The moment that changed it all: Arsenal looked towards professionalism

Today 23 May is the anniversary of the great step forwards: Arsenal’s move towards professionalism.

It was this move which ultimately caused the differences of opinion in the club (to put it mildly) which started out as a debate on professionalism, and ended as outright class war.

In the midst of it all the landlord of Royal Arsenal at the Invicta Ground sided with the pro-amateur “gentlemen” rebels and doubled the rent on the ground from 1893.

The story of 1892/3 is told elsewhere in detail on this site but the net result was that Arsenal moved across the road from the Invicta to the Manor Ground, which they hastily turned into a ground suitable for league football, and joined Division 2.

All of those momentous events, which are told in detail in Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.

Here are the full details for the Arsenal anniversaries of 23 May…


23 May 1891: The first press report emerged of the AGM of Royal Arsenal wherein professionalism was proposed.  This was to make Arsenal the first fully professional team in the south (although Luton paid a few of their team earlier in the year).

23 May 1918: Dennis Compton born.  Denis was a cricketer who played football, in contrast to his brother who was a footballer who played cricket.  Both however played for Arsenal.

23 May 1923: SK Lyn Oslo 0 Arsenal 0.  Joe Shaw, one of the most important men in Arsenal’s history, and a league winning manager, made his final appearance as player, moving on to become manager of Arsenal Reserves.  He played 309 league and 17 cup games.

23 May 1948 Archie Macaulay won the last of seven caps for Scotland.  He continued to play for Arsenal until 1950 when he moved on to Fulham.

23 May 1998: Arsenal recording of “Hot Stuff” entered the top 10.

23 May, 2006.  Tomas Rosicky transferred from Borussia Dortmund for £6.8m.  See also here.  Despite numerous injuries he went on to play over 160 times for Arsenal and become captain of his country.

23 May 2011: Ex Arsenal man John Jenson was given a new contract as assistant manager at Blackburn, a club that appeared to be in permanent turmoil after being taken over by a family that seemed to have little knowledge of football.  He was sacked after four months.

An index to all the anniversary files is here.  We’ve just had a major overhaul of May and June

One Reply to “The moment that changed it all: Arsenal looked towards professionalism”

  1. You’re the experts……Can you tell me what became of Danny Hagerty the fifties Arsenal winger? The guy was magic.

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