REVIEW: The Official Illustrated History Of Arsenal 1886-2009

The Official Illustrated History Of Arsenal 1886-2009
by Phil Soar and Martin Tyler
Published by Hamlyn


This book continues to go from strength to strength. Twenty three seasons on from the original version, updated to include last season – 2009/09, it remains the authoritative encyclopedia of Arsenal Football Club, almost a family member such is its familiarity.

Whilst the tinkering is now around the edges, Soar and Tyler capture each new year of Arsenal’s existence with a dispassionate eye, bringing a good balance and helping maintain the authoritative air about this book. Others have brought forward more in-depth histories of the club, officially and unofficially but few can match the breadth of topics captured. The authors continue to make salient points, an impressive feat especially as there is no evidence that either has a fan’s bias to the events covered.

This is an essential book for all supporters, mixing the facts of line-ups and results in all competitions with their own interpretation of the history surrounding them. The only absence from this is pre-season friendlies, perhaps an addition for future volumes.

The format remains split in timelines, specified periods documented and then supplemented by the statistics. Perhaps this is an area to look at refreshing in the future.

Click here to buy The Official Illustrated History of Arsenal 1886-2009.

Posted on December 1, 2009, in Arsenal, Book Review and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. This is completely irrelevant as far as the post is concerned: Can I just say this to anyone slating EDS; Before you do so, take a sec and think about it. The only reason you are doing so is out of frustration and your need to see us score goals. It is a miracle that this guy is even playing at the moment. Just imagine your leg cut into two pieces. Think about that, how much would that affect you? This guy deserves all the patience that we can afford him…..give him at least 6 game on the trot before you dish out some, will you? [6 is just an arbitrary # that I picked]

  2. I finally bought myself to watch the highlights of the Chelsea game.

    The defending for the first two goals was stunningly poor. Just beyond belief.

    For the first they passed from right to left with no attempt at a challenge. Terry was in acres of space in our half. When he passed to Cole pause the video. We are playing with a back 2, neither full back was in position. Arshavin let Cole run. Sagna failed to challenge the cross in any meaningful manner. Drogba and Anelka were 2on 2 with our CB’s who still couldn’t get tight to either.

    The second goal was just as bad. We had 5 players, 5 fucking players, in the corner with Anelka and Cole, yet no one was marking cole. Beyond belief. When the cross comes in there are 3 attackers and 3 defenders in the box. Essentially, half our outfield players were taken out of the game by a 5 yard one-two off a throw in.

    Our problems are nothing to do with size, talent, personnel, transfer strategy, or injuries.

    Until we can play intelligent football we will struggle against the best sides.

    Going gung-ho attack in the vain dream of eventually being all time greats will screw us. It is either arrogance or stupidity form someone.

    This is not an age matter. Arshavin is 29 and couldn’t track his full-back, just cheap and lazy play. Neither Gallas or Almunia could organise the team and they are pushing 30. The whole team is experienced in terms of games at the top level. They are nearly all internationals. This isn’t kids.

    They happily sat back knowing we would let our guard down and hit us with easy sucker punches, but so fucking easy we made it.

    I love Wenger, I am sure we turn this around, but he must take some blame for this and the burden is on him to correct a fault that is threatening to undermine us.

    We have the players, we play the football, but right now it seems we don’t want it enough to be champions.

    That said, I have never seen Sagna so poor, so maybe this was just wrong game at the wrong time.

  3. One can analyse the weekends game in one of 2 ways. Crucify the team or credit Chelsea for their victory on the day. We simply lost out on the mental and tactical battles on the day. We were never outmuscled, outplayed or overawed.

    What has been most dissapointing is the gushing journo sensationalisation of this victory…Terry commanding the troops with ‘Beckenbaueresque style’ and swatting opposition tackles like flies whilst spraying the midfield with passes…Arsenals title challenge thwarted… against boys.Really!!! Is this not the same Chelsea that was beaten 2-0 by Wigan and Aston Villa…the same Wigan that was beaten 9-1 by Tottenham who we beat 3-O. My point…this league will produce crazy results. We are destined to meet Chelsea again more than once as we cross swords in our challenges in all cup competitions. All we can do is learn from the defeat and be better prepared for the next clash.

    If we are beaten comprehensively again in the next games with Chelsea and this result leads to us losing the title when the season ends then the criticisms are fair. Otherwise the over the top criticisms are premature..Onwards and upwards.

  4. G4L- Agree all this hype about Chelsea is way over the top they are celebrating the title already the pundits have handed it to them already but. Anyone looking at the scoreline without seeing the game would thing we were outplayed but that is not true we passed the ball really well had lots of possession, yes I admit we were ineffective upfront, all I remember is that we were under no pressure from them at all and I was thinking it will be 0-0 at half time and then in a matter of 4 minutes it was all over. on the day we made 2 mistakes got punished and everything went Chelsea’s way. Second half we came out fighting we played even better and we gave them a freight but on a day like this were Chelsea had 10 men behind the ball not only we needed RVP we needed an in form RVP and some luck to score. Then the free kick really killed us. Sometimes its a bit naive to play the same flowing attacking football against everybody. I’ve seen M.utd playing defensive football against us at old Trafford early this season people think they are scared of us but no its just tactics we are an attacking team we play the same way every single time home and away, sometimes we can’t do that. Priority is to stop shipping goals and the rest will follow.
    Terry can’t stop talking and Cashley happy to put the boot in but we still have a say in this title race. Its not over.

  5. ANOTHER HONEST GOONER:Arshavin feels the current squad at the Emirates does not measure up to the one at Carlo Ancelotti’s disposal across the capital.

    He said: “What I feel bitter about is that we lose in all the big matches.

    “That is disappointing and lets doubts creep into my mind.

    “Chelsea are now 11 points ahead of us, although we played one game less. At the moment, they look the strongest team.

    “They have attacking players who can make use of opponents’ slightest defensive mistakes.

    “Didier Drogba, for example. If we only take pure strikers, he is the strongest in the world. He and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.”

    He added: “Arsene Wenger needs to buy new players – and expensive ones too.

    “Why? Because all the talented and inexpensive players are already with us at Arsenal.”

    The last line got me laughing….l doubt Arshavin will remain in Arsenal if they continue their barren years without a trophy

    Read more:

  6. I agree that the sensationalized media crap is like vomit after a friday night Halloween booze party. Take the Times for instance. Last season when we had probables, you could, on a daily basis, find a handful of articles offering all kinds of insights as to how we came to be so and so. At the time the only jorno who offered anything objective was Patrick Barclay.

    From the beginning of this season up until Sunderland, all you could find there was a match preview and a half written post match report. Now, you can almost drown in the sea of articles about Arsenal, Wenger’s blind spots and Chelsea’s 300 battle-like warrior hood.

    Also, in my opinion, this weekend, besides last season Spurs at home was one time that this team deserved all the bashing they received.

    Also, just to get an idea of much we want a trophy, go back to West Harm away. Sadly one of the few that really wants it is injured [RVP]

    All the best to the kids tomorrow, I dont think i can fault them for effort even if they fail to beat City.

  7. Oh Arshavin should sometimes just shut up. It’s not like he did his best and we are still losing. If he would focus on ARSENAL instead of on his post-Russia-woes it would certainly help the team much more than if Arsene dishes out 30 mil in the winter transfers.

  8. My theory on DAVE:

    You are in fact an Arsenal fan and not Chelsea’s as you purport to be. I think you are one very frustrated gunner who doesnt know what to do with your life. In a bid to find meaning in life, you decide to turn against the source of your frustrations and in the process assuming a perceived superior position. Otherwise why would you spend so much time on this Arsenal blog, and in the process spend so much time reading about what Arsenal players and fans think.

    or maybe you are just looking for someone to welcome you into the Arsenal fold

  9. I agree our defending and defensive positioning was poor on Sunday. That said, we are still the best, but not at our best at the moment. Still the international hangover hangs over us. Watch and see the season to unfold. An adventure awaits. I am happy we remain underdogs. I thought Drogba was good, and on the whole Chelsea played tactically exceptionally well (that is to their strengths). As AW said chelsea will drop points. Think of it this way. If we have a 5 game winning run, not unlikely, and Chelsea win 3 and draw 2, pretty normal results, we are just 4 points adrift (assuming we win our game in hand). Take heart Arsenalistas. ManU were 11 points behind Chelsea at the same point last season.

  10. Or take it from me, the heart and soul of the sad season in england (winter) will belong to Song and Denilson. Diaby will make his mark. Bendtner will be back and amongst the goals. Dudu will find the net and go on a run. It’s football, man.

  11. “ManU were 11 points behind Chelsea at the same point last season.”

    That made my day.

  12. Good luck to the ‘lighties’ tonight! With you all the way. Go Arsenal.

  13. i think edurado rosicky and nasri all should play in some capacity to get their sharpness back . At least they had it in the first place.

  14. You will find when we don’t defend high up, and all over the pitch (eg Arshavin), the 4-3-3 system has a weak link because there are in fact gaps. When we do, we are unbeatable. It takes enormous energy, fitness and mental strength to play this way. This is what AW will be working on again and again. Defence is a team thing.

  15. It takes a moron to read the Sun. It takes special kind of moron to post comments from the Sun. The above post @4.13 demonstrates why so-called football supporters have no credibility at all with clubs, authorities or other citizens of the world, and their views are never taken into consideration.

  16. OK, gotta go. Greetings to all ACLFers. Be honest and gentle and unwavering supporters with our team please. They deserve our support. Who can compare with what we have, how we play? Forget about pundits; paid to talk (like politicians) they need to repeat their half-baked ‘hard-man, man’s game’ ‘this is how the English play’ nonsense.

  17. Zim Paul

    Fuck how me play.I want trophies in the cabinet.The long it goes on with us winning anything we wouldnt be able to hold on to our best players

  18. Rubbish. You just made that up. It is our best players who are responsible for winning trophies.

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