On 1 February 1958, Arsenal hosted reigning league champions Manchester United at Highbury. A massive crowd of 63,578 turned up to see the Busby Babes. They saw what has been described as “the greatest game ever seen” by those who were there. The thrilling game finished 5-4 in favour of the visitors. However, it would be the last time this talented young team were seen in England.
The Arsenal Crowd at Woolwich
Referee JB Brodie knocked insensible by Woolwich Arsenal fan
Manor Ground closed for 6 weeks
If you cast your mind back to last season there was a lot of media talk about a pitch invasion in the FA Cup tie between, our opponents in the final, Aston Villa and WBA. Much of it was hyperbole, and as they managed to demonise a relatively peaceful crowd intrusion, we wonder what the modern media would have made of the following episode!
Woolwich Arsenal was the first Football League club to have their ground closed for crowd disturbances according to the extant records of the Football Association. This was borne out of the league game against Burton Wanderers on 26th January 1895. Both teams, but particularly Arsenal in seventh place, had outside chances of promotion from Division Two, and a crowd of 6-7,000 was attracted to the Manor Ground in Plumstead to witness the duel.
List of Arsenal players as Publicans
In the summer Chris Jack, the Grandson of 1930’s exceptional player David Bone Nightingale Jack, got in touch with information about how DBN had run a pub after he retired from the game. So in mid October we met up with him at the very same pub, just up from the Angel tube station for a convivial chat.
This has since evolved into an attempt to list as many of the Arsenal players who took this, until recent times, favoured post playing route.
507: Don Howe 1935-2015
“A man of principle and of vision, sometimes a prophet in the wilderness and a footballer of breathless magnificence. How English football could do with another Don Howe today”
Instrumental in the 1970-71 double win Don, a genuinely great coach, was earlier the 507th player for the Gunners and later a manager. An England international right back his coaching prowess and organisational skills were equally in demand and admired. His time as player, coach and manager at Arsenal spanned five decades.