By Tony Attwood
John Charles Peart is one of Arsenal’s enigmas. Worse – he is a confused enigma. For not only do we know precious little of him, it is easy to confuse him with another footballer of the same era – John George Peart.
So let’s start with what we do know. John Peart was a left back who was born in Tewskesbury in 1887, played for Woolwich Arsenal coming up through the reserves to break into the first team in the 1910/11 season.
His first game was on March 11 1911 against Everton at home in front of 10,000. Arsenal won 1-0.
However after losing his place in the 1912/13 season (the season of Arsenal’s relegation) and having played 16 games – including one bizarrely at number 9, he then left the club to go to Croydon Common FC of the Southern League,
His final appearance before the Croydon Common move was against Sheffield United on 18 January 1913 at the Manor Ground in front of 6000. Coincidentally his next game was also against Sheffield United on 13 March 1920, which Arsenal won 3-0 in front of 35,000.
By the time he returned to Arsenal after the war Croydon Common had become the only Southern League club to fold during the conflict.
His final game was his one and only appearance at right back – his only game of the 1920/1 season on May 2 1921 at home to Liverpool. Arsenal drew 0-0. Peart then ultimately moved to Margate.
What is tantalising is that we know of links between Arsenal and both Croydon Common and Margate. Margate was ultimately Arsenal’s feeder club (although not at this time) and Croydon Common appears to have had a real link with Henry Norris, who in 1910 rescued Arsenal from financial ruin, and kept the club alive.
We do of course have his league record:
But now I must add a “not to be confused with” note.
John Charles Peart is not to be confused with John George Peart (3 October 1888 – 3 September 1948) who played centre forward for 13 different teams, also before and after the First World War. This John Peart also went on to become a manager of a variety of clubs but neither as a player nor manager did he have a connection with Arsenal.
If you know more, do tell.