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Bill Linward joined Arsenal and played 2 games in 2 days

By Tony Attwood

Bill Linward was an outside left who joined Arsenal from West Ham United in December 1902 and made his début against Millwall Athletic on Boxing Day 1902.  On the following day he played at number 11 in a division 2 match against Burnley.  We won 5-1 – quite a turn around after losing the previous three games, scoring 2 and letting in 8.

Bill Linward replaced ET Lawrence in the side and Bill retained the number 11 for the rest of the season with Lawrence getting just four more games.

He as born in Hull in either 1877 or 1878 according to which source you look at but as with his date of birth, his journey around the football clubs is not universally agreed.  Some sources have him signing from Doncaster Rovers, but Dean Hayes has his journey as

  • Grimsby Town
  • Doncaster Rovers
  • West Ham United (joined 1901)
  • Woolwich Arsenal (joined 1902)
  • Norwich City (joined 1905)
  • Kilmarnock (joined 1906)
  • Maidstone United (joined 1907)

Overall for Woolwich Arsenal he played 50 times and scored ten goals.  His prime season was the promotion season of 1903/4 when he played 27 times.

Quite what made him move so often we don’t know, although he struggled for a place in the team in Arsenal’s first season in the First Division.  His last game was a 1-4 defeat away to Wolverhampton on January 21 1905.

Indeed his life is largely a mystery apart from the basic facts of the clubs and games.

Just one more oddity. On page 14 of Forward Arsenal Bernard Joy gives our man one of only two mentions in the book – but has him down as a right winger.  But he played number 11 – the left wing.

He is, at least for the moment, one of the many, many players whose life we have lost, and yet who made a significant impact on Arsenal.  If you have any more information, please do let us know.

The books…

The sites…

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