by Tony Attwood
This is a copy of the 1910/11 season preview of Woolwich Arsenal from the pre-eminent football magazine of the day: Athletic News. You may recall in earlier articles how we described the attempt by Henry Norris and others to set up a southern rival to Athletic News (itself published in Manchester, and in its football coverage holding a very strong northern bias).
That operation (Football Chat) proved to be a disaster, not because there was not an audience for such a magazine, but that the person who sold it to Norris and others exaggerated greatly the advertising income and number of sales he was getting each month.
A southern magazine launched from scratch probably would have worked with a slow roll out across London and then into other towns with significant Southern League and Football League teams, but the group of men in the venture tried for a short cut, and it didn’t work.
Here is the article that Atheltic News published as its season preview on Arsenal on August 29, 1910
The alleged summer has been an eventual time for the Woolwich Arsenal club. The old ship (to use Dr Clark’s simile) has seen stormy weather, has almost foundered, and has only weathered the storm by taking on board new officers, with Mr. G. Morrell as pilot. But here we are concerned more with the men before the mast – in other words the players who are to wear the Woolwich red shirts during the coming winter.
There are nineteen professionals, of whom thirteen were with the club last season, four are new to Woolwich, and the other two are old players re-engaged. These last are Bateup, who, as a soldier in the garrison, played for the “Gunners,” turned professional, and went to New Brompton; and George Rogers, a local man, who played in the reserve team a few years ago, and was then secured by Fulham. From Fulham he went to Northfleet, which team is paying for a successful season by losing him – and others. He plays a thoughtful game at right half-back, and can also hold his own as a full back. He is a swimmer, sprinter, cricketer, baseballer – and has played for Kent at water polo.
The four new-comers are all forwards. They include Alf Common, whose career is too well known to need recapitulation here. Rippon, the sturdy centre-forward of Bristol City; Logan, from Sunderland; and Hedley from Jarrow Caledonians. So far as one can judge from the practice matches, Common and Rippon will add greatly to the forward strength.
Then, some practice matches have also demonstrated the weakness of the club at outside right, where there is no reserve of any moment for Greenaway. Hedley and Logan have both pleased the critics at practice, the former by his perseverance and trustfulness, the latter by his pace and clever touches.
G. Grant, a finely-built local half-back, has also attracted attention. The death of young Cannon, the reserve goalkeeper, put the officials in a quandary, but a Royal Artillery Bandsman named Burdett has come forward, and has given capital displays at practice. He has the ideal height and reach for a goalkeeper, and of course, plays as an amateur.
Another amateur, whose name has been mentioned in connection with Woolwich is Evans, the Welsh amateur international forward.
Sergeant-Major Charles McGibbon, who was so greatly instrumental in saving the Arsenal club from the Second Division last season, has signed for Leyton. The long journeys which the “Gunners” have to undertake make it impossible for McGibbon to play regularly for them, but it is whispered that an emergency would bring him back to the old club.
Another Woolwich soldier, Bombardier William Buckenham, has joined Southampton, where, it is curious to note, he takes the place of McGibbon. Hugh McDonald has gone to Oldham Athletic, Albert Beney to Carlisle, and young Buchan to Leyton.
Walter Lawrence has returned to Crystal Palace, with which club he played as an amateur, and Spencer Bassett, a smart local half-back, has travelled as far as Exeter. Charles Satterthwaite has retired from football, and in Workington, his native place, has become “Ye Host.” The whereabouts of Curle and Tom Drain are not known locally.
At the Manor Ground there has been no alterations of any moment, but the place looks all the better for a new coat of paint. This last is symbolical of the club as a whole, and although the team hardy suggests great possibilities there is every expectation of much better results than last year.
The following is a complete list of professional: –
Edwin Bateup, Croydon, goalkeeper, 5ft. 9½in, 11st.;
Duncan McDonald, Glasgow, full back, 5ft. 8in., 12st. 7lb.;
Joe Shaw, Bury, full back, 5ft. 10in., 12st.;
Archie Gray, Govan, full back, 5ft. 7in., 11st. 7lb.;
Percy Sands, Norwood, half-back, 5ft. 10in., 13st.;
Matt Thomson, Maryhill (Glasgow), half-back, 5ft. 10in., 11st. 6lb.;
Angus McKinnon, Paisley, half-back, 5ft. 8in., 11st.;
Roddy McEachrane, Inverness, half-back, 5ft. 6½in., 10st. 11lb.;
George Rogers, Plumstead, half-back, 5ft. 8½in., 10st.;
Andy Ducat, Brixton, half-back, 5ft. 9 ½in., 12st.;
John Dick, Eaglesham (Renfrewshire), half-back, 5ft. 7in.; 11st.;
David Greenaway, Coatdyke (Lanarkshire), forward, 5ft. 8in., 11st.;
Charles Lewis, Plumstead, forward, 5ft. 9in., 11st. 3lb.;
Alf Common, Sunderland, forward, 5ft. 8in., 13st.;
Willis Rippon, Rawmarsh, forward, 5ft. 9in., 13st.;
Harry Logan, Glasgow, forward, 5ft. 8in., 11st.;
Frank Heppinstall, South Hindley, forward, 5ft. 9in., 11st. 6lb.;
David Neave, Arbroath, forward, 5ft. 7in., 11st.;
Thomas Hedley, Gateshead, forward, 5ft. 7½in., 11st. 4lb.
(Athletic News: August 29, 1910)
This article is part of the evolving series on Henry Norris at the Arsenal. Other articles are listed below.
The Henry Norris Files
Section 1 – 1910.
Section 2 – 1911
The take over
Norris as chairman
Henry Norris as Chairman (part of the Chairmen of Arsenal series)
Norris and Highbury
Norris and the players
Did Henry Norris forbid one manager to make signings and give another an open cheque book?
The Reg Boreham story – Norris cast in the worst possible light.
Norris and Chapman