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Arsenal against New Brighton Tower; one of the artificial clubs of football.

This article was updated on 8 December 2013

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On 10 December 1898 Woolwich Arsenal played New Brighton Tower, the score being New Brighton Tower 1 Arsenal 3.  No crowd figure is recorded.   In the return match on April 8 1899 Arsenal won 4-0.  In the following season Arsenal won 2-0 away and 5-0 at home.

On 22 December 1900 it was Arsenal 2 New Brighton Tower 1, but the perfect record of victories was destroyed on the final game of the 1900/1 season when New Brighton beat Arsenal 1-0.  It was the final game between the sides, and the final game ever for New Brighton Tower.

Throughout football league history, football clubs have been formed for no reason other than there is a stadium, and a desire of the league to include it as part of their offering.

Chelsea has often been mentioned here, as they were elected to the League in 1905 to fill an athletic stadium.  They applied for a place in the Southern League, and Tottenham H objected, so the Football League game them a place.

Liverpool was another team that were created for a stadium after the split at Everton, and Thames were yet another.  Bradford also went much the same way, deliberately changing from rugby to football in order to bring football to their part of the country.

Some of these clubs flourished, while others like Thames and New Brighton Tower failed.  

New Brighton Tower was a seaside attraction built as New Brighton attempted to build itself up as a rival to Blackpool (which already had its famous tower).

The town is part of Wallasey in Merseyside.  In the 2001 Census, the population of the electoral ward of New Brighton was 14,450

When the tower was opened in 1900 it was the highest building in Great Britain It was dismantled in 1921 and the remnants of the tower were  destroyed by a fire in the 1960s.

Despite the name of the club, the club was formed before the tower was completed.  The stadium was placed next door to where the tower was to be, and the club to play there was formed 10 years after Arsenal’s formation, in 1896, four years before the tower was finished.

They played in and won the Lancashire League in 1897/8 and then immediately applied to join the Football League, which was still dominated by northern and midlands clubs.

When the League decided to expand the 2nd Division, New Brighton Tower were given a place.

New Brighton Tower started out ok, signing a wide variety of players and finishing 5th in their first season, and 4th in their third.   So there was success on the pitch, but not on the terraces, for the huge stadium, like Thames Association, was rarely attention by more than a few thousand people.

While Chelsea attracted big crowds from the off, New Brighton Tower could not – quite probably because New Brighton is not a huge town, and there was football available in many other clubs in the area.  The club resigned from the League in 1901 and were replaced by Doncaster Rovers.

A second club in the town (New Brighton FC) played in the League from 1923 to  1951.  As for the tower that gave the original ground its name it weighed an amazing 1,000,000 kg and stood 567 feet and was the tallest building in Great Britain.

Although the tower came down the ballroom on the ground floor was kept, and the Beatles actually played there once. The area has since been redeveloped as River View Park.

In the final season of New Brighton Tower’s existence Arsenal ended up 7th in the second division and New Brighton Tower fifth, but despite this, while Woolwich Arsenal continued and were eventually promoted to the first division the Tower resigned at the end of the season.

6,000 people attended the game on December 22 1900 and Main and Gaudie scored for Arsenal.  The final game of this season, and the final game ever for New Brighton Tower was New Brighton Tower 1 Woolwich Arsenal 0.  The crowd was 3,500.   New Brighton Tower vanished, but Woolwich Arsenal soldiered on.

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1 comment to Arsenal against New Brighton Tower; one of the artificial clubs of football.

  • Tony Onslow

    Tony. I am at present writing a history of NBTFC and am trying to obtain a newspaper report, published in Plumstead, that was written by a journalist who had travelled to Merseyside to cover the visit of Woolwich Arsenal. Could you please, provide me with such a article? Thanks Tony Onslow.

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