mourinhodeanAh, Mike Dean – every Arsenal fans most hated referee (and that takes some going when you look at the competition). We’ve written a couple of blogs about Mike Dean and Arsenal before. One highlighted Arsenal’s awful record under Dean, whilst the second showed that it looked like the curse had been lifted.

However, after yesterday’s game against Chelsea I think there is no doubt that his total ineptitude continues to coincide with Arsenal failing to win games. Thanks to Darren Berry for the picture of Jose and his daughter.

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Seeing isn’t always believing

During the summer of 1893 the members of the Football League voted to expand the size of the Second Division which had been formed the previous year. This expansion opened the door for Woolwich Arsenal to become the first Football League club based south of Birmingham. It also turned into a rather messy affair that has resulted in a number of assumptions being made by other historians that have become accepted as the true course of events.

Here, The Arsenal History, set out the actual story of that summer. Read More →

The History of Gunflash

Take a look at the front cover of the latest issue of Gunflash and you’ll see the following: Volume 66 Issue 570. I guess that many readers will not notice it or might glance just to make sure they’re reading the latest issue.

But think about it for a few seconds. Volume 66 means that this great magazine (or fanzine as it has popularly been reclassified) has now been around for 66 years – an amazing length of time when you consider how more contemporary fanzines have come and gone in that time.

I first saw a copy of Gunflash in the early 1980s when my one of my brother’s workmates gave me a huge pile of programmes, handbooks and the odd Gunflash (if you’re reading this, thank you Steve Gadsden). At the time I was into facts and statistics so I struggled to understand exactly what Gunflash was all about. That all changed last year when I bought a small collection of about 20 for a ridiculously cheap price on ebay. Read More →

Between 2001 and 2006 Wembley Stadium was rebuilt. During that period, Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium was used by the English Football Association for the FA Cup final, FA Cup semi-finals (for one season) and the FA Charity / Community Shield. A total of 14 games were played and Arsenal, as well as being Kings of Wembley, came out as Kings of Cardiff.

Thanks to @JamesGooner88 for the inspiration for this article. Read More →

Despite it being only the middle of July, Arsenal’s pre-season preparations are well under way with a tournament in Singapore already completed and the Emirates Cup and Community Shield still to come before the very early start to the Premier League season.

Arsenal’s preparations for the season ahead haven’t always been this hectic. For many years it was a case of some running around the pitch to shake off the excesses of the Summer and a couple of kickabouts.

The earliest records of the team playing prior to the start of the season are in 1888, two years after the club was founded. Two games, advertised as the Probables v Improbables, were played on 1 September and a week later. Unfortunately no records of the outcome of these two games exists, nor of the players involved. However, with the club gaining a reputation as one of the leading clubs in London, it is likely that a fair number of trialists had put their names forward to the committee that ran the team. And don’t be fooled by the dates. In the early days of the game, the season started in September with cricket, still being the more senior sport, taking precedence.

Kentish Mercury 21 September 1888

Kentish Mercury 21 September 1888

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Back in September 2014 we wrote a blog about Arsenal’s reserves beating Tottenham’s first team in 1970. Most Arsenal fans already knew about the time this happened in 1980.

However, at the recent Arsenal Supporters’ End of Year Event, whilst we were chatting to Martin Hayes he reminded us of yet another time that Arsenal’s reserves beat Tottenham’s first team. This game took place on 29 March 1983. The teamsheet is shown below, and that is how the teams lined up.

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Anyone with the vaguest interest in football cannot have escaped yesterday’s news of the arrest of seven top FIFA officials on a multitude of corruption charges. For the vast majority of football fans the arrests were a shock, not because of the revelations but for the fact that it had actually happened. For years, FIFA has been the subject of many accusations of corruption, with the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals being the highest profile.

The organisation’s president, Sepp Blatter, has always managed to keep himself distanced from any alleged wrongdoing and continued to be supported by a large majority of members. However, yesterday’s arrests has to see him fall from grace. He has tried to spin the situation by saying that, although this is not good for football, it is good for FIFA that these alleged misdemeanours have been brought into the open so that they can be acted upon. He has tried to distance himself from the men that have been arrested but, and this is a big but, he has a big problem.
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On Friday 22 May I received a surprise invite to Arsenal’s FA Cup media day on 27 May at the club’s training ground. I didn’t need too much time to consider whether or not I would be attending! This is my story of the day.

The itinerary stated that the first event would be Arsene Wenger’s press conference at 9am. I arrived about 20 minutes before this and was pleased to see some familiar faces in Tim Stillman and Goonerholic. Shortly after, Dave Seager and Darren Berry (a fellow warbler on the Arsenal unofficial 2015 FA Cup final song) turned up to form a quintet of bloggers.

Someone to talk to during the quiet moments

Someone to talk to during the quiet moments

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Last year we thought it would be a good idea to put together a compendium of information relating to all of Arsenal’s FA Cup final appearances on one page so you don’t have to trawl all over the internet to find out the answers to all of those nagging questions.

We’ve updated the article and made some additions. We’ve added a brief match report for each game which we wrote for the Arsenal magazine last year, and most of the programmes for the games. We were hoping to have all of them ready in time for this blog but the later years take ages to scan as they are so big. We’ll add them as we scan them in. Be aware that these later programmes are huge, physically and electronically. With this in mind we’ve shown the file size for each one so you know what you are letting yourself in for. This article was originally posted in 2015 and has been updated to include all subsequent FA Cup final appearances.

Weekly Illustrated 25 April 1936.

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