Date: 14th July 2008 at 8:24am
Written by:

An admittedly minor, but historically interesting record, frequently misquoted by some, is the sequence of footballing achievement in historical decades. The reason for it`s incorrect portrayal is the failure to appreciate that the Gregorian calendar, that`s the one much of the world uses to celebrate anniversaries, holidays etc., doesn`t have a year zero. The first year of the Gregorian calendar is year one. Thus a historical decade starts with year 1 and ends in year 10. The first decade of the last century, the 20th in our calendar, is therefore 1901 to 1910 and the last 1991 to 2000. Correspondingly the first decade of this current century starts in 2001 and ends in 2010.

When we look at the decades of footballing achievement while playing in the top flight, and record these correctly, we find that Arsenal achieved it`s first significant honour in the final year of the 3rd decade of the last century by taking the FA Cup in 1930. That began an unbroken sequence of honours in every decade, narrowly sustaining the record in the 6th decade by virtue of winning the Fairs Cup, forerunner to the Uefa Cup, in 1970. Closest to this achievement is Manchester United who have taken a trophy in each of the last 7 successive decades starting with their 1948 FA cup win. Tottenham follow them with a sequence of 6 decades, a feat that could be matched by Aston Villa if they manage to pick up a trophy before the end of the 2009-2010 season.

Though it sets the record straight, set against our other far more significant achievements this is no more than a statistical quirk of course. A mere footnote in the annals of footballing history. It isn`t likely to have us dancing on the tables in celebration. But purely in the interests of historical accuracy, and perhaps also those of pub quiz aficionados and trivial pursuit devotees, it`s as well to get these things right. At the same time we wouldn`t want others to labour under the misapprehension that their record is better than ours would we.



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