1 – Its terrifying history
Before the continents broke apart, North London was home to the original Native Americans. Emirates Stadium is now built on top of an ancient Indian burial ground. One day, a club employee brought his daughter to the stadium and set her down to watch TV, only to be horrified when a portal opened up in a stationary closet and sucked her inside.
2 – How it was founded by a secret society
The Dial Square brigade, as they were known, founded the football club in 1886 not simply to play football, but to celebrate the 1886th victim of their Satanic cult. The leader, a sinister man named Dean Davids, was a suspect for the Jack the Ripper murders.
3 – It’s not the only Arsenal
Gunners fans may think their club is unique but there are other Arsenals. There’s Arsenal de Sarandí (Argentina), FC Arsenal Kyiv (Ukraine), Bonzer Arsenal (Australia), McArsenal Thistles (Scotland), L’Arsenal (French Guyana) and Bloody Arse Arsenal (London Hospital of Proctology).
4 – A pioneering kit
Pioneering manager Herbert Chapman not only designed the eye-catching Gunners home kit of red shirts with white sleeves but also teamed up with Italian company Indesit to invent a new type of mechanical washing machine which prevented the two colours running. The joint venture formed the bedrock of a commercial relationship which continues to this day.
5 – Arsenal’s travel ban
Former chairman Peter Hill-Wood banned Arsenal from ever touring the Philippines due to the country’s involvement in George Graham’s bung scandal of the early nineties. The Scot was dismissed for accepting Manila envelopes containing thousands of pounds from the agent of Norwegian star Pal Lydersen. Sir Chips has since Phillip-flopped on the decision.
6 – Wembley pants party
Pictures of Charlie George’s famous 1971 FA Cup final goal celebration were heavily censored by newspapers at the time because the player’s horizontal pose highlighted a thumping great erection inside his tight blue shorts. Under duress from manager Bertie Mee, the striker apologised for his behaviour by donating his win bonus to Pele’s erectile dysfunction charity.
7 – How they almost didn’t sign Thierry Henry
The Frenchman is the club’s all time leading scorer but despite having a hard time at Juventus, Arsene Wenger almost missed out on his signing. He’d been in discussions with other European clubs when the pair met by chance at a Huey Lewis and the News concert. Now that’s what we call the Power of Love!
8 – The underhand tactics
When Arsenal were more green that red in the 1970s due to the proliferation of players from the Emerald Isle, the likes of David O’Leary and Liam Brady would carry that traditional Irish trick before games: releasing a box of furious otters into the opposition dressing room. It worked well enough to get then to three FA Cup finals in a row, although lack of available otters in 1978 and 1980 led to Wembley disappointment.
9 – Why Le French revolution nearly never happened
When Bruce Rioch’s time at the club was coming to an end, Arsene Wenger was under contract at Nagoya Grampus 8 and the Japanese side were unhappy about him leaving. In order to facilitate the move, Arsenal officials promised to provide a kidney for one of Grampus’s directors but couldn’t find a match. In the end they had to dissect 15 orphans to find one that would work!
10 – The Bank of England connection
Arsenal were known as the Bank of England club because of their wealth but also their austere nature. The reality is that the club’s owner, Sir Henry Norris, ran a massive counterfeit operation from under the east stand at Highbury, churning out thousands of 5 shilling notes every day.
11 – Sock it to him
Cristiano Ronaldo came very close to signing for Arsenal but saw his move to Highbury break down over a disagreement with Thierry Henry about sock length. The Frenchman’s contract dictated that he alone should be allowed to sport socks like seductive over-the-knee stockings, a look which the Portuguese also coveted. Vic Akers delivered the deciding vote in a tense boardroom meeting, siding with the Gallic hitman. Ronaldo subsequently signed with United where he was allowed to wear a french knickers instead of shorts.
12 – Friar tucks in
Ken Friar drinks the blood of a sacrificed cockerel at the end of every league season as thanks for Tottenham’s league title trophy drought. Soon after the ritual, which he’s been undertaking since 1962 and also includes puncturing a basketball, the lifelong club servant heads to the Wetherspoons on Highbury corner where he drinks a tray of Aftershocks to rid himself of the taste.
13 – Terry’s big cock up
Manager Terry Neill, believing Clive Allen to be the son of hilarious comic Dave and therefore a fine addition to the Arsenal ranks, was so nauseated by the presence of the former QPR man that he immediately sold him to Crystal Palace, taking left back Kenny Sansom to Highbury in the process. Allen’s insistence on daily handshakes were, to Neill, the sign of a deeply insecure man, while club captain Pat Rice led a player revolt due to Allen’s intensely cloying musk.
14 – The Big Mac
Ex-Gunners striker Malcolm MacDonald successfully sued American fast-food outlet McDonald’s for a six-figure sum in 1979 when they introduced a ‘Super Mac’ to their menu. The sandwich, which included six patties, mild cheddar and a deep fried bun, was withdrawn from service after just one week when judges at the Old Bailey ruled the player’s nickname had indeed been the subject of copyright infringement.
15 – The move to North London
It’s a fact that still enrages fans of Tottenham Hotspurs, a small amateur outfit from Middlesex, but the Arsenal moved North of the river in order to get away from a group of young ladies who, much against the way of the world back then, had relentlessly stalked some of the players in an overtly sexual manner. Ace winger, Cliff Winstanley, was so aghast when flashed with provocative bloomers he had to be put in a mental institution and died a lunatic just three years later. The licentious ways south of the Thames were too much for the gentlemanly Gunners.