Arsenal Barred From Defending The Fairs Cup On This Day, 7th May 1970

Having won the trophy nine days previously, the Football League rained on Arsenal’s parade with the news that their league position at the end of the 1969-70 season had not been good enough to invite the club to defend the Fairs Cup in 1970-71.

Uefa had not yet taken over running the competition so Arsenal had to buck the trend and appeal to the Organising Committee of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, seeking a reversal of the decision. The appeal was eventually successful and Arsenal would participate.

There was nothing new in the League’s stance, having previously denied QPR and Swindon Town the opportunity to take part following their League Cup wins on the spurious grounds that they were lower division clubs. Swindon in particular, proved the folly of the decision by winning the 1969 Anglo-Italian League Cup Winners Trophy, beating AS Roma 5 – 2 on aggregate and the 1970 Anglo-Italian Cup by beating Juventus home and away in the group stage, followed by Napoli in the final in Naples.

07051970 No FC

Arsenal Receive A Guard Of Honour As Champions On This Day, 6th May 1991

As close to being Invincible as can be, a solitary defeat at Stamford Bridge during February prevented that occurring. Arsenal won the title without playing, most of us were dotted in the pubs around Highbury watching second place Liverpool at the City Ground in a teatime kick-off. Nottingham Forest’s 2 – 1 victory meant that Manchester United provided a guard of honour as Arsenal took to the field.

(Click to enlarge)

07051991 MU

Arsenal Dumped Out Of The Cup By Bradford Park Avenue On This Day, 10th January 1948

Sometimes an opportunity presents itself that is too good to miss, no matter the historical significance. This one is pure Hollywood: Billy Elliott scoring the winner as Second Division (The Championship in today’s money) won at the League leaders – and soon to be crowned Champions – home ground.

Arsenal had led the First Division since winning at Sheffield United on 30th August 1947, a position they never ceded from that point. Or those points, if you like. Bradford Park Avenue meanwhile had won at Chesterfield on that day, the last time they would do so before leaving The Dell with maximum points on 27th December, the away game prior to this cup tie.

The omens were not in Arsenal’s favour. On this day in 1914, Bradford City had knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup with a 2 – 0 victory in the First Round. This win resonated around the world although I wonder how long the denizens of Edmonton in Canada were under the illusion that Bradford City had beaten Arsenal?

BPA 1 BPA 2 BPA 3 Edmonton Oops

The Start Of FA Cup Glory For Arsenal On This Day, 6th January 1971

06011971 Yeovil Town 0 Arsenal 3 top photo It had the potential for a classic FA Cup upset. The slope at Huish Park, a history of running League clubs close at home with the occasional win – notably Sunderland in 1949. Walsall haunted Arsenal at every turn but goals from Ray Kennedy and a John Radford brace put paid to any hopes of a Winter cup upset.06011971 Yeovil Town 0 Arsenal 306011971 Yeovil Town 0 Arsenal 3 bottom photo

Arsenal Crash Out Of The FA Cup At Northampton On This Day, 4th January 1958

040158 Northampton 1 - 3 c 040158 Northampton 1 - 3 hArsenal arrived at The County Ground in thirteenth place in the First Division. Their hosts, Northampton Town, were 19th in the old Division Three (South). A cup upset seemed possible with Arsenal having lost their previous two games at Villa Park and Kenilworth Road but not really expected given their hosts lowly position.

With Walsall and Wrexham more in the consciousness due to the comparative status of Arsenal at those moments in time, this defeat is often forgotten but in the nation’s mind, this was still Arsenal, the fallen giant of the English game, sinking further into the mire.

040158 Northampton 1 - 3 i 040158 Northampton 1 - 3 p 040158 Northampton 1 - 3 r 040158 Northampton 1 - 3 t

Arsenal Trounce Chelsea On This Day, 29th November 1930

This 5 – 1 victory is Arsenal’s record win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, the first time they had scored five on the West London turf. It was a meeting between two franchise football teams, Arsenal were well ensconced in Islington by now and Chelsea? They were created to take a place in the Football League, not even managing a season or two of friendlies beforehand. Little wonder that Sir Henry Norris hated them with a passion.

I quite like the withering description of Chelsea’s performance from The Daily Worker at the bottom of these clippings.

Champions Undone By Arsenal On This Day, 25th November 1962

Ipswich Town had six months earlier been crowned League Champions for what turned out to be the only time in their history. This season, 1962-63, they struggled and eventually finished in the lower reaches of the table, avoiding relegation by four points (these the days of two points for a win).

Arsenal were seventeenth before kick-off, Ipswich were twenty-first, three points behind. By the end, the gap would be five points as the hosts disposed of their visitors comfortably. The decline in his team’s fortunes didn’t do Alf Ramsey any harm, becoming England manager in April 1963.

It’s Just Like Watching Brazil At Arsenal, On This Day, 16th November 1965

On this day, it actually was with a Brazilian XI arriving in north London for a match honouring the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. The programme notes the ties between the club and country forged fifteen years or so previously during two tours of the South American country.

The Brazilian squad for this match was originally composed of players drawn from Santos and Vasco de Gama. Acccording to the programme, Brazilian FA and future FIFA President, Joao Havelange was unable to persuade the two clubs to fulfil this tour; “No one was more disappointed” is how the feelings of Havelange were described. With five league matches in less than a fortnight, it was surprising that anyone actually entertained the notion that either club would be involved.

The outcome was that Arsenal won 2 – 0 and as far as I can ascertain, none of the Brazilians from Corinthians and Portuguesa de Desportes went to the 1966 as anything other than a spectator. That is not to say it was a squad entirely devoid of stars. Dino Sani had appeared at the 1958 World Cup and was a European Cup winner with AC Milan. The future was also included, one Roberto Rivelino was a mere 20 year old at the very beginning of his club and ‘international’ career.

For Arsenal, the double-winning side was beginning to breakthrough with Peter Storey and Jon Sammels joining George Armstrong and Frank McLintock in the first team.

16111965 Brazil 2 - 0