By Tony Attwood
Stephen J Stonley [but see the note in the comments about his middle name] was a centre forward, born in Sunderland in 1891. He played for…
Seaham. I only have the information that Stonley played for “Seaham” but it appears there are several teams now with the Seaham name, however none date back to the early 20th century. Seaham is a small town in County Durham a few miles south of Sunderland.
Northampton Town at this time were playing in the Southern League and making regular forays into the early rounds of the FA Cup.
Newcastle City is another oddity for me. Newcastle United, when formed from the amalgamation of two other clubs, apparently considered Newcastle City as a name, but rejected it – although I am not sure why. Was there another such club around? Did another one form? A junior side called Newcastle City does now exist, but is of recent formation.
Whatever way we look at it, Stonley had no league experience before being signed by Woolwich Arsenal in 1913, starting with a 0-0 draw against Oldham on February 8th. He played for us during the rest of the 1912-13 season (remember no transfer windows in those days) starting 10 league games and getting 1 goal – a poor return for a classic number 9.
But in 1913-14 he scored 13 goals in 28 league games – a good return from a player who had never played in the league before.
And yet he then left and went to Brentford. They were already at Griffin Park and playing in the Southern League First Division, before going down in 1912 to the Second Division. Did Arsenal kick out one of the only two men who could score goals for the club? (The other was J Flannagan, an inside forward who got 12 goals in 24 games).
Or did Stonley fancy the easier life in the Southern League? Or maybe he just didn’t fancy north London. I have no more information.
Here’s the team, for the last, desperate and sad final game at Woolwich, with links thus far.
- Goal: O Wilson
- Right back: J Shaw
- Left Back: J Fidler
- Right Half: GM Grant
- Centre Half: PR Sands
- Left Half: A McKinnon
- Outside Right: C H Lewis
- Inside Right : W A Spittle
- Centre Forward: S J Stonley (this article)
- Inside Left: A Devine
- Outside Left: G Burrell
- Give the most unusual Arsenal Xmas present of all time. Making the Arsenal: available from Amazon.co.uk but for a signed copy dedicated to whoever you want just order from the publishers (follow the link) and add details of the dedication wanted to your order.
- Arsenal History: including newly discovered revelations about Herbert Chapman and a review of the very last game at Plumstead
- Untold Arsenal on Facebook here
- Untold Arsenal Index: silly stuff, serious stuff, and stuff
- Arsenal Worldwide: supporting Arsenal from outside the UK
- Arsenal Independent Supporters Association