Photo: Pires puts India’s Under 19s to the sword

Former Arsenal legend Robert Pires made his second outing in an FC Goa shirt today taking on India’s Under 19 team as the ex-Gunner continues his attempts to regain form and fitness ahead of the launch of the Indian Soccer League later this month.

Pires was the centre of attraction today as FC Goa hammered the Indian Under 19 team 4-0 in a practice match today. Continue reading

This Day in Arsenal history: 3rd March is a lucky day for Arsenal

In an age where analytics and strategy rule every single decision made in the real world, there is little room for that magical element called luck.
However, if Arsenal are going to beat Tottenham at White Hart Lane this Sunday, they are going to need to do more than just play the better football, they are going to need to do more than just stop Gareth Bale, they are going to need to do more than put in an error-free defensive showing, they are going to need that little bit of divine inspiration which can so often be the difference between success and failure – more often called dumb luck. Continue reading

Arsenal: FA Cups wins part 1

North-London has been a breeding ground for football folklore down the years and Arsenal, a club with a proud history and an unmatched desire to win, have been at the forefront of English football in general since their inception. Arsenal’s history is full of memorable victories and trophies, from the Invincible 2004-05 season to the famed 1930 FA Cup victory and the 1971 League and Cup double, the North London club have had an eventful past. Here’s a look at some of the Cup finals won by the Gunners.

Arsenal defeated Huddersfield Town by 2-0 to lift the FA Cup for the first time back in 1930. Goals from Alex James and Jack Lambert were enough to help the North London side lift the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history and the mastermind behind the triumph was their iconic manager Herbert Chapman. Huddersfield Town had previously reached great heights under Chapman and the teams entered the pitch side-by-side for the first time in football history in the honour of the Gunners boss. The other noticeable event in the match was the Graf Zeppelin, the largest airship at the time, looming over the stadium in the first half. Continue reading

Arsenal Beginnings Part 7: The Chapman era

1925-1934: The Chapman era

Henry Norris tempted the manager of then champions Huddersfield Town, Herbert Chapman, with a mega-money offer to take up the reins at Arsenal. Chapman’s first order of business was to purchase prolific Sunderland striker Charlie Buchan. The manager also adopted the WM formation at Arsenal to compensate for the change in offside rule.

Chapman’s effect at Arsenal was almost immediate as the Gunners came within touching distance of their first major silverware, finishing 2nd in the First Division in 1925/26. The next season saw them reach the final of the FA Cup where they lost to Cardiff City by a 1-0 scoreline. Continue reading

Arsenal Beginnings Part 6: Tottenham rivalry begins

1919-1925: Arsenal under Leslie Knighton

Following the club’s return to the First Division, ‘The’ was dropped from the club’s name and it began to be referred to as Arsenal, the name we know today. Tottenham and Arsenal had already grown into rivals owing to their physical proximity since Arsenal’s move to Highbury, but Norris’ act of getting his club into the First Division at the expense of Spurs is considered to be the definitive act of the famed North London rivalry. As ardent Gunners fans will know, Arsenal have never fallen out of the top division since their promotion in 1919.

Norris appointed Leslie Knighton as the new manager although ultimate control of the club remained in the owner’s hands. Knighton was known for having an eye for young talent and with Norris still reeling from the expenses of building Higbury, the new manager invested his limited funds wisely to snap up a number of young players and turn them into stars at Arsenal, the most notable among them being Bob John and Jimmy Brain. Arsenal finished their first season back in First Division in 10th place and the subsequent season in 9th place. Continue reading

Arsenal Beginnings Part 5: Move to Highbury

1913-1919: Move to Highbury and return to First Division

Henry Norris’ plan to merge Woolwich Arsenal with Fulham was blocked by the Football League and so the club was moved to the more developed location of Highbury, North London. Norris chose this site owing to its proximity to the Gillespie Road underground station. Tottenham and Clapton Orient were naturally against the move as were residents of Woolwich and Highbury, but Norris was a powerful figure in England and the majority owner saw the move through.

The Highbury plot was owned by the Church of England and Norris paid £20,000 for a 21-year lease. Norris reportedly spent £125,000 in the construction of the new stadium and Woolwich Arsenal were rechristened The Arsenal. Arsenal’s first match at Highbury was a 2-1 win over Leicester Fosse on September 6, 1913.

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Arsenal Beginnings Part 4: The financial meltdown

1904-1913: First Division and the financial meltdown

Woolwich Arsenal were now in the big league and the club brought in Charlie Satterthwaite and Bobby Templeton that year to cope with First Division football. The club finished in a respectable 10th place in their debut season in the top flight with Satterthwaite scoring 11 goals.

The next season ended on a similar note with Arsenal in 12th place, although that season will be best remembered for their scintillating Cup run, where they beat Watford, Sunderland and Manchester United to reach the semi-finals, where they lost to Newcastle United. The 1906/07 season saw Arsenal finish in 7th place in addition to another semi-final run in the FA Cup. Continue reading

Arsenal Beginnings Part 3: Promotion to First Division

1899-1904: Harry Bradshaw and Promotion to First Division

Woolwich Arsenal’s transformation was heralded by the arrival of former Burnley manager Harry Bradshaw. The manager brought in goalkeeper Jimmy Ashcroft, Arsenal’s first England international. Bradshaw also brought in other important players such as Archie Cross, Percy Sands and Jimmy Jackson during his time with Woolwich Arsenal.

Ashcroft became the club’s prized asset and played a key role in Arsenal’s meteoric rise over the next few years. Bradshaw’s arrival had an almost immediate effect on the team’s results as they finished 8th in the 1899/1900 season. They finished 7th the next season and went on to rise to a record 4th place by the 1901/02 season. Continue reading