1 December 2007

Arsenal: a discussion of their records

Although Arsenal are currently top of the Premiership, and are nowadays counted as one of the Big 4 teams in English football, they are unusual among their peers in that there club records for most appearances and scorers have been set relatively recently.

Arsenal currently hold the record for the longest streak in the top level of the English game, having avoided relegation since the first world war. However their standing in the game has always been the subject of a certain level of derision stemming from their move from south-east to north London at the start of the century. Arsenal's subsequent rivalry with neighbours Tottenham Hotspur began after some shady dealings gave Arsenal a boost up the league table when football restarted in 1919, and by the 1930s they became known as the Bank of England club due to their high spending.

However despite Arsenal's intermittent success over the years they never produced a player who became synonymous with the club and a household name until the George Graham era. The player who has played the most times for Arsenal is David O'Leary, but O'Leary's career overlapped with another central defender who is now most readily associated with Arsenal, Tony Adams, who is second on the list behind O'Leary. Adams may have played fewer games than O'Leary with Arsenal but he was captain during their most successful period, and has the advantage of being a one-club man.

The only other player to have passed 500 league appearances for Arsenal is George "Geordie" Armstrong who was part of the double winning side of 1971.

Arsenal's goalscoring record has been broken twice in the last 10 years. Ian Wright was only an Arsenal player for 7 seasons or so, but in that time broke Cliff Bastin's record of 178 goals in all competitions. Bastin was a member of the successful Arsenal team of the thirties but his career was interrupted by the second world war.

Wright left Arsenal in 1998 and the next year Arsene Wenger signed Thierry Henry. Henry stayed a season longer than Wright at Arsenal, and during this time Arsenal won the Premiership twice and on February 1 2006 Henry broke Bastin's league scoring records. When Henry left Arsenal this summer he had scored 226 goals in total, 174 of those occurring in league football.

With Arsenal's young reinvented team of 2007 enjoying there start to the season it will still be many years before either Henry's or O'Leary's records will be approached let alone threatened.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
Sorry, I don't read your blog, I just needed a way to get in touch with you. I read your piece about Holden Caulfield and The Catcher in the Rye on everything2 and I'd like to use the last line as a quote in an English essay I'm writing.
May I have your first name please?
Here's my e-mail address: