HISTORY IN THE MAKING
If the Gunners can create an all-time record for consecutive league matches unbeaten this evening, it seems appropriate that they would take the baton from Nottingham Forest, who achieved the Gunners current tally of 42 matches unbeaten between November 1977 and December 1978. After all, if it hadn't been for Forest who were formed way back in 1865 and are the second oldest club in the country (a year younger than neighbours Notts County), the Gunners may well be unrecognisable from the team you see before you today.
In 1886, the generosity of Nottingham Forest, combined with the initiative of a former Forest player at Royal Arsenal (as Arsenal were known at the time), actually led to Arsenal Football Club adopting red playing shirts.
The player was goalkeeper Fred Beardsley, who on returning to the midlands one weekend in 1886, used his connections at Nottingham Forest to obtain a ball and some Forest kits, which were subsequently used by Royal Arsenal as their new strip.
However, the colour of the kit was not the 'Arsenal red' of today. The full kit comprised of a much darker red shirt, white knee length 'knickerbockers', with blue and white hooped stockings. Beardsley went on to become a director of Woolwich Arsenal.
Forest's record took place between November 26, 1977 and December 9, 1978 and helped them to win the First Division Championship for season 1977/78. The championship and record breaking run was a remarkable achievement considering that Forest had only been promoted from Division Two the season prior to their championship win. Brian Clough's team won 21 matches and drew 21, scoring 58 goals in the process and conceding just 22. Terry McDermott ended Forest's mammoth run when he scored both goals for Liverpool in a 2-0 win at Anfield. Blackburn's manager tonight Graeme Souness was a member of the victorious Liverpool team. After the match Clough commented: "I congratulated our lads on a magnificent run. This defeat means a slight relief - but we would have felt better if we hadn't lost."
Arsenal's record so far runs from May 7, 2003 until the present. The Gunners record spans an entire title winning season - the first club to achieve that feat since Preston North End's Invincibles in season 1888/89. The Gunners 42 games have yielded far more wins, 30, and many more goals, 92, though Forest have the upper hand defensively as the Gunners have conceded 31 times. After equalling Forest's record on Sunday Arsène Wenger said: "When you are on the pitch you don't realise that you are achieving football history but it means nothing if you break these records and have nothing to show for it at the end of the season."
THEY PLAYED FOR BOTH TEAMS
The last ten players to feature for both Arsenal and Nottingham Forest are:
Matthew Upson - Arsenal 1997 - 2003; Forest 2000 (on loan)
David Platt - Arsenal 1995 - 1998; Forest 1999 - 2001
Ian Wright - Arsenal 1991 - 1998; Forest 1999 (on loan)
Kevin Campbell - Arsenal 1988 - 1995; Forest 1995 - 1998
Lee Chapman - Arsenal 1982 - 1983; Forest 1988 - 1990
Viv Anderson - Arsenal 1984 - 1987; Forest 1974 - 1984
Tony Woodcock - Arsenal 1981 - 1982; Forest 1977 - 1979
Willie Young - Arsenal 1977 - 1981; Forest 1981 - 1983
Charlie George - Arsenal 1968 - 1975; Forest 1980 (on loan)
Colin Addison - Arsenal 1966 - 1967; Forest 1961 - 1966
There have been a number of other players who have appeared for both teams over the years, notably legendary goalscorer Joe Baker, current Chairman of the League Managers' Association John Barnwell and the aforementioned Fred Beardsley.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE HOSPITALITY PACKAGES
Following the UEFA Champions League draw this week, full hospitality packages for the group stage matches at Highbury will soon be on sale. Full package and price information will be available from Monday, September 6, 2004. A limited number of packages remain for all our Premiership home games this season, for full details on these, and Champions League packages please visit www.arsenal.com/hospitality or call 020 7704 4550.
ARSENAL CONTINUE GOOD WORK WITH CHILDLINE
For its inaugural Charity of the Season, Arsenal is delighted to announce that an impressive £100,000 has been raised through its partnership with ChildLine, the UK's free, 24-hour helpline for children and young people. Furthermore, with substantial work to be achieved in terms of fundraising and awareness building, the Club has, as a one-off, renewed the partnership for an additional year.
The amount accrued last season will enable ChildLine to answer more than 30,000 calls from children and young people by funding the recruitment and training of many more new volunteer counsellors. Every day calls from around 2,300 children are answered by ChildLine but the enormous demand for ChildLine's services means that hundreds more children each day are unable to get through and have to call again. The aim of supporting ChildLine for a successive season is to move the charity even closer to achieving its target of answering every call from every child the first time they call. Specifically it is hoped that substantial funds generated from this season's work will reach the London helpline thus directly assisting Arsenal's immediate community.
ChildLine's Chair, Esther Rantzen OBE, said: "We are so delighted to be offered the opportunity to be Arsenal's Charity of the Season for a second time. By teaming up with Arsenal, ChildLine has not only been able to speak directly to the Club's legion of young fans, letting them know that we're here if they need us; but we also have the opportunity to make a real difference to their lives - by raising vital funds to help us answer more calls and recruit more volunteers. We have already received fantastic support from Arsenal's players and manager and look forward to being a part of another great season with the Club."
ALL THE BEST DREW
Arsenal Football Club would like to wish a very happy retirement to Chief Inspector Drew Davidson, who will be making his last appearance in the Police Control Room at Highbury this evening.
BLACKBURN ROVERS (London & District) SUPPORTERS
If you are a Rovers fan living in the south and would like some information about the London & District Supporters Club, please contact Jo Byrne, Club Secretary via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone her on 01442 255760.
ChildLine have teamed up with Hotpoint to offer you the chance to win a complete kitchen appliance suite, in their Slice of Life competition.
There are also ten runners up prizes of cookers from Hotpoint's new range up for grabs.
To enter just tell ChildLine the story of your favourite cake
memory in no more than 200 words, starting with 'My favourite
cake memory isâ€¦' Entries should be sent to
Alex Stevenson at ChildLine, 45 Folgate Street, London E1 6GL or
emailed to email@example.com.
But hurry - all entries should be in no later than September 6, 2004.
PLEASE CAN YOU HELP?
Brian Daley is an ardent Arsenal fan suffering from multiple myeloma (cancer of the blood) and needs a bone marrow donor ASAP.
Finding a suitable donor for Brian, who is the former MOBO Award winning 'DJ Swing', has been very difficult. On behalf of Brian's family and friends - he has two sons, who are also mad keen Gunners fans - Arsenal Football Club would be extremely grateful if any supporters reading this who are African/ Afro-Caribbean or bi-racial and would like to help Brian could contact the Programme Editor on 020 7704 4138 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The Club will then put you in touch with Brian.
For more information on Brian's extremely serious condition please visit www.aclt.org and follow the 'DJ Swing needs your help' link.
MAIDSTONE UNITED PROGRAMME FAIR
The second Maidstone United Programme Fair takes place on Sunday, September 19, from 11am to 2pm.
It will take place at 'The Clubhouse' Sittingbourne Football Club, Eurolink Way, Sittingbourne, Kent.
There will also be a football raffle and kids' penalty competition. Admission costs 50p for adults and 20p for children.
ARSÈNE'S 800TH GOAL
Arsenal scored the 800th goal in all competitions under Arsène Wenger's management by taking a 1-0 lead against Middlesbrough on Sunday. Thierry Henry lobbed Mark Schwarzer in the first-half to bring up the landmark, and of course the boys went on to grab four more that day and take the running total to 804 from 443 matches.
The breakdown of goals is as follows:
FA Cup 92
League Cup 42
Charity/Community Shield 10
In the same period Arsenal have conceded 418 goals.
FREE £1 VOUCHER FOR ALL SUPPORTERS
As you may be aware the Club were presented with cheques totalling £50,000 prior to the match against Middlesbrough on Sunday for finishing top of the Fair Play Leagues last season. The Club received £30,000 for the team's sporting behaviour last season, while the other £20,000 has been given for 'behaviour of the public' to the Arsenal fans.
All of the money received will be distributed back to the supporters through a series of initiatives. One of these is a voucher scheme which will feature in the matchday programme against Charlton Athletic on Saturday October 2. Fans who buy the programme will find a free £1 voucher inside for refreshments offered in the stadium and for use in the Club shops. The remaining £20,000 will be set aside for matchday initiatives co-ordinated by supporters' group, REDaction.
NEW KIT AVAILABLE
The new blue away kit will be available to purchase from all official Arsenal retail outlets from next Thursday (September 2). The shirt can be ordered from this Friday (August 28) through Arsenal.com.