by Tony Attwood
Finding John Storrs, who played 12 league games and four FA Cup games for Woolwich Arsenal in the club’s inaugural league season, has turned out to be a bit of a problem.
We know about his football: he came into the first team on 25 September 1893 for the fourth match of the season – a 3-1 win against Grimsby, taking over from Jeffrey at left back (Jeffrey moving to playing in goal following the injury to Williams) and continued until the return match with Grimsby on Boxing Day.
On 30 December he kept his place in the team playing at left half, had one more game on February 3 (a 3-0 defeat) and that was that.
He also played in the first four of the season’s FA Cup matches including the 12-0 win over Ashford.
The records also show that John Storrs joined Arsenal from being a Private in the Lincolnshire Regiment in August 1893. There is no other footballing record of him that I can validate, although I have found one note that says he retired in 1895 became a trainer of Dewsbury FC in 1896.
But Wiki says that Dewsbury FC was not formed until 1898 in order to represent the town in the Yorkshire Football League in 1898–99 and thereafter so that looks to be a blind end.
There is a note, without attribution or source, of John Storrs being born in East Retford, Nottinghamshire in 1872, and that would make him 21 at the time of joining Arsenal, which is certainly possible, and I have also found Private John Storrs who died on 29 November age 57, in the Bradford Undercliffe Cemetery, recorded as husband of Mary Ann Storrs, of 85, Chesham St., Horton Rd., Bradford.
From the limited information I have, I’ve no way of knowing if this is the John Storrs who played for Woolwich Arsenal.
As always, if you know any more, please say.
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- The Arsenal Yankee by Danny Karbassiyoon with a foreword by Arsene Wenger.
- Arsenal: the long sleep 1953 – 1970; a view from the terrace. By John Sowman with an introduction by Bob Wilson.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football. By Tony Attwood, Andy Kelly and Mark Andrews.
- Making the Arsenal: a novel by Tony Attwood.
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal by Mark Andrews.
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