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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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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JACK WILSHERE VINDICATED

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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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.

Weekly Illustrated 25 April 1936.

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A Generation of Domination

Today saw the 21st consecutive season in which Arsenal have finished above their North London neighbours in the Premier League.

Below is a table showing each team’s league performance and the difference between the two teams at the end of each season. Also shown is the date that Arsenal were mathematically guaranteed to finish above Tottenham and how many games were left that season. Read More →

Arsenal kit in each of the previous finals

By Mark Andrews

As part of the run up to the FA Cup final we will be looking into various aspects of Arsenal’s rich history with the competition. Today we cover kits worn in finals, which is a yellow tinted updated version of last year’s article to take into account the recent announcement that we will be wearing our change kit

Only 7 minutes but, boy, what 7 minutes they were

Pat Rice and Steve Walford try to catch Alan Sunderland in the final minute of the 1979 FA Cup Final

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With Arsenal’s victorious appearance at Wembley on Saturday the club’s record at Spur’s new ground is unsurpassed.

We originally published this post in 2014 before the FA Cup semi-final against Wigan.

It’s now been updated to take into account the subsequent games at Wembley since then. In this update we’ve added a couple of programmes from previous Wembley appearances.

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Arsenal players who were also Cricketers

As the cricket season has just begun we have compiled a list of cricketing Arsenal footballers.

As befits a club who were formed out of the Dial Square cricket team, Arsenal have had many dual code players. Also, at the time of founding in 1886, Woolwich was part of the county of Kent, a once great cricketing team particularly just prior to World War 1 and the during the 1970s.

David Danskin, the first Arsenal football captain, was a prominent member of the Dial Square cricket club, though the pitches they played on at Plumstead Common were a world away from the surface used by Arsenal’s best cricketer Denis Compton when he batted at Lords.

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