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Guns And Woes Is

Posted: Mon 17 Apr 2017
Author: KD

AN offbeat look at the history of Middlesbrough and Arsenal with KEN DALY...

What It Means: Woolwich, where they came from, was Wool-wic, the port where wool was exported, in the Domesday Book as Hulviz, which sounds like the capital of a country ending in -stan. Highbury is from the old English for high manor; and Islington, whose town hall stages all their civic receptions (but only two in the last 13 years, as Wenger Out callers have been reminding us ad nauseam) was Gislandune, Gisla's hill.

Why It’s There: Woolwich was a village next to London’s only iron age fort; Highbury was a handful of stately homes and parkland until the moneyed and fresh-air seeking middle classes built Italianate villas in the 1870s

Why They're There: formed as Dial Square, a workshop at Woolwich Arsenal where the players worked, became Royal Arsenal, then Woolwich Arsenal. London's first professional club in 1891, joined the league in 1893.

First Footing: February 1900, Boro’s first season in the league.

Local Heroes: Arsene Wenger (despite current phone-ins), Herbert Chapman, Denis Bergkamp, Ted Drake, Cliff Bastin, Alex James, Tony Adams, and Thierry Henry, all time top-scorer with 175 goals, a landmark hugely hyped like Ian Wright's before him. They would have just squeezed into the all-time top five at Middlesbrough - and it would have been seven had Micky Fenton and Wilf Mannion not lost seven seasons to the war.   

Local Villains: Anything with a cockerel on it unless it’s French or gets crumbled up to go in a soup or stock.

High Point: the 1930's (five titles and two FA Cups); the last 20 years (well, 18 of them) - three titles, five FA Cups); doubles in 1971, 1998 and 2002, the Fairs Cup in 1970 and Cup-Winners Cup in 1994.

Low Point: relegation to Division Two for the only time in 1913.

Boro Highs: 5-0 (May 1980); 5-2 (September 1909), 5-3 (January 1907); and 4-1 (February 1977) in the FA Cup.

Boro Lows: 1-6 (April 2000) - the worst home defeat in 108 years; 2-5 (March and December 1931); 0-4 (August 2001 and August 2003).

Hello to: George Madden (February 1900), Michael Cochrane (March 1901); John Cooke, John Howarth and Joe Hisbent (February 1912); Jack Clough, Alex Cochrane and Joe Harris (March 1923); Tom Woodward (October 1949); Billy Askew (May 1980), Gareth Southgate, Johnathan Greening and Mark Wilson (August 2001).

Goodbye to: Bill Murray (March 1923), Joey Williams (April 1935) Mark Barham (May 1989), Vladimir Kinder (April 1999).

Boro Hero: Steve Bloomer (January 1907) four goals in 5-3; George Elliott (April 1922) hat-trick in 4-2; David Mills (February 1977) hat-trick in 4-1 FA Cup 5th round tie; Johnny Spuhler (December 1953) and David Armstrong (May 1980), the only players to even score twice against them in the league in 80 years.

Boro Villain: Jack Lambert (March 1931) hat-trick in 2-5; Joe Hulme (April 1933), hat trick in 3-4; Terry Cooper (December 1977) only goal of the game - in his own net.

Boro Cult Hero: Dave Cumming (December 1946), repeatedly battered by Leslie Compton, and snapped after a karate chop to the neck, so laid him out with a right hook, handed his goalkeeper’s jersey to Johnny Spuhler and calmly walked off. An embarrassed ref took no action and he was back in the team at Blackpool the following Saturday.

Boro Bogeyman: Thierry Henry, for whom a red carpet appeared to be laid out leading from the Riverside centre spot to the Boro goal; and Ray Parlour, the only man ever sent off at the Riverside for and against Boro, whose winner in January 1998 FA Cup tie was the 100th opposition goal at the Riverside. It was also his only goal there - he never scored one anywhere in three seasons at Boro.    

Boro Bad Boy: Alan Moore (January 1996), Mark Crossley (November 2000), Ugo Ehiogu (August 2001). 

Gone Gooners: Ray Parlour (August 2001), off for kicking Ugo Ehiogu; Martin Keown (February 2004), off on the stroke of half-time in Carling Cup semi; Phillipe Senderos (February 2007), bringing down Yakubu when clean through.  

Typical Boro: Glenn Helder (January 1996), only goal in 48 games for Arsenal after turning Boro down.

Lucky Arsenal: the only side ever to go up without being promoted, thanks to Sir Henry Norris, chairman of Fulham, MP, Freemason and Arsenal director, and the kind of man who today would have plastic pigs and writs thrown at him in equal measure. He moved Arsenal to Highbury to make money, and after his plan to merge with Fulham was rejected, he and a crony somehow got onto the league management committee, and when it expanded in 1919 invited Arsenal into Division One, despite being only fifth in Division Two. The team to miss out?  Spurs. Later banned for life by the FA. 

Football Pre-1992: they once sacked a defender for deliberately giving away a penalty, because "that's not the way we play at Arsenal." 

Thank You Boro: George Allison (two titles and one cup-winning manager in the 1930’s) was born just a long ball away from Rockliffe Park in Hurworth, schooled in Stockton, and among many other jobs Boro assistant secretary, and New York Post London correspondent. Started at Arsenal as programme editor. At the last check Gordon Cox was not being groomed to give up Red Square and take over from Steve Agnew.

Your Boys Took One Hell of a Beating: Mo Farah, Matt Lucas, Alan Davies, Dara O'Briain, Clive Anderson, Lewis Hamilton, Idris Elba; Jamie Bell, not quite the traitor he seems, as his mum in Billingham gave him an Arsenal away shirt because she liked the colour; Dido, who at least has been going since she was three; apart from the usual Hollywood photo-opportunists, Jay-Zee, who talked about moving to London with Beyonce and joining the club board; and Spike Lee, largely through a friendship with Thierry Henry. And of course Piers Morgan, still the smuggest man on Planet Smug but no longer the loudest on Planet Twitter, thanks to Donald Trump. Even if Trump achieves nothing else, that alone will earn his place in history.