The referee with his own team who became a journalist covering Arsenal.

The notion of a referee having his own team and taking them touring around the country playing charity matches seems very odd today but that is what Roston Bourke did.   As noted below he later became football correspondent for the Islington Gazette and so wrote regularly about Arsenal.

The anniversaries for today, are printed below.

The website

An index of many of the series of articles on Arsenal’s history that we have run on this site can be found on the Arsenal History Society home page.

The books

“Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football” is the definitive history of Arsenal from its inception as a league club through to its first year at Highbury, and reveals dramatic elements of Arsenal’s early days that have never been revealed before.

“Making the Arsenal” is a journalist’s inside view of the events around Arsenal’s collapse in 1910 and the rescue that paved the way for the move to Highbury and the arrival of Herbert Chapman.

Both books are now available on Kindle and in print.    Please see here for more details.


12 November 1894.   David Howat’s benefit match against Roston Bourke’s XI.  Bourke was a leading referee and who had his own team; he was later football correspondent of the Islington Gazette.  Arsenal won 6-2 and the game was attended by 1200 people.

12 November 1917: Gordon Bremner born.  He started by playing for Cartha Athletic and joined in March 1937 where he started out in the Football Combination, scoring 15 times in 43 appearances.

12 November 1920: James Quayle played for Arsenal as a deputy for Joe Shaw, against The Wednesday. In the match, which Arsenal won 1-0 he was badly injured and had to leave the field of play.  He did not play football again.

12 November 1910: Matthew Shortt was signed by Arsenal from Dalbeattie Star in Dumfries.   He made his debut two weeks later but was on the losing side in all four games he played.

12 November 1918: The FA held a conference on the future of football and voted in favour of continuing with the currently-operating amateur leagues for the rest of the 1918/19 season. Because of his newly appointed role as Chairman of the Ministry of Labour’s Advisory Committee on Demobilisation Sir Henry Norris was unable to attend this FA meeting to represent Arsenal.

12 November 1921: Arsenal 5 Birmingham 2.  This was the first time Arsenal scored five in a league game in the post 1st World War era.  It was also the only game of the season in which Arsenal scored more than three goals.

12 November 1932: Arsenal made it 11 wins, two draws and one defeat from the start of the season  with a 1-0 win over Newcastle.  This was also the first time the new West Stand was used by the paying public.

12 November 1936: Alan Turing’s paper “On Computable Numbers” was formally presented to the London Mathematical Society, introducing the concept of the “Turing machine”, and ultimately, digital technology.

12 November 1938: Arsenal drew 2-2 away to Liverpool.  Drake scored for the second game running; the first time this season that he had scored in consecutive matches.  It was the fourth draw in a row, and after the game Arsenal were 13th.

12 November 1963: Colin Hill born.  He played first for Hillingdon Borough before joining Arsenal as a schoolboy in 1977, becoming an apprentice in 1980, and then on 31 July 1981  Colin Hill signed professional terms.

12 November 1973: Arsenal’s final match in the London FA Challenge Cup – a semi-final, played away to Tottenham in which Arsenal lost 0-3.   Arsenal reached the final on 16 occasions, winning the competition eleven times.

12 November 1977: Arsenal 1 Coventry City 1, and just 31,653 in the crowd.  After just 3 minutes Arsenal were a goal down as the defence were caught flatfooted.  Worse, on seven minutes Macdonald was sent off for throwing a punch at Yorath after a horrific tackle.  Rix, Brady and Price then played as if each was making up for being one man down. Arsenal’s equaliser came from a fierce cross from Rice.

12 November 2005: Death of Joe Wade aged 84  After playing 91 games for Arsenal he left in 1956 he returned to Hereford (then in the Southern League) as player-manager.  At Hereford he picked up some notable cup victories against league sides and won the Southern League and Cup double.  He left in 1962 to develop his sports shop business, but returned briefly in 1971 after John Charles left the club.

12 November 2007.   The game at Reading included Arsenal’s 1,000th Premier League goal, scored by Adebayor.  Flamini and Hleb got the other two in a 3-1 victory.

12 November 2012: Jenkinson signed a long term contract and subsequently went on loan to West Ham for 2014/15 and continued in 2015/16 to some considerable acclaim as a new settled defensive unit was forged by Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.  On 7 August 2019, Jenkinson signed a three-year deal with Nottingham Forest

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