he succeeded in joining Arsenal as a youth player in August 1961. He made his debut not long after joining the club; while still only 17, he started against Blackpool on 24 February 1962 in a match that Arsenal won 1-0 and by the 1963-64 season he had become a regular in the side, and in 1964-65 he missed only two matches.

Over his long career with the Gunners, George became one of Arsenal’s most consistent players, and was noted for the quality and accuracy of his crossing and corner kicks, as well as for his tireless running up and down the wing; he primarily played on the left, but was also effective on the right. As he matured, he became one of the few players of the Billy Wright era (along with Jon Sammels and Peter Storey) to become an integral part of Wright’s successor Bertie Mee’s Arsenal side, which ended the club’s long trophy drought.

After losing two successive League Cup finals in 1967-68 and 1968-69, George helped the Gunners win the 1969-70 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and the 1970-71 League and FA Cup double; he was a regular in the Double-winning team that season, setting up a number of goals for his team-mates, which included teeing up Ray Kennedy’s winning header against Tottenham Hotspur, in the match that won Arsenal the League title. He was also voted Arsenal’s Player of the Year in 1970.

George remained with the club through the 1970s, as Arsenal failed to win any further trophies after their Double win; he played at least thirty matches in each season he was at the club during that decade. However, after falling out with Mee’s successor, Terry Neill, he moved to Leicester City in the summer of 1977 for £15,000. He played only 14 League matches in his single season with the Foxes, and finished his career with Stockport County before retiring in 1979. After retiring from playing, he moved into coaching, and worked for a variety of clubs, including Fulham, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, QPR and Enderby Town (as manager), as well as FK Mjølner in Norway and was manager of the Kuwaiti national team between 1988 and 1989.

ArmstrongIn 1990, before the Iraqi invasion, he returned to England and joined Arsenal as reserve team coach, a post he remained at for the remainder of his life, despite the many managerial upheavals the club underwent. During his time at Arsenal he was responsible for bringing many young players through the Arsenal ranks, including Steve Morrow, Ray Parlour and Paul Dickov

Surprisingly for such a high-standing player, he was never capped for the full England side, despite plenty of youth and U23 caps; this was primarily because of England manager Sir Alf Ramsey’s policy of not using wingers.

He played in sixteen full seasons at Arsenal, most of them as an ever-present, at one time he held the club’s all-time record for appearances – 621 competitive first-team appearances, including exactly 500 in the league; his record has since been overtaken only by David O’Leary and Tony Adams. He also scored 68 goals for Arsenal.

On 31 October 2000, while conducting a club training session he collapsed after an unexpected brain haemorrhage; he died in Hemel Hempstead Hospital in the early hours of the following morning.

George had a pitch named after him at the Arsenal F.C. training ground, in London Colney

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