1st January 1910, the start of what was to be the most momentous year in the history of Woolwich Arsenal FC. The year that changed everything. The year that saw the birth of the modern Arsenal FC.
It was a traumatic year, and it started badly. Already near the foot of the table, Arsenal went to Liverpool for a two o’clock kick off on January 1st. (Although floodlighting was being experimented with, the lights were not yet powerful enough for games to be played under lights. Hence 2pm kick offs in the depths of winter.)
This was the return of the game played on 27tgh December 1909 when the sides had drawn 1-1, thus bringing to an end a run of two consecutive home defeats.
But Liverpool were no easy matter – they had been league champions already and were considered one of the top teams in the league. Woolwich Arsenal had never won anything, and were holding onto their first division place by their fingernails.
25,000 turned up for the saturday fixture at Anfield, and the result was a disaster. Woolwich Arsenal lost 1-5. Worse, this was the third 1-5 defeat in the season. Even worse there had also been a 2-5, a 2-6 and a 0-7 (although Arsenal played that game with an injured goalkeeper throughout).
So after a run of five games unbeaten we now had four games producing just one point. Woolwich Arsenal were now 17th out of 20th, and just two points above the relegation positions.
The next game was Sheffield United away on the 8th of January, and the signs were not good. There was talk everywhere of the club’s debts, of the owners not being able to support the club any more, and it was clear that the playing staff was in turmoil (see earlier reports here to get a full picture).
This site will cover the story day by day, but if you would like to read it from the perspective of a Fleet Street reporter, the whole story of 1910 is available in the book MAKING THE ARSENAL.
There’s details of Arsenal in 2010 on www.blog.emiratesstadium.info
(c) Tony Attwood 2010.