Today of all days

Arsenal’s history one day at a time

This series takes a look at what was happening to Arsenal and in the world around them on this day at one point in Arsenal’s past.

27 July 2006: the return of the clock

The original big clock at Highbury was placed at the rear of the then uncovered Laundry End of the ground (which later became the North Bank), on or around 10 September 1930.  Pictures from the time show the clock having a 45 minute face. Commentaries in newspapers stated that the end of each half would be announced by a klaxon and that the clock measured 8 feet 6 inches across.

Thus fans the majority of whom at that time would not have their own watch, were able to see how much time there was left in each half.   (There being no substitutes, and fewer visits from medical staff, interruptions were fewer, and so halves really did last 45 minutes, and 3pm kick offs did end at 4.40pm. As people left the ground newspaper vendors were to be heard shouting, “All the half-times, 3.30 winners”).

However the Football Association felt that this ticking of 45 minutes would provide far too much information to the fans, would distract them from the game and undermine the credibility of the match officials. Thus Arsenal were ordered to remove the clock.

However the FA’s injunction was itself not explicitly and so Arsenal responded by changing the clock so that the clock face showed the normal time of day – which worked just as well, because of the strict regularity that of ten minutes for half time, and no time added on for injuries.

The FA took no more action and the clock remained at the rear of the terracing until 1935 when it was decided to cover part of the Laundry End (later known as the North Bank).

With the  College End of the ground opposite, remaining uncovered, the clock was placed at that end, and this quickly became known as the Clock End.

Different clock companies were charged with maintaining the clock which did actually break down occasionally, and by the time of the move to the Emirates it was in the hands of Smith of Derby.

When Arsenal FC moved from Highbury to the Ems, the club claimed that the original clock on the south bank was saved and moved to be put on the stadium outer wall facing what then became the Clock End Bridge over the railway.   However, there is the strong claim also made that the clock that transferred to the Emirates only made its debut at the start of 1989 – but somehow the Club has always passed it off as the original.

The Islington Gazette however reported that one of their staff had seen the clock in pieces and that a new clock replaced it, with a similar, but not identical clock. The move of the clock took place on 27 July 2006 and this Highbury clock was lifted into its new home on the wall of the Emirates by a 25 tonne crane and took four people nine hours to install.

After the removal, Smith of Derby also built a half-size (ie 1.3m diameter) replica of the clock which is placed in the Diamond Club within the stadium.

Then on 21 August 2010, ahead of the home game against Blackpool, a new version of the clock, suitably scaled up in size to be appropriate to the Emirates was unveiled at what was the South End of the ground, and this quickly became renamed as the Clock End.

Arsenal anniversaries 25-31 July

25 July 1972: Arsenal 2 Watford 0 (Kelly, George).

25 July 2015: 6-0 in the Emirates Cup

26 July 2010: The AISA Arsenal History Society suggest three statues around the Emirates Stadium.

26 July 2020: Mike Dean gives us one of those looks (Arsenal v Watford, the video)

27 July 2005: FC Utrecht 0 Arsenal 3. The first ever unbeaten pre-season

27 July 2006: The return of the clock

28 July 2000, 2002, 2009. The days of the profitable transfers

28 July 2021: Arsenal knock in the goals against Watford

29 July 1976 and 20 July 1979: Malcolm MacDonald signed, and retired.

29 July 2017: Arsenal beat Benfica 5-2 after going 1 down.

30 July 2007: Jose Antonio Reyes, one of the Invincibles, left Arsenal.

31 July 1995: Celtic 2 Arsenal 1.

31 July 2019: Arsenal play Angers: the video

Arsenal anniversaries 18-24 July

18 July 2020: Arsenal reach the cup final for the record number of times – the video

18 July 2020: The story of Arsenal’s record breaking cup achievement

19 July 2007: Arsenal pre-season video against Genclerbirligi

19 July 2008: Barnet 1 Arsenal 2 (Simpson, Barazite)

20 July 1979: Malcolm MacDonald retired.

20 July: Arsenal go 2-0 up within four minutes

21 July 1898: Tom Whittaker, our fourth longest serving manager, born.

21 July 2010: Arsenal beat Sturm Graz. The video

22 July 2016: Arsenal sign Bolton’s Player of the Year Rob Holding for £2m.

22 July 2013: Arsenal start their Japanese tour

23 July 1865: Henry Norris, the man who saved Arsenal from extinction, born

23 July 2019: Real Madrid against Arsenal, international champions cup.

24 July 2011: the preseason friendly played on a ploughed field – the video

24 July 2011: The ploughed field story

Arsenal anniversaries 11 – 17 July

11 July 2003: Peterborough 1 Arsenal 0 : the prelude to greatness

12 July 1995 & 1998. Two events which show how far a club can go in three years

13 July 1904: Phil Kelso becomes Arsenal’s 6th manager

13 July 2017: Arsenal play in Australia – the video

14 July 1894: The day of the first “Woolwich Arsenal Football Company Day Excursion” to Hastings

15 July 2019: Arsenal beat Colorado Rapids 3-0: the video

15 July 2020: As football resumes after the stoppage for the pandemic, Arsenal beat Liverpool: the video

16 July 1962: Joe Baker signed for Arsenal.

16 July 2022: Arsenal in pre-season v Hangzhou Greentown

17 July 2004: Barnet 1 Arsenal 10.

17 July 2017, Ozil vs Bayern Munich (and seven in Vietnam)

9 July 1976: Terry Neill becomes Arsenal’s manager

During his time as manager Terry Neill won just one trophy – the FA Cup, although he did achieve the record of three FA Cup finals in a row (losing the other two to Ipswich and West Ham. along with semi-finals in the FA Cup (once) and in the league cup (twice).

His highest league position was third (achieved once) and his lowest, 10th. He was sacked by Arsenal on 16 December 1983 and subsequently retired from football aged 41.

LeagueFA CupLeague Cup
1976/78th5th round5th round
1977/85thFinal (Ipswich)Semi-final
1978/94thWon (Man U)3rd (Rotherham)
1979/804thFinal (WHU)5th (Swindon)
1980/13rd3rd round4th round
1981/25th3rd round4th round
1983/46th3rd round4th (Walsall)

He later ran the business development department of The Hub (London), a media management company, and passed away on 28 July 2022, aged 80.

Arsenal anniversaries 4-10 July

4 July 2020: Arsenal beat Wolverhampton away 0-2 as the league catches up on its postponed games

5 July 1939: The Football League agreed to allow numbered shirts.

6 July 1959: David Bowen sold to Northampton Town for £5,000.

6 July 2023: The story breaks that there is to be a statue of Arsene Wenger at the Emirates after years of campaigning by AISA.

7 July 2020: the video: Arsenal 1 Leicester 1

8 July 1975 David O’Leary became a professional at Arsenal.

9 July 1976: Terry Neill became Arsenal’s manager

9 July 1999: Barnet 1 Arsenal 6

10 July 2014: Alexis signs for Arsenal

4 July 2020: Arsenal’s first ever league match in July – the video

29 June 1971: Don Howe left Arsenal having helped guide the club to the Double as first team coach.

Don was born on 12 October 1935, and played with West Bromwich and won 23 caps with England.  He was voted one of the top players ever with WBA in a poll by the fans.  He was signed as a player for Arsenal by Billy Wright in 1964 but broke his leg in March 1966 and retired from the game.

He then became reserve team coach for Bertie Mee and first team coach in 1968.

Don left Arsenal after the Double of 1971, and it is often said that the quick collapse of the team after the Double season was indeed down to this change as Don returned to his old club WBA as manager.

Don did not have success at WBA and the club was relegated in 1973.   He moved on to Leeds and to Galatasary, before coming back to Arsenal in 1977 as coach with Terry Neil as manager.  In 1981 he added to this role his duties as a coach for England.

Terry Neil left Arsenal on 16 December 1983 following a run of five defeats in the last six games, with the club lying 12th in the first division, and Don Howe became caretaker-manager.  He became permanent manager after the game against Leicester on 28 April 1984 following a run of five wins and two draws in the last seven games.  Arsenal were 6th – the highest position they had held that season after the second match.

As he took over new players were emerging.  Jennings, Sansom, Talbot, O’Leary, Woodcock, Nicholas, Rix and Davis were established players, while Howe added Mariner, Lukic, Steve Williams, Rocastle, Keown, Quinn, Martin Hayes and a certain Tony Adams.

After four consecutive wins in a run of 8 wins, 2 draws and 1 defeat in 11 games Don Howe resigned on 22 March 1986, amidst rumours that he was going to be replaced.  Steven Burtenshaw took over with the club 5th in the league.  The momentum was immediately lost and with five defeats in the next seven games Arsenal slipped away from their challenging position.

Don Howe moved on to be assistant to Bobby Gould at Wimbledon at the moment when they won their one trophy, beating Liverpool in the FA Cup Final.    The two men reversed roles at QPR for a while during Don’s management there.  He then moved on to Coventry and took them into the Premier League – again for part of the time after that with Bobby Gould.  Don resigned in the summer of 1992 and became a TV and newspaper pundit before working as assistant manager for England 1994/96 taking England to the semi-final of the Euros.

Then from 1997 to 2003 he was youth team coach at Arsenal

Don passed away on 23 December 2015.

Arsenal anniversaries 27 June – 3 July

27 June 2005: Stuart Taylor sold to Aston Villa

28 June 1913: Woolwich Arsenal gain possession of the Gillespie Road site just 10 weeks before the first match of the season!

29 June 1971: Don Howe left Arsenal having helped guide the club to the Double as first team coach.

30 June: The Kentish Independent published a list of season ticket prices at Woolwich Arsenal – showing a price of £2 2s – about two thirds of the weekly wage of a skilled artisan and equivalent to about £250 today

1 July 2020: Arsenal’s thump Norwich: the video

2 July 1975: Charlie George sold to Derby

3 July 2000: Edu joins Arsenal