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And suddenly everything goes wrong for Arsenal

So there we were, 100 years ago, with the shares in the new Arsenal Football and Athletic Club on sale, and the existing owners anxious to sell to the local populace, when suddenly…

Everything had to stop.

On 7th May 1910 King Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria, died.  And that meant everything but everything had to cease.  Everyone went into mourning.  (Some blamed the comet, which was still visible in the daytime, but most simply thought the king ate too much).

Even without this interruption, the sale of shares in the club was going very slowly, with the average working man from the Woolwich armaments factories not willing to cough up £1 of his hard earned money for a share.  With the interruption, the task was almost impossible.

If you are interested in the history of the monarchy you can read up about Edward in a million books, but here’s a very quick run through of who and what he was.

He was one of those monarchs who were born to the job, but never got it because the wretched parent (in this case Victoria) refused to die, and just went on and on living.   Edward became a rebel, a womaniser, a glutton and all the other things you would not associate with the monarchy.

But, and this is the bit the classic history texts don’t teach, by the end of the 19th century the monarchy was very unpopular indeed, because it consisted of nothing but Victoria shut up inside her castles.  Edward was at least seen about town, and he quickly became known as Edward the Caresser.  No woman was safe with him – unless he was eating (which he did a lot) and even then he was known to attempt a bit of multi-tasking.

Amazingly however, Edward made the monarchy popular again.

So, Edward died, and everything stopped, save the clock, which kept ticking down the days until the deadline by which the new club’s shares had to be taken up.  If they were not, the offer would fall, and Woolwich Arsenal would be truly in the hands of the administrator.

The season was over, but it was looking to be a tough summer.

Tony Attwood

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