Arsenal entered 1920 in a healthier position than had seemed likely earlier in the season
|1||West Bromwich Albion||21||16||0||5||61||25||2.440||32|
There was also an interesting debate growing between the London FA and Arsenal over the London Professional Charity Fund matches that the club was involved in. Arsenal wanted the money to be spent in the capital whereas the London FA stated that they would decide where, when and how any money collected would be distributed. The argument rumbled all through the winter and spring and eventually Arsenal announced in May 1920 that they would no longer be involved in the fund raising initiative.
The first match of the new year was on 3 January a 2-2 draw with Manchester City. It meant Arsenal had suffered just two defeats in the last 12 games. However Manchester City were 10th in the table before the game and had a poor away form, having won just two games so far, so more might have been expected. White and Lewis got the goals, with a pleasing 32,000 in the crowd.
The following weekend was the first round of the FA Cup at which point the teams from the Football League joined in. And for the second season running the match was played at Highbury even though it was drawn as an away game.
This time the opposition was Rochdale. They were formed in 1907 and had applied to join the League the previous summer but without success. However they would join the Third Division (North) in 18 months time, and at the time of playing Arsenal were preparing to move into their new stadium, the following summer. Arsenal won 4-2 with Rutherford, Groves, Graham and Pagnam scoring the goals
Next up on 17 January Arsenal played Manchester City again – this time away, and this time things went very wrong Arsenal losing 1-4. Man City had suddenly found their form, winning three and losing one of their last four games, and they were the highest scores in the League at home having knocked in 38 in 13 games.
A major part of the reason came from the need to rearrange the team because of injuries. For the second time in the season Williamson was absent as goalkeeper, his place being taken once more by Dunn while Rutherford, Baker and Buckley all dropped out. Arsenal’s goal was a penalty from Graham.
After the game it was arranged that Leslie Knighton who had joined Arsenal from Manchester City, and William Hall would attend a post-match dinner in recognition of Knighton’s years as assistant manager at City.
The following day the newspapers announced the start of liquidation of Leeds City FC in the high court. By putting the company that owned the club into voluntary liquidation the owners were able to wash their hands of the club that had been ejected from the League, make a bid to buy the ground from the liquidators for a knock down sum (on the basis that hardly anyone else was likely to want it) and bid to open a new club the following season – which is exactly what they did.
My guess is that the League had already given the nod to Leeds’ directors that they would welcome a new club in Leeds into the league for 1920/12, particularly as further expansion of the League was anticipated in the coming couple of years.
The following week there was a further defeat – this time 0-1 at home to Aston Villa. But there was a compensation 55,000 turned up for the game, exceeding the previous record set against Chelsea the previous month. In terms of pulling in the crowds, Arsenal in the first division was looking a significant success.
Part of the attraction of Villa at this match was that they had only lost one of the last 11 games. But also, Villa were one of the big teams of the pre-war era, having won the Double in 1912/13 and the League for the second consecutive year in 1913/14. Indeed they had already won the FA Cup six times (they went on to win it again this season), and the Football League six times. As for Arsenal who had never one a major trophy, the mix-and-match nature of the line up continued.
The last game of the month on the final day of the month was a second round cup tie away to Bristol City, and Arsenal players spent part of the week preparing for the game by training at Weston Super Mare. But the result was a disappointment with Arsenal losing 1-0. Indeed this was more than a disappointment, for it was something of a shock as Bristol City were a Division 2 side at the time, ending the season in 8th position. Arsenal had been expecting to do better.
And so the month, in terms of a football was a disaster
The league table now looked like this…
|1||West Bromwich Albion||25||19||0||6||74||33||2.242||41||38|
|11||Bradford Park Avenue||24||9||7||8||40||36||1.111||4||25|
Arsenal had slipped but there was a lot of the season left and they still had a chance to rise up the table once again. This was after all their first season back in the first division.
The Henry Norris Files Section 1 – 1910.
- Part 1. How Arsenal fell from grace.
- Part 2: heading for liquidation and the first thought of moving elsewhere
- Part 3: March and April 1910 – the crisis deepens
- Part 4: the proposed mergers with Tottenham and Chelsea.
- Part 5: The collapse of Woolwich Arsenal: how the rescue took shape.
- Part 6: It’s agreed, Arsenal stay in Plumstead for one (no two) years
- Part 7: Completing the takeover and preparing for the new season
- Part 8: July to December 1910. Bad news all round.
Section 2 – 1911
Section 3 – 1912
- 11: 1912 and Arsenal plan to move away from Plumstead
- 12: How Henry Norris chose Highbury as Arsenal’s new ground
- 13: Amid protests from the locals Arsenal’s future is secured
- 14: Arsenal relegated amidst allegations of match fixing
Section 4 – 1913
- How Henry Norris secured Highbury for Arsenal in 1913.
- Norris at the Arsenal: 1913 and the opening weeks at Highbury
- When Highbury opened, and “Victoria Concordia Crescit” was introduced
- The players who launched Arsenal’s rebirth and Arsenal’s games in October 1913.
- The rebirth of Arsenal after the move to Highbury: November 1913.
- December 1913, the alleged redcurrent shirts, and Chapman comes to Highbury for the first time
Section 5 – 1914
- Arsenal’s first ever FA Cup match at Highbury and a challenge for promotion: Jan 1914
- Arsenal February and March 1914; the wall falls down, the team slips up.
- The end of Woolwich Arsenal and of the first season at Highbury.
- Arsenal at the end of the world: May to August 1914.
- The newly named The Arsenal start their first season and go top of the League
- As the death toll mounts Arsenal keep playing: October 1914
- November 1914: The Times journalist goes to a reserve match without realising it.
- December 1914: The Footballers’ Battalion formed by Arsenal chairman and others
Section 6 – 1915
- January 1915: Arsenal players start to leave their club for their country
- Arsenal in February and March 1915: the abandonment of football is announced and the result is… curious
- April 1915: New revelations concerning perhaps the most important month in Arsenal’s history
- Norris promoted, the League loses interest but football pulls itself back together.
- Arsenal move into the London Combination in September 1915
- Arsenal in wartime: Norris’ genius for administration comes to the fore but reduces Arsenal’s playing staff.
- November / December 1915: the match fixing scandal comes to the fore: Norris is armed
Section 7: – 1916
- Arsenal in wartime: January 1916. The end of the first wartime league.
- Arsenal, February 1916: the 2nd league and a terrible tragedy on the pitch
- Arsenal: March – May 1916. The team in decline, entry to football taxed for the first time.
- Arsenal wartime league tables and player appearances: 1915/16
- Arsenal at war; Tottenham move out of WHL, Arsenal hit rock bottom. June to Sept 1916.
- Arsenal Oct 1916: a tragic death, a slow recovery
- Arsenal in wartime: November and December 1916
Section 8: 1917
- January 1917: Arsenal’s upturn continues, gang culture in London, turmoil in Russia.
- Arsenal in February 1917: Arsenal on the up, George Allison’s contribution.
- Arsenal – March 1917. Measles, price rises, women start to serve.
- Arsenal in April and May 1917. Norris goes missing, Arsenal continue winning.
- Norris at the Arsenal: Arsenal Players in the wartime league, 1916/17
- Henry Norris is knighted for setting up the Footballers’ Battalion. June 1917
- Sir Henry Norris promoted to Lt Colonel in recognition of his work in the War Office
- September 1917: Arsenal’s form definitely on the up.
- October 1917: Arsenal slip into sharp decline; Norris gains a new appointment
- Arsenal at the end of 1917. Crowds collapse, results poor, the war drags on.
Section 9: 1918 and the end of the war
- Arsenal in 1918: Chapman’s downfall, votes for women, schooling for all, Arsenal erratic
- Norris at the Arsenal: March 1918, crowds drop, rationing, the war turns
- April 1918: the third wartime league ends; Ireland rebels against conscription.
- The 1917/18 season; Arsenal’s players and the final league table
- Autumn 1918: Arsenal winning, the war grinds to an end, crowds return
- November 1918: war ends, FA / League quarrel, Henry Norris is called on (again).
- Norris at the Arsenal. 1-10 December 1918; allegations of corruption heard in court.
- Arsenal, 11 – 31 December 1918. A 9-2 victory, the chairman becomes an MP, footballers unionise.
Section 10: 1919, the reform of football, the promotion of The Arsenal.
- The first suggestion that Arsenal could be elected to the 1st division.
- Arsenal in January 1919: rioting in the streets and the question of promotion
- What the media said about the election of Arsenal to the 1st division in 1919
- Arsenal prepare for the vote on who should be promoted to the First Division
- March 1919: The vote to extend the league and what the media said
- Why did the clubs vote for Arsenal rather than Tottenham in March 1919?
- Arsenal in March 1919: the London Victory Cup and its consequences
- April 1919: the end of wartime football (at least for 20 years)
- May 1919: war football ends and the wonderful Alf Baker is signed
- Summer of 1919. Widespread rioting as Arsenal prepare for division 1.
- August 1919: Arsenal return to the First Division for the next 99 years
- Arsenal establish themselves in the Division 1 amidst scandal, profiteering and strikes.
- October 1919: Chapman banned for life, Leeds kicked out, Whittaker joins
- November 1919: Arsenal solid but in debt, Labour advances, another goalscorer, Norris honoured.
- 1919: The first Christmas for the new expanded league