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Fred Dwight: an echo of a bygone age.

By Tony Attwood

Fred Dwight was signed 5 June 1903 and played his first and last game for Arsenal on 7 January 1905, away to Preston.  We lost 0-3.  It was one of three consecutive defeats  in which Arsenal scored no goals but let in nine.

Fred played left back and was brought into because Jackson, the regular left back had been injured on 26 December.  Cross, the right back had taken over for three games, but then he too dropped out of the reckoning with the results going against Arsenal.  Thus Dwight got his one chance before Jackson returned and results started to pick up a little.

At the time the league table looked like this…

P W D L F A Pts
1 Newcastle United 20 14 2 4 40 16 30
2 Sheffield United 22 14 2 6 44 33 30
3 Sunderland 22 12 4 6 41 29 28
4 Everton 21 12 3 6 40 23 27
5 Birmingham City 20 11 3 6 34 22 25
6 Aston Villa 22 11 3 8 39 28 25
7 Manchester City 20 10 4 6 39 23 24
8 Sheffield Wednesday 21 10 3 8 42 34 23
9 Preston North End 22 8 6 8 28 28 22
10 Arsenal 21 8 5 8 22 25 21
11 Derby County 23 8 5 10 27 36 21
12 Blackburn Rovers 21 8 3 10 32 30 19
13 Bury 21 7 3 11 36 41 17
14 Wolverhampton Wndrs 21 7 3 11 31 45 17
15 Nottingham Forest 23 6 3 14 29 45 15
16 Stoke City 20 6 1 13 19 43 13
17 Middlesbrough 20 3 6 11 18 37 12
18 Notts County 20 3 5 12 19 42 11

Fred Dwight was born in 1879 in Chesham, Buckinghamshire.  He played for Chesham Town from 1899 until 1901 when he moved to Fulham, and then after a further two years moved on to Woolwich Arsenal in 1903.  After Arsenal he moved on to his final club, Nelson.

It is interesting that Fred was one of nine players who made their Arsenal first team debut in 1905/6.  If we look at the number of games of each of these players we can see that clearly one of the ways in which players were considered was by actually giving them a game.

But also as we look at the turnover of players I think we are reminded of just how many injuries there were.  The game was a lot rougher of course, there were no subs so players tended to play on if injured, and obviously medical services were a lot more basic.

Here are the players who made their debut that season with the number of goals scored in each case…

  • James Sharpe: 103
  • James Blair: 13
  • Thomas Arnold: 2
  • Fred Kemp: 2
  • Bertie Freeman: 44
  • William Garbutt: 52
  • Hugh McDonald: 76
  • Edward Bateup: 34
  • Neville Grice: 1

Given that players did not wear numbered shirts in those days, supporters would really have to get to know their club’s men quite quickly.

 

 

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