1 March: one of Arsenal’s greatest, but sadly often forgotten, anniversaries

Arsenal’s move from Plumstead to Highbury was welcomed by most clubs – because it offered them two benefits.

The first was financial.  When clubs played each other in league matches at that time (1913) the clubs shared the gate money.  Not equally, but still it was an important source of income for visiting clubs.  Especially smaller visiting clubs.

So Arsenal’s move to a bigger ground that would undoubtedly attract a much higher level of gate money, was welcomed by all football league clubs.

Second, although the issue was sometimes overplayed, Plumstead was a difficult ground to get to, and clubs travelling from  the north not only had to make the long journey to London, they then had to make a further trip into Kent which could add another two or three hours to the journey.

Having Arsenal play near Kings Cross station, at a site that already had its own Underground station, made for a lot easier journey.

There are a number of reports of managers saying that their players liked trips to “the smoke” (as it was known because of the air pollution), because it allowed them to take in the “delights” of the West End after the match.

But there was opposition, most notably from Tottenham Hotspur and Orient.   They made several protests against the move, although they must have known that a ruling in 1910 made during the discussions about having Arsenal either merge with Fulham or play at Craven Cottage, was absolute.  The League’s rules gave it no say in where a club played.

On 1 March 1913 the League reiterated what everyone knew, but wanted to hear one more time.  There were no footballing reasons why Arsenal should not move to Islington.  It was the final hurdle to be overcome.  From this day forth there was nothing in the way of Arsenal heading north.

There is more information on the story here.


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