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George Burrell and the full team of the final match in Plumstead

By Tony Attwood

This is the final article in the series that traces the history of the 11 players who took part in the final Woolwich Arsenal game at Plumstead, against Middlesbrough on 26 April 1913.  The game was a 1-1 draw in front of the worst crowd of the season – 3000.

Details of the full team are given at the end of this article, with links to articles on all the players.

George Burrell was born in 1892 in Newcastle upon Tyne who played outside left for Woolwich Arsenal in the last game at Plumstead and the first game at Highbury.

His first club was Shildon A.F.C. – a club playing in County Durham, and founded in 1890.  They were playing in the North Eastern League and this time, and are still in existence playing in the Northern League.

Burrell is then reported to have moved to South Shields FC who were formed in 1897 but this club seemingly folded in 1902.  However South Shields Adelaide continued at least until 1913, and were around this time generally known as South Shields (without Adelaide) and this must be the club that Burrell played for in the North Eastern League.

After South Shields Burrell went to Leyton. This club had a chequered history, having started in 1868, and seemingly packed up sometime around 1898, again in 1911 and once more in 1911.

Although it is not directly pertinent to our tales of Woolwich Arsenal, Leyton FC were involved in a law case in 2002 to establish which of two claimants were the actual inheritors of the original club.  As a result of the action, Leyton Pennant were ordered to refrain from calling themselves Leyton FC.  Ah well.

Burrell was signed by Woolwich Arsenal in 1912 and first played in September that year.  In February 1913 he became the regular number 11 for the team.

It has been argued in some accounts that Burrell lost his place back to Winship in 1913/14 and that was the reason for his departure, but this is a simplification.   Winslip played eight games and Burrell six in the first 14 games of the 1913/14 season, the first season at Highbury.

But the both lost the spot to Charles Lewis who played 26 league games and the one FA Cup game in that season.   There is no comparison between Burrell and Winslip on the one hand and Lewis on the other, for Lewis had played 24 league games and three cup games the previous season, although he had been moved from outside left to inside right for part of that season while covering for injuries.  Overall Charles Lewis played over 200 games for Arsenal, and was clearly delivering in this first year at Highbury, so it is not surprising that Burrell and Winship should lose their places to him.

George Burrell was given a free transfer in the summer of 1914 and rejoined South Shields; in total he had played 24 games for Arsenal, scoring three goals.

Introduction: The final game at Woolwich 26 April 1913

The team…

And to complete the picture – the first team at Highbury

Woolwich Arsenal – the index

Making the Arsenal – the story of 1910 through the eyes of a Fleet Street journalist.

11 comments to George Burrell and the full team of the final match in Plumstead

  • Iain Heppell

    I wonder if anyone can help. I work with a Geoffery Burrell. His Grandad was George Burrell. He has two great letters from Arsenal, when he wrote to them as a child, asking for a photo of his Grandad in his kit. He recieved a book with a photo in, but had to send it back because it was the only one of its kind. Has anyone got a photo of George or a team photo with George on? His Grandad died before he was born and I thought it would be good for him to see the photo again. Hope someone can help. Cheers.

  • Iain, do you know when the letters were sent Geoffery as it will narrow down the number of books that could have been sent to him? Also, was the photo a team group or George on his own?

  • Iain Heppell

    Hello Andy,
    I will ask Geoff tomorrow at work. I think it would have been in the 1960’s. I can ask to borrow the letters and scan them into the computer. They really are great letters.
    Thanks,
    Iain.

  • Iain Heppell

    Hello Andy,
    Geoff is bringing in those letters tomorrow(friday). He says it was 1961. And the book was leather bound and contained all the photos of players who had played for Woolwich Arsenal.
    Thanks,
    Iain.

  • Christine Matthews

    Hello, I really am looking for a little direction in trying to solve a query regarding the early years of Arsenal. My father who was born in 1913 often told me that his father, Sam Coleman was one of the men to start up a football team at Woolwich Arsenal. My grandfather worked at the arsenal and wanted to start a union, but this was not permitted and union meetings were not encouraged to get around this they began to play football under the clock and had their meetings under the guise of playing a game. They called themselves the Dials and this apparently began the legacy of Woolwich Arsensal FC. My father had a photograph of a group of men under the clock tower but when he died this was not found. Is there anyway I can substantiate this? Any help would be wonderful.

    Christine

  • Iain Heppell

    Hello Christine,
    I sent a email to Arsenal FC who have a wonderful historian working there. He was able to get a copy of a programme which carried the picture of George Burrell from 1913. It may be worth getting in touch with him. The address is icook@arsenal.co.uk
    Hope this helps,
    Iain.

  • Christine,

    Do you know when Sam Coleman was born?

    Mark

  • Alistair Clarke

    Hi, I am actually the great grandson of George Burrell and was just in the middle of doing some research when i came across this web address and the posts on it. George Burrell’s daughter (Eva) is my grandmother who was originally from south shields. She married by grandfather Harry Clarke before moving to Thorney (nr peterborough), i imagine that Iain Heppell’s friend must be my dad’s cousin

  • Lesley Burrowes

    Hi my grandfather was also called George Burrell, I have no information on him apart from he was a lot older than my grandmother, my father was born 1933 and as far as I can gather they lived around the Frederick Street area before moving to Lytton Street.

    I know is he died just before my parents married in the late 50s ( approx 1957/58 )

    Wondering if they are related as he would have been born in the late 1800s and I have 2 of his WW1 medals

    Lesley Burrowes nee Burrell

  • Lisa degnan

    Hi, my great grandad was also George Burrell. My grandad Jonathan Burrell was Eva’s brother. I’m still in contact with my great aunt and uncle, Albert and Miriam who were George’s children. I never met George but can remember going to see my great grandma when I was a child. Any information or photos you have would be lovely. Kind Regards Lisa

  • Alistair Clarke

    Hi Lisa,

    So that would make us 3rd cousins i think.

    Apologies that this is years later, i think i checked on here a couple of times after my original post but not after that.

    I never met my Great Grandma but visited Albert & Miriam growing up. Unfortunately i only have what pictures were in books or i can find over the internet but similarly to yourself, myself and my Dad would love to see any other pictures of my Great Grandad. I am immensely proud of his history and he is the reason my Dad became an Arsenal fan and that i am one today.

    Kind regards,

    Alistair

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