Manchester United 1 Woolwich Arsenal 0
October 30th, 1909
One hundred years on, joy was unconfined as Arsenal slaughtered Tottenham 3-0 at the Emirates, incorporating one of the most inspiring and amusing goals of all times – Fabregas from a Tottenham kick off.
But back at the end of the first decade in the 20th century things were not so rosy.
A run of four consecutive defeats which had seen us let in 19 goals ended with a 1-0 home win to Everton. Now we had to go to the toxic dump that was Manchester United’s ground on the edge of the chemical factory, and try and build on that victory.
It was the last ever trip to the poison fields – after this Manchester moved to Old Trafford, but for Woolwich it was not a good ending.
It was the same team as had beaten Everton, but our one star player – our England international – Ducat, was out with an injury, and the centre half was continuing to plat at centre forward. McDonald, a right back, made his first ever appearance for the club – at left back. It shows what a poor state the squad was in.
We were bottom of the league, and Manchester United near the top – the end up 5th having won the cup the year before and the league the year before that, so in one sense keeping it down to 1-0 was not bad, and there are no reports of anyone going down with chemical poisoning. But the result still mean only two wins out of 11, a club in financial crisis and nothing on the horizon to bring any sense of joy or even relief.
We’d scored ten goals, and our top scorers were Beney and Lee with two each. Neither were playing in this game. Beney made 11 appearances all season and never added to his two goals and Lee was out of the team and never played for the club again. He transferred to Bury.
It was, by and large, a shambles.
The full story of Arsenal in 1910 – the year in which Fulham FC took over the club and which directly led to the move to Highbury, promotion and the Chapman era, is told in MAKING THE ARSENAL. Full details on www.emiratesstadium.info