How many different names has Arsenal FC had?


On this day in 1914 Arsenal changed its name.   But this wasn’t the only change that has ever happened.

We know that Arsenal used the name Dial Square for its first game – but how formally that name was adopted is not sure and it was only used for one match – it at all.  After that it was Royal Arsenal, as the club opened its doors to all employees of  the factories on the Thames.

The club dropped the word Royal in May 1893 when it prepared to be a limited company, as part of its move into the Football League, although oddly the League still referred to the club as Royal Arsenal until 1896!

Arsenal kept the name Woolwich Arsenal even after the club moved to north London and for most of its first year at Highbury it was still Woolwich Arsenal, but it changed to The Arsenal Football And Athletic Company Limited somewhere between 20 and 23 April 1914.  For the game on 20 April the programme showed the old name, for the game on 23rd the new name.

The first time the club revealed that it had changed again on a programme, shortening the name to The Arsenal Football Club Ltd was on 26 October, although this probably happened earlier in the month, and the printer probably had some of the old front covers left and so continued to use them on the programmes.

The next change came with the dropping of the definitive article as “The” disappeared and we were Arsenal Football Club Ltd.   That was in November 1919.

There was a plan in the 1930s to become London FC, but the plan was dropped on the grounds it was too arrogant and no one claimed the name London until West Ham gave that name to their borrowed stadium possibly in honour of the fact that London tax payers paid for it.

Thanks to Andy Kelly for his research on this topic (see the link on 8 October 1914 below).

Here are the anniversaries…

8 October 1891: Royal Arsenal beat Royal Engineers Training Battalion 8-0.

8 October 1910: A 0-3 away defeat to Bradford City meant Arsenal had not won any of their first seven league games and had scored just two goals in those seven matches.

8 October 1914: The Arsenal Football and Athletic Company Limited became The Arsenal Football Club Limited with the launch of the new share issue.  The first public presentation of the name (other than on the new shares) was not seen however until 26 October when the programme for the Football League vs the Southern League representative match (played at Highbury) was put on sale with the club’s new name on the front.

8 October 1921: Sunderland 1 Arsenal 0.  Having won the first game of the month Arsenal now lost four league matches in a row to stay bottom of the league and already looking relegation certainties.

8 October 1930: Arsenal won the Charity Shield for first time beating Sheffield Wednesday in a match played at Stamford Bridge in front of 25,000.  Arsenal were in the game having beaten Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup final the previous April.

8 October 1932: Final appearance of Tom Parker – the club’s first trophy winning captain.  He became player manager of Norwich City and took them to the championship in 1933/4.  He played 172 consecutive league games for Arsenal (a record) and in all played 258 league games for the club in addition to 246 for Southampton.  He later managed Southampton before returning to Norwich for a second spell. He died at the age of 89 in 1987.

8 October 1936: Pat Beasley sold to Huddersfield for £750. He later moved to Fulham with whom who won a second division champions medal, was player manager for Bristol City, and manager of Birmingham, from 1950 to 1958.  See also here.

8 October 1960: Last senior game for Jimmy Bloomfield.   He was transferred to Birmingham, where he spent four years, played in a second Fairs Cup final, again on the losing side, before winning the league cup with Birmingham in 1963 scoring a goal in the final.

8 October 1991: Jimmy Carter signed from Liverpool for £500,000.  During the 3.5 years Carter spent with Arsenal the club won three different cups, but Carter managed only 25 games and two goals and did not play in any of the finals.

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