An Arsenal Blast from the Past ……. No. 1

January 8, 2014

Let’s all take a sad walk back down memory lane.

The year is 1925 and Arsenal were looking for a replacement for the sacked manager Leslie Knighton, Arsenal chairman Sir Henry Norris placed this advertisement in the Athletic News:

“Arsenal football club is open to receive applications for the position of TEAM MANAGER. He must be experienced and possess the highest qualifications for the post, both as to ability and personal character. Gentlemen whose sole ability to build up a good side depends on the payment of heavy and exorbitant transfer fees need not apply”

In response to this advertisement along came Herbert Chapman – who was to know that almost a century later he would be the manager responsible for our very own “TMHT” reminding us all that the “Ghosts of the Thirties were Stirring”

So let’s find out just a little bit about one of those “Ghosts”
Did you know that on April 23rd 1927 it was Herbert Chapman that led us out at Wembley Stadium for our first ever FA Cup Final?

The 1927 final was also the very first time that community singing was introduced in a final and it produced one of the biggest (91,206) organised choirs of the time. There was some doubt as to whether the crowd would join in but the response was so enthusiastic that it immediately became part of the FA Cup Final’s ritual. T.P. Ratcliff, who became famous as”The Man in White” was the song leader and the Northern Command Tattoos were conducted by Aldershot Tidworth. The tradition of signing “Abide with me” continues to this day but supporters also sign their own clubs war songs. The song sheet in 1927 included, Pack up Your Troubles, All Through the Night, Tipperary and Drink to Me Only.
Chapman led out the Arsenal to play Cardiff City, his team that day consisted of – Dan Lewis, Tom Parker, Andy Kennedy, Alf Baker, Jack Butler, Bob John, Joe Hulme, Charlie Buchan, Jimmy Brain, Billy Blyth and Sid Hoar.

Ratcliff 001

Unfortunately Arsenal became the first and only club to let England’s most celebrated trophy to be spirited away to another country. Hugh Freguson Cardiff’s centre-forward scored the only goal of the game in the seventy third minute – in a game that was largely dominated by Arsenal – huh! does that have a familiar ring to it?

In was a sad moment for our goalkeeper Dan Lewis (who was also a Welsh international) as the shot by Hughie Ferguson was straight at him – he dived down to make what should have been a comfortable save, however he fumbled the ball as he gathered it, and it slipped between his body and the crook of his elbow. He turned around and tried in vain to reclaim the ball but only succeeded in knocking it with his elbow into the back of the net.

On receiving his losers’ medal from King George V, a disgusted Lewis reportedly cried “This is not for me,” before flinging it as far as he could into the Wembley crowd.

Lewis blamed his brand new jersey for the error, saying the wool was too greasy for him to grip the ball properly; since then, according to club legend, no Arsenal goalkeeper has played in a new jersey before it is washed first.

Breaking News!!

Fast forward 91 years it’s now January 2014 and we have just chased the “Tiny Totts” back down the Seven Sisters Road to their very own “Chicken Coop” where they were greeted by a mute cockerel.


The Old Arsenal Returns

January 17, 2013

When I said to Peaches that I could do the report for this game I thought it would probably be a simple mission. How wrong could I be. As I started watching the game I originally thought that the best way to report it would be to recount the key incidences as they occurred. I soon realised that there were far too many key incidences to recount in chronological order without going into a prolonged report, so I decided to switch to a different mode of report that would look at the game as more of a general synopsis with some specifics when required..

Firstly can I say, that for me, that was a thoroughly entertaining and humdinger of a game that the narrow scoreline and lack of overall goals doesn’t really reflect. Swansea, as we have found out this season, can play great pass and move technical football. How dare they aspire to this, that is our domain! Once again they did, at certain times, exhibit their ability to pass and move through very tight spaces at a very good technical level in what we like to think is our style of play. This time, however, we elevated our performance levels so that we looked, once again, to be the masters of this style of football.

Early on in the game I thought we took hold of midfield with a combination of the power, pace, and possession that Diaby and Wilshere offer us. We had a few chances but didn’t convert. Always a worrying thing for us Gooners, as we have seen that very situation so many times. If I was to be critical of us in the first half it would be to say that while we got into dangerous positions with possession in the last third, that we didn’t look like we had that final cutting edge. It always seemed like the final critical pass missed the key player by ½ yard. Many would put that down to players not being of the required quality. Personally, at this point, I would still put a lot of it down to players still getting to understand each other and instinctively recognise the movements of their team-mates.

Swansea had a couple of dangerous moments in the first half, the most obvious being when our former player Kyle Bartley headed against the cross bar. We got away with it but always in those situations I ask, was it an attacking move that we could have done nothing about, or could it have been avoided? I am not sure, but I will leave that subject open to debate.

In the second half, for me, we moved onto another level. The level that, for me, we need to be adhering to if we are to achieve what we all want. The passing and movement seemed to step up a level and became faster, more aggressive, and with more players moving around for their team-mates. Santi Cazorla started to step up a gear and influence the game and was superb in the second half, and he is a class player that we are lucky to have. Even more than this though was the performance of a young Englishman that stood out a mile.


I actually don’t really know what to say about Jack Wilshere. On the one side I don’t want to hype him up too much and create unnecessary pressure, but on the other I feel that we potentially have the next best world class midfielder on our hands. For me he was immense tonight and showed his abilities in both the deeper midfield and offensive midfield roles. He seems to have the ability to play both roles equally effectively. I obviously have my own overall opinions on Jack, but where you see his long term role in midfield I would leave up to you AA’ers to debate.

On to the ratings :

Sczcesny 7

Did what he needed to do effectively

Mertesacker 7

A solid game. On occasions you worry about his lack of pace but he reads the game very well.

Vermaelen 7

His on-field commitment, for me, cannot be criticised. He had a good game today and covered when required. He is excellent at the last ditch tackle.

Sagna 7

After a few “dodgy” performances Mr. Reliable seems to be returning to form.

Gibbs 7

I am a fan of Gibbs and feel he is an excellent full-back. Injury permitting I feel we have a quality FB at our disposal here.

Coquelin 7

I like him. He had some good sections in the game but then seemed to disappear at times, but that is maybe to be expected with a younger player. I still feel that we maybe have another very good AW identified and nurtured player on our hands. I would wait longer before I make a full judgement on his ability as an Arsenal 1st team player.

Diaby 6

He is still not fully up to scratch after an injury lay-off but even so there are times when you can see he brings a different quality to the team. Injury aside I am a big fan of his. He had bright spells in this game but seemed to, understandably, fade in his dynamism as the game went on.

Wilshere 9 and MOTM

As said above, I feel we have the real deal on our hands. His performance tonight was immense both in attack and defence.

Cazorla 8

Slightly quiet first half but in the second stepped up a gear and was, alongside Wilshere, one of the main reasons we started to control the attacking intent in the game.

Giroud 6

I like Giroud but it didn’t quite come of for him today. Having said that I wouldn’t let him go and recognise on another day he could have easily had 2 goals. His link up ability, for me, overcomes the times when he is not scoring goals.

Walcott 6

This is the controversial one. If I said I still feel there is a potential quality striker in him then many of you would pan me. You are maybe right, but I want to see Theo have more time in the advanced role before I make my final judgement. I remember that it took Thierry a while to become regularly lethal for us, and he needed an adjustment period to the strikers role before he started to catch fire, at about the same age as Walcott is now. Theo missed chances tonight but I would also argue that he got himself into good goal-scoring positions that most other players wouldn’t have been able to do.


Ramsey 6 

When he plays in central areas, like today, he still seems a very decent player to me and was quietly effective when he came on. I still feel he has a potential long term future with us but we need more

Written by GoonerB

Park Life: AV prematch

January 29, 2012

Remember our last FA Cup game? One of the great moments in the history of the Emirates. An average performance completely dismissed by 5 seconds of theatre. Today I would love to see a 90 minute performance which will raise the despair around the ground following 3 defeats.

We have to accept that we are not going to be Champions this year – yes, even you Peaches. With the loss to MC in the Carling, just the FA Cup and the Champions League remain to make this a winning season and although I am convinced we will get to Munich the FAC is the easier target.

The first 35 mins of the  second half of the MU game was our best since Xmas, the aggression, application and potency was back. We can and have discussed why we lost momentum and without opening the subject again we must hope lessons have been learned.

However, Mr Wenger can be a curmudgeonly chap when his decisions are questioned and it would be no surprise to see Oxlade Chamberlain start from the bench despite his fine performance a week ago.

There is a question mark over how seriously Mr Wenger will take the FA Cup but my hope is that he takes it very seriously; whether Van Persie starts will indicate just how he prioritizes the Cup. With Bolton on Wednesday – only a 3 day break – will he play our star man twice? My guess is No. I think he will play Park and bring on RvP only if needed,

My Team

I would like to see Park, he looked better in his brief cameo on Sunday and at some point he has to sink or swim. Having already scored a beauty in the CC, let’s see him get another or ship him out a.s.a.p. along with Chamakh.

More of the same, please

Hopefully, Arteta is back to fitness which will allow Rosicky to continue and Ramsey to have a break – he needs one. The back 5 pick themselves though I worry for Djourou who if un-injured must be reeling after his humiliation on Sunday; to be subbed at half-time (a rarity for AW) for a lad barely out of Youth football must be a humbling experience for a full International, even if he is playing out of position

A little about Villa. Nice team, no-one I know dislikes them, offensive manager who is struggling in the wake of O’Neill’s (relative) success. They are getting back into form and have a potent, pacy attack.

We will concede so it is imperative our strikers are efficient. As senior attacker (in my team) it is important Theo steps up and takes responsibility. Versus MU he was poor and gave little offensively or defensively – we need more from him and at a time when his contract comes up for negotiation Theo has to give reason for a wage hike. Right now, most fans would recommend a long rest in the sun (preferably a few seasons!).

Today’s Gooner:  This week’s topic of hilarity has rightly been the High Court trial of  Harry “Del Boy” Redknapp. The rabble down the road are very proud of their man and it is a source of pride that one of their own has made it to the High Court rather than the youth offenders prison. But once again our neighbours have been trumped – we have a celebrity Gooner with a far more impressive history of blagging: Mr Ronnie Biggs.  Biggs is a huge Arsenal fan as can be seen from the pic. I cannot say I have any liking for him and certainly no respect for a man with a history of violent crime but he is a Gooner and our tribe encompasses all types.

“‘Arry – ‘ee’s 2 Bob……”

Arsenal need to win today. The schisms which were so damaging prior to the good run have re-opened and the malcontents are getting vocal. I trust the players understand those booing are a tiny minority of the Arsenal fan base, but I doubt they do. We need to get behind the team, to give vocal support when things go wrong, criticism has it’s place but not within the Emirates. This is Our House.


Written by Big Raddy