Roddy McEachrane: played 346 games for Arsenal and never scored a goal.

by Tony Attwood

Roderick John McEachrane known as Roddy was born in Inverness in 1878.  His first club was Inverness Thistle and then, he moved to Canning Town in London to work at Thames Iron Works and naturally joined the works team, then playing in the 2nd division of the Southern League.

There he stayed between 1898 and 1902, during which time the club stayed in the Southern League, gained promotion to the top division and changed its name to West Ham United in the summer of 1900.    In all he played 103 games for the club.

He played as a left half-back and gained a reputation for tough tackling. He was also (unusually for the age) rarely injured, being an ever-present player for two seasons.  He was one of the first WHU players to become a professional.

In the close season of the summer of 1902 McEachrane joined Woolwich Arsenal, and so was with them as they came 3rd and then 2nd in the the second division, becoming one of the most supported clubs in the Football League in terms of league crowds.

He was later joined by other West Ham players such as James Bigden and Charlie Satterthwaite.  He became (according to “Forward Arsenal”) a “great favourite of the crowd”

He finally lost his place in 1911 aged 33 as Angus McKinnon came into the team.  However such was his loyalty to the club he remained with Woolwich Arsenal for another three seasons playing his final Woolwich Arsenal game on 22 November 1913 – thus making the transition from Plumstead to Highbury and playing two first team games at the new ground.  His last game was a 1-0 home win against Birmingham in front of 25,000.

In total he played 346 games for Arsenal (313 in the league) in eleven years, but like a true deep lying midfielder he knew his place on the park and never scored a goal.  Part of the reason for his lack of goals was that he strength lay in his ability to collect a ball from an oppontent and dispose of it quickly through his agility, aided by the fact that he was just 5′ 6″ tall – Arshavin we might like to note is not 5’4″ as per the song sung about him by fans when he played, but is actually 5’8″It is the most games played by a player who won neither a cap nor a medal.

Indeed it is interesting that the WHU records show hims has playing virtually every match over the period he was with the club, but they obviously deployed him further up the field as he got six goals for Thames Iron Works / WHU in 113 games.

As for Arsenal apart from the sheer number off games he played, he was highly instrumental in the success that took the club up to Division I for the first time, and the two early cup semi-finals again The Wednesday and Newcastle.

He thus played under Bradshaw, Kelso and Morrell, the three key managers in the whole of the Woolwich Arsenal period, and his two final games place him on the wall of honour at the Emirates as one of the Arsenal elite.

I don’t have details of what happened to him after his time at Woolwich Arsenal but we do know he died on 16 November 1952 aged 74.

Here is his season by season record…

Season Team Competition Apps Subs Goals Y R
1898-99 West Ham United FA Cup 1
1898-99 West Ham United Southern League Second Division 14
1899-00 West Ham United FA Cup 3
1899-00 West Ham United Southern League First Division 14
1899-00 West Ham United Test Match 1
1900-01 West Ham United FA Cup 6
1900-01 West Ham United Southern League First Division 28
1901-02 West Ham United FA Cup 1
1901-02 West Ham United Southern League First Division 25
1902-03 Arsenal FA Cup 1
1902-03 Arsenal League Division Two 28
1903-04 Arsenal FA Cup 5
1903-04 Arsenal League Division Two 33
1904-05 Arsenal FA Cup 2
1904-05 Arsenal League Division One 24
1905-06 Arsenal FA Cup 6
1905-06 Arsenal League Division One 31
1906-07 Arsenal FA Cup 6
1906-07 Arsenal League Division One 34
1907-08 Arsenal FA Cup 2
1907-08 Arsenal League Division One 38
1908-09 Arsenal FA Cup 4
1908-09 Arsenal League Division One 36
1909-10 Arsenal FA Cup 2
1909-10 Arsenal League Division One 32
1910-11 Arsenal FA Cup 2
1910-11 Arsenal League Division One 30
1911-12 Arsenal FA Cup 1
1911-12 Arsenal League Division One 18
1912-13 Arsenal FA Cup 2
1912-13 Arsenal League Division One 7
1913-14 Arsenal League Division Two 2


Here is the list of all the players from this season that we have covered so far.

Player Position Games Goals
Edwin Bateup Goalkeeper 30
George Burdett Goalkeeper 10
Leslie Adair Calder Forward 1
Frederick J Calvert Forward 1
John Chalmers Centre forward 31 16
Alfred Common Inside forward 31 6
Andrew Ducat Wing half 35 3
John Flanagan Inside forward 10 1
Archie Gray Full back 28
David Greenaway Outside right 22 2
Frank Heppinstall Outside left 5
Gordon Rahere Hoare Forward 16 7
Charles Henry Lewis Forward 36 2
Harry Logan Forward 11
Duncan McDonald Full back 1
Roddy McEachrane Half back 32
Angus McKinnon Left half 10
David Neave Outside left 16 3
John Charles Peart Full back 7
James Alfred Quayle Full back 1
Willis Rippon Inside forward 9 2
Percy Sands Centre half 33
Joseph E Shaw Full back 37
Matthew Shortt Inside forward 4
Matthew Thomson Half back 17
Thomas Winship Outside left 6

Details of all the various series covered by The Arsenal History Society are given on the home page of the blog,



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