England players targeted by racist abuse, Nazi salutes, at Euro qualifier in Bulgaria

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A UEFA European Championship qualifying soccer match between England and Bulgaria on Monday was marred by racist chant and Nazi salutes in the first half of the blowout.

The match was stopped in the 28th minute because of monkey chants that were aimed toward England’s black players, including defender Tyrone Mings and forward Raheem Sterling. The fans were warned by the stadium’s public announcer that the match would be called off if the chants continued. However, the match was again stopped in the 43rd minute.

Bulgaria fans in the crowd were also seen performing Nazi salutes and holding up shirts with the UEFA logo and words which read “No Respect" — a reference to the European governing body's "Respect" campaign aimed at curbing racism in the sport.

England manager Gareth Southgate, third left, speaks with Referee Ivan Bebek during the Euro 2020 group A qualifying soccer match between Bulgaria and England, at the Vasil Levski national stadium, in Sofia, Bulgaria, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

During the second stoppage in play, several Bulgaria fans involved in the chanting had left the stadium.

The FA issued a statement on the issue, saying the English players “were subjected to abhorrent racist chanting.”

“This is not the first time our players have been subjected to this level of abuse and there is no place for this kind of behavior in society, let alone in football,” The FA statement continued.

England fans celebrate during the Euro 2020 group A qualifying soccer match between Bulgaria and England, at the Vasil Levski national stadium, in Sofia, Bulgaria, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

FA Chairman Greg Clarke added: “I would like to see a very stringent review by UEFA because I know they take racism very seriously. We should join a movement to drive racism out of our game and have zero tolerance for it.”

Bulgaria’s Ivelin Popov appeared to have a heated argument with some of the home fans and asked them to stop the chants, as the rest of the players went to the locker room at half time.

England manager Gareth Southgate, right, speaks with Referee Ivan Bebek during the Euro 2020 group A qualifying soccer match between Bulgaria and England, at the Vasil Levski national stadium, in Sofia, Bulgaria, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

On Tuesday, Bulgaria Prime Minister Boyko Borrissov condemned the racist fans and called on soccer federation president Borislav Mihailov to resign.

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Borrissov said: “It is unacceptable that Bulgaria, one of the most tolerant countries in the world where people of different ethnicities live in peace, to be associated with racism and xenophobia.”

Bulgarian fans have been sanctioned in the past for other racist abuse in Euro 2020 qualifying. Monday’s match was played in a partially closed stadium.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Patrick Vieira as Arsenal manager? Invincible admits he would love to boss club one day and flattered by Arsene Wenger backing

Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira has spoken of his desire to one day take charge of his former club.

Vieira led Nice to a seventh-placed finish in Ligue 1 in his first season as a manager in European football and is currently in his second term with the French club.

The former Gunners midfielder won three Premier League titles and two FA Cups during his nine years in north London, captaining the 'Invincibles' side of 2003/2004, before leaving for Juventus in 2005.

Vieira, who also spent two years in charge of MLS outfit New York City, was linked with succeeding Arsene Wenger last summer before Unai Emery was appointed.

"Yes, like any player, when we do this job we want to touch the very highest level," Vieira told RMC, when asked about potentially managing Arsenal.

"But the very high level I can touch with Nice from the moment we give ourselves the means to succeed and from the moment the way which we work is quite consistent.

"But we do this job, and I do this job, to one day to be the coach of a team that participates in the Champions League."

Vieira was praised by his former boss Wenger, who hailed him for constructing his career ‘intelligently and patiently’, and the World Cup winner admits he was 'flattered'.

“I’m really privileged to have worked under Arsene and him saying that is really flattering," he said.

“If I manage Arsenal one day I will take him for dinner and I will pay the bill!

“He didn’t say it to put pressure (on me). It’s just flattering that the guy who spent over 20 years there thinks I have the quality to manage a big club like Arsenal one day.”

LIVE on talkSPORT

Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

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  • Crystal Palace vs Man City (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Wigan vs Nottingham Forest (Sunday, 2pm) – talkSPORT 2

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Bulgaria boss Krasimir Balakov claims he didn’t hear racist abuse against England stars Raheem Sterling and Tyrone Mings – The Sun

BULGARIA coach Krasimir Balakov has sensationally claimed he didn't hear any racist abuse in Sofia – and that the noise was "unhappy" fans.

Raheem Sterling and Tyrone Mings were subjected to disgusting racism in a 6-0 win on Monday night, where fans directed monkey chants and Nazi salutes in their direction.

The game was stopped TWICE in the first half as England players and manager Gareth Southgate informed the referee and then the Uefa delegate.

An announcement went around the stadium, a large group of fans were ordered to leave and Bulgarian captain Ivelin Popov pleaded with supporters to stop the chants.

Balakov could be seen talking with England players during the stoppage, presumably about the racist chanting.

But after the game, Balakov still insisted he was not aware of any chanting.

He said: "It is probably because the fans were unhappy with the way the team was performing.

"I personally did not hear the chanting."

Balakov then went on to criticise England fans.

"I saw that the referee stopped the game but I also have to say that the unacceptable behaviour was not only on the part of the Bulgaria but also the England fans who were whistling and shouting during the national anthem," he added.

"In the second half they were using words against our fans that I find unacceptable.

"To be honest this has not happened to us before (the measures taken by Uefa were not from racist chanting but because of a banner) we've had this problem ever since England were coming to Bulgaria.

It is probably because the fans were unhappy with the way the team was performing. I personally did not hear the chanting.



"For three weeks all we've heard people talking about is anything else but football and I don't think this is the proper manner in which to prepare for and play a football game.

"If this turns out to be true we are truly sorry and we as the Bulgarian national team and Bulgarian Football Union are working very hard and nobody wants to see this, but let me tell you that this has never happened in our games until now and it happens now in the England game.

"If something happens to be proven we are sorry but we cannot speak on behalf of some fans."

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Impact of Jets’ players-only meeting is still being felt

Exactly a week ago, the Monday after the Jets had been publicly flogged by the Eagles in Philadelphia to fall to 0-4, their season was in peril.

Sensing the urgency of a season slipping away, a players-only meeting was called by a couple of the Jets’ veteran leaders and the team convened at the team facility.

A number of veteran players stood before their teammates and delivered messages, and the theme was essentially the same: Don’t fracture, stay together.

Jets coach Adam Gase said he was “good with’’ the players-only meeting “just because of who it is.’’

“When Steve McLendon and Jamal [Adams] and the guys that we have say that they want to have that, that’s hard to argue with,’’ Gase said. “Those guys do it right. Those are good dudes that want to find a way to win.’’

So they did. The Jets found a way to win Sunday, upsetting the heavily favored Cowboys 24-22 at MetLife Stadium in a game in which they dictated, they were the aggressors and they had their collective thumb in the back of the Cowboys’ necks.

How much that meeting had to do with what occurred against the Cowboys isn’t possible to measure. At least, not until their next game, a rematch at home Monday night with the Patriots, who dominated them two games ago in Foxborough.

The Jets were still without franchise quarterback Sam Darnold for that game at New England.

Darnold returned Sunday and proved himself to be as much of a difference-maker as there is in the league — at least for one Sunday.

The players’ meeting?

“Guys felt the message, guys felt that meeting,’’ McLendon, the defensive lineman, told The Post. “As you can tell, we came out [Sunday] and did our thing.’’

One of the voices that resonated most was that of veteran center Ryan Kalil, who was signed out of retirement during training camp and has struggled to return to the form that made him one of the best in the league.

“One of the advantages you have playing a long time is you get to see all the different kinds of seasons and all different kinds of games, so you have experience to draw from,’’ Kalil told The Post. “My message was that I’ve probably been in every kind of situation you can think of, and the thing that I’ve learned over 13 years is not to ride the roller coaster.

“It’s not where you start in this league — in any aspect,’’ he continued. “It’s not where you start when you get drafted. It’s not where you start with your record. Everything is about how you finish. There’s still a lot of football left in the season. It’s nice to get that first win, but there’s still a lot more work to clean up offensively.’’

The last sentence was a kicker message that backed up his big-picture theme: Don’t get full of yourselves after one win. The team is still 1-4 and in a massive hole and the defending Super Bowl champions are next on the schedule.

Jets left tackle Kelvin Beachum, who’s in his eighth NFL season, took the things Kalil said to heart, and he, too, had some words for his teammates.

“He talked about staying steady,’’ Beachum told The Post. “Being in this market is going to be over-sensationalized and overly dramatic. His big thing was to stay steady, be a pro, be the same guy every single day.’’

Beachum’s message to his teammates?

“That I’ve been in this position before, and that we’ll find a way to fight ourselves out of this situation,’’ he said. “A lot of guys talked and the message was the same. We’ve got to stay together, and stay the course.’’

Make no mistake: That Monday meeting was not a bitch session, during which players complained about their roles, the coaches or pointed fingers.

It was, in fact, the opposite of that. By all accounts, this is a very close-knit team. Some players, including Darnold, are on record saying this is the closest team on which they’ve ever played.

“We have guys that love each other and care for each other and find a way to support each other; we’re like a family supporting each other through thick and thin,’’ Beachum said.

“It meant a lot to show how much these guys care about the game,’’ McLendon said. “I told the guys, ‘Stay singularly focused on the task and things will change.’ You just know the table is going to turn. It’s like the storm may come for a while, but at some point it has to clear up.’’

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Athletics: Reactions to Kenyan athlete Eliud Kipchoge's sub two-hour marathon

VIENNA (REUTERS) – Kenyan athlete Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to run a marathon in under two hours in Vienna on Saturday (Oct 12).

Here are some reactions to the feat:

OLYMPIC CHAMPION AND WORLD RECORD HOLDER KIPCHOGE

“Today we went to the Moon and came back to Earth! I am at a loss for words for all the support I have received from all over the world,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Thank you to all who gave me the opportunity. Asante.”

PATRICK SANG, KIPCHOGE’S COACH

“He has inspired all of us that we can stretch our limits in our lives. You have made history.

“Everything went perfectly right. For the sport, it challenges other young athletes. For humanity, whatever level you are in you can move yourself to another level.”

TEAM INEOS PRINCIPAL DAVE BRAILSFORD

“Eliud is a once-in-a-generation athlete and if anybody deserves to break the two-hour barrier it is him. It was an incredible performance and a privilege to be here.

“It was a great lesson in a very evenly-paced run. He was very calm and conservative and the pacemakers took Eliud to the last kilometre for him to bring it home.”

TEAM INEOS OWNER JIM RATCLIFFE

“That last kilometre where he actually accelerated and came through on his own was just superhuman. I can’t believe he did it.”

KENYA’S FIVE-TIME OLYMPIAN BERNARD LAGAT

“Eliud told the world that if you set your mind to something nothing is impossible.”

AMERICAN SHALANE FLANAGAN, 2017 NEW YORK CITY MARATHON CHAMPION

“Eliud Kipchoge raced against the clock and raced towards history today. He did it! I never thought I would see this in my lifetime.”

RAILA ODINGA, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF KENYA

“This is the stuff of history @EliudKipchoge. You captured the imagination of the whole world before this great feat and it will continue for a long time.”

AUSTRALIAN ROBERT DE CASTELLA, FORMER WORLD CHAMPION MARATHONER

“Just astounded! A moment in history! What a run! What a man! His message after is gold. ‘Running is hard but it is beautiful, I want everyone to run… together we can make the world a beautiful place.’ Amazing.”

BRITAIN’S FIVE-TIMES OLYMPIAN JO PAVEY

“Wow!! 1:59:40!! @EliudKipchoge has made history and pushed the limits of human endeavour. So awesome to watch. His running and words inspire so many people to believe they can achieve their own personal goals.”

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Pochettino won’t quit to replace Solskjaer at Man Utd as Spurs have a ‘better squad’, insists ex-England boss Allardyce – The Sun

MAURICIO POCHETTINO would snub bossing Manchester United as his Tottenham squad is stronger.

That's according to ex-England manager Sam Allardyce, whose verdict is another sign of United's declining status as pressure mounts on their manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.


United's displays this season have been as poor as their results, notably a 0-0 draw at AZ Alkmaar and a 1-0 Premier League loss at Newcastle. in their last two games.

And Pochettino has long been linked with the United job, even before Solskjaer's superb start as caretaker chief last December was replaced by a slump since April.

But former Everton, West Ham and Newcastle boss Allardyce believes Pochettino would be deterred by the huge rebuilding job needed at Old Trafford.

The Metro report Big Sam as saying: "I can’t see Mauricio going anywhere at the moment.

"Tottenham are a better squad than Manchester United – and that is a telling fact.

"It’s alright saying, 'this is Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in the world'. But has it got the team to go with it to represent Manchester United?"

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Bulgaria vs England FREE: Live stream, TV channel, kick off time, team news for Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia – The Sun

ENGLAND travel Bulgaria, knowing victory would secure their place in Euro 2020 next summer.

Yet, Gareth Southgate would have liked that formality to already be done with, after they lost to Czech Republic on Friday – their first qualifier defeat in ten years.

Yet, the Three Lions beat Bulgaria 4-0 at Wembley just last month – and will be huge favourites to return to winning ways.

What time does Bulgaria vs England kick off?

This Euro 2020 qualifier will take place on Monday, October 14.

It will kick off at 7.45pm UK time – that is 9.45pm in Bulgaria.

The match will be held at Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia.

What TV channel is it on and can I live stream it for FREE?

Bulgaria vs England will be shown live on ITV, with coverage underway from 7pm.

This is a free-to-air channel, available with a valid TV licence – which currently costs £154.50 a year.

You can also live stream it on the ITV Hub or on TV Player via your computer, tablet and mobile devices.

What is the team news?

BULGARIA SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Nikolay Mihaylov, Plamen Iliev, Hristo Ivanov

Defenders: Petar Zanev, Anton Nedyalkov, Georgi Terziev, Kristian Dimitrov, Ivan Goranov, Georgi Pashov, Kamen Hadzhiev, Deyan Lozev

Midfielders: Georgi Kostandinov, Georgi Srmov, Bozhidar Kraev, Marcelinho, Galin Ivanov, Kristiyan Malinov, Wanderson, Vasil Panayotov

Forwards: Ivelin Popov, Kiril Despodov, Ismail Isa, Bircent Karagaren

ENGLAND SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope, Dean Henderson

Defenders: Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose, Michael Keane, Harry Maguire, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Joe Gomez, Tyrone Mings, Fikayo Tomori

Midfielders: Declan Rice, Ross Barkley, Jordan Henderson, Harry Winks, Mason Mount

Forwards: Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, Tammy Abraham, Callum Wilson

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Real or Imagined, Baseball Spying Causes Angst in the Playoffs

HOUSTON — Carlos Beltran has not played in a Major League Baseball game for two years, since he helped the Houston Astros win the 2017 World Series. Now he works for the Yankees, and in an odd twist, the Astros could be preparing for him just as they prepare for Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres, two of the Yankees’ best uniformed personnel.

Beltran works as a special adviser to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, and the Astros know firsthand that he has a special skill. As a player, Beltran developed a reputation as one of the best sign stealers in baseball, a practice that is permissible as long as no outside help, particularly technology, is used.

Beltran, as far as anyone can tell, used only his wits.

“Oh, he’s the best at it,” Astros Manager A.J. Hinch said on Friday.

“We are very aware. I mean, Encarnacion is really good at it,” Hinch continued, referring to Edwin Encarnacion, the Yankees’ designated hitter. “The teams that are elite at it are as dangerous as ever. You’ve got to be aware, you are always aware.”

Stealing signs — or the potential threat of it — could become a game within the game during the American League Championship Series between the Yankees and the Astros, which begins Saturday night at Minute Maid Park. The Astros must at least prepare for the possibility that Beltran will be debriefed about any inside knowledge he has about his former club, and they will guard against him, Encarnacion or anyone else looking to break their secret codes.

But it goes both ways. The Yankees will surely employ counterespionage measures of their own, in part because the Astros were under suspicion of illicit sign stealing during last year’s A.L.C.S., although Major League Baseball cleared them of any wrongdoing.

Call it paranoia, but being paranoid does not mean the other team isn’t trying to swipe your signs.

Sign stealing has existed in baseball for as long as there have been spikes and gloves. Often, it is legal, such as when players on the bases or in the dugout use their own mental dexterity to decipher the other team’s signs. Roberto Alomar, the Hall of Fame second baseman, was one of the best ever at stealing signs, whether from catchers, third base coaches or managers, but many others perfected the craft, too.

Likewise, there is a rogue history of using forbidden tools to enhance sign-stealing capabilities. The 1951 New York Giants used a telescope and a buzzer to steal signs from the scoreboard in center field at the Polo Grounds, and the 2017 Boston Red Sox were caught using Apple Watches to transmit information.

During the 2015 A.L.C.S., the Kansas City Royals suggested that the Blue Jays were using people in the stands to relay signs in Toronto. Russell Martin, then with the Jays, denied it, but said the Yankees had done that when he played for them.

The possibility that the Astros use center-field cameras at their park to steal signs — for which there is no evidence — was brought up during Game 5 of the American League division series. Seth McClung, a former pitcher with the Tampa Bay Rays and Milwaukee Brewers, noticed on television that Rays catcher Travis d’Arnaud was running through extra sets of signs. McClung never accused Houston of doing anything wrong, but he wrote on his Twitter account that the extra signs meant that the Rays were suspicious.

Were the Rays concerned? D’Arnaud had no evidence that there was illegal sign-stealing going on, but like a nervous A.T.M. user shielding keystrokes even when no one is around, he took no chances. As McClung pointed out, the Rays were using three sets of signs, even when Houston didn’t have runners on base peering into the catcher’s signs — the most common method of swiping signs.

“Yeah, we were just making sure that nothing was happening,” d’Arnaud said after the Astros beat the Rays, 6-1, to clinch that series. “I was giving three signs with nobody on. We just wanted to make sure that nothing was going on.”

As it turned out, Tyler Glasnow, the Rays starter, was tipping his pitches — inadvertently doing something in his windup to signal to the hitters what kind of pitch was coming. That is not uncommon in baseball, but it is self-inflicted, and a totally separate issue from sign stealing.

The Astros scored four times in the first inning, and after he came out of the game, Glasnow looked at video and said it confirmed his fear that he had been tipping.

Glasnow’s admission undercut the theory that the Astros had benefited from illicit intelligence gathering, but that certainly did not stop the Rays from continuing their countermeasures. After all, the game’s history breeds suspicion.

“I’m not sure,” Rays left fielder Austin Meadows said when asked after Game 5 about sign-stealing concerns. “I really have no comment on that. I don’t know if there’s cameras or not, but obviously they did a good job putting four on the board early in the game, and that kind of shifted momentum to their side.”

Hinch dismissed the idea that the Astros had used any technology to enhance their code-breaking capabilities. But like the Rays, he said, his team must guard against the possibility that others are spying. To do otherwise would be a dereliction of duty.

“Everybody is worried about pitch tipping and everybody’s worried about stealing signs across the league,” Hinch said. “Everybody’s doing it, not just to us, but to everybody. I’ve watched so many games this year where everybody is paranoid that they’re giving something away. We were running through multiple signs with nobody on base because that’s the era that we’re playing in. You’ve got to guard against every advantage that you think somebody can get.”

Billy Witz contributed reporting.

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Jorginho’s agent says Chelsea star will ‘always feel desire’ to return to Italy despite winning over Blues fans – The Sun

CHELSEA fans have finally learned to love Jorginho – but the star's agent has suggested he will look for a move back to Italy one day.

Joao Santos believes the midfielder will "always desire" a transfer home having left for Stamford Bridge over a year ago.

Born in Brazil, Jorginho moved to Italy as a teenager and worked his way up to Serie A with Hellas Verona and Napoli before a £57million switch to West London.

Santos told Radio Sportiva: "As for a return to Serie A, anything is possible.

"He will always feel the desire to come back home."

Plenty of Blues fans may suddenly feel disappointed at seeing a bi-money signing contemplating a move away.

Last season Jorginho was the embodiment of Maurizio Sarri's doomed "Sarri-ball" setup that saw N'Golo Kante moved slightly out of position to accommodate him.

Under Frank Lampard, things have changed with Jorginho starting every Premier League game.

He topped off his strong start to the season with Italy's first goal in Saturday's 2-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Greece.

And the Azzurri squad were rewarded with a trip to see Pope Francis at the Vatican before facing Liechtenstein.

Santos added that playing in the Premier League has helped Jorginho find form under Italy coach Roberto Mancini.

He noted: "Naturally, it was not positive when Giampiero Ventura was the Italy coach, but he has slowly become first-choice in midfield.

"It certainly helps that he plays for Chelsea, because it’s a very intense style of football in England and he learned a lot from both Maurizio Sarri and Frank Lampard."

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Arsenal are the only team to have had tea with the Queen and five other amazing facts you never knew about the Gunners – The Sun

WE ALL know Arsenal Football Club are one of the biggest in England, with 13 league titles, a record 13 FA Cups and some of the greatest players (and managers) to grace the Premier League.

They have had Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright, Arsene Wenger and, of course, The Invincibles.

Many will know the club started off south of the River Thames and it was not until 1914 that they changed their name from Woolwich Arsenal.

But what about the lesser-known facts about the Gunners – and why is that their nickname?

1) TEA WITH THE QUEEN

Arsenal are the only team to have afternoon tea with Queen Elizabeth II.

In 2006, the Queen was supposed to open the Emirates Stadium but pulled out with a back injury (sounds familiar, doesn't it Mesut?), meaning the Duke of Edinburgh stepped in as a late replacement.


To apologise and return the favour, Her Majesty invited the chairman, manager Wenger and players around to Buckingham Palace in February 2007 for some tea and biscuits – not too many of course.

A fresh-faced Cesc Fabregas – then only 19 – told Spanish radio afterwards: "It seems the Queen follows football and she told us she was an Arsenal fan.

"She appeared to definitely know who I was and we exchanged a few special words."

2) SOLO STATION

Arsenal may not have been able to boast about silverware in recent years.

But they can lay claim to The Big One.

That's right, the Gunners are the only football club to have a London Underground station named directly after them.

Arsenal station is on the Piccadilly Line, between Manor House and Holloway Road.

3) MILAN MAGIC

November 25, 2003 – Inter Milan 1-5 Arsenal. March 4, 2008 – AC Milan 0-2 Arsenal.

Henry bagged twice in 2003 and then Fabregas and Emmanuel Abebayor struck late in 2008 to ensure Arsenal became the first British team to beat both Milan clubs at the San Siro.

The Gunners went and got another one over the Rossoneri last year in their run to the Europa League semi-finals.

No one has matched the feat since.

4) DYED-IN-THE-WOOLWICH

The original meaning for arsenal is defined as "a collection of weapons and military equipment" and that explains the name of the club.

In October 1886, David Danskin and 15 other munitions workers set up the club and named it after the Royal Arsenal complex in Woolwich, South-East London.


Danskin and his pals were cannon makers and that also helps to explain the club's Gunners nickname and badge.

5) BROADCAST FAVOURITES

Despite what many may say, the broadcast world clearly has a soft spot for Arsenal.

Their home game against Sheffield United on January 22, 1927 was the first-ever English league match to be broadcast on the radio.

Ten years later, a clash between Arsenal’s first team and their reserves was the first football match to be televised live, on September 16, 1937.

And then on January 31, 2010, they faced Manchester United in the first match broadcast on television in 3D.

6) SIX OF ONE, HALF A DOZEN OF THE OTHER

The Gunners were involved in the highest-scoring draw under the stewardship of legendary manager Herbert Chapman.

A grand total of 27,241 piled into Filbert Street – the old home of Leicester City – to witness a thrilling 6-6 draw on April 21, 1930.

Three players, including Arsenal's Cliff Bastin, grabbed a double but the day belonged to Dave Halliday who banged four past poor Joe Wright in the Foxes goal.

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