Bury v Arsenal in the first division? 100 years ago it was exactly that

By Tony Attwood

It may seem unlikely now, but Bury played Arsenal in the first division 100 years ago – on September 3rd.

There is some background information on the state of Bury FC at this time in relation to the match in November 1909.

So rather than repeat that, we can look at what happened to Woolwich Arsenal.  We had lost the opening game to what was clearly a strong Manchester United team, at home.  Bury however had ended 1909/10 in 13th – above Woolwich Arsenal in 18th, but not a major power.  So there was hope.

Arsenal made two changes for the game from the players who played in the opening match.  Gray, the right back, and Lewis, the inside left, both stepped down, and they were replaced by Duncan McDonald at full back and Logan up front.

Duncan McDonald made just this one appearance this season, and then moved on having made a total of 26 appearances.

Henry Logan played his first of 11 games for the club during the season.  He’s a player I have not mentioned before, other than to record that he was a one season man – and the reason is the lack of data.  He’s one of the players of whom virtually nothing is known.

Despite playing inside left in this game, he was an inside right by nature, born in Glasgow in 1888, playing for Shettleston (a suburb in the east end of Glasgow), Sunderland and Woolwich Arsenal.  After the 11 games at Arsenal in the 1910/11 season he then seems to have dropped out of football – perhaps through injury, or perhaps to follow a more lucrative trade.  I suspect the latter, since he only played twice for Sunderland in the previous season – that being his total contribution to the club.

There is still a Shettleston Football Club and it seems they were formed in 1903 (so were apparently the club that Logan played for.   Today they play in the West Rgion of the Scottish Junior Football Association.

So what we have coming in a player who actually made this his one and only appearance for the club this season, and in fact after that left to go to West Hartlepool, and another whose entire professional experience was two matches for Sunderland, and who managed just 11 games in the season before leaving football for good.

There introduction into the team clearly wasn’t designed to give everyone a lift and some hope after the opening day’s defeat.  Indeed for the supporter in the know, after one match it wasn’t looking too good.

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