By Tony Attwood
Peter Duerden, a Blackpool FC supporter and historian, recently got in touch asking about the Arsenal team for a match against Blackpool in 1899 – I’ve naturally done what I can to help. In return Peter has very kindly taken the trouble to provide local newspaper reports from Blackpool for the games, and I am delighted to be able to publish them here.
Of course the players’ names won’t mean too much, but the style of reporting is fascinating.
The Arsenal History Society has chosen, as you probably know, to focus on individual periods of Arsenal’s history – the 1970s, the 1930s, and the Norris era (1910-1927) but if anyone fancies going through the Woolwich press for the early years of Royal Arsenal and Woolwich Arsenal and supply copies as per those below, I’d love to publish them. I regret I don’t have time to do the search and retrieval myself.
So here are the reports, and then below that, the league tables after the second game. The regular anniversary file will appear in a separate report later today.
18 March 1899: Woolwich Arsenal 6 Blackpool 0
And the return; 22 March 1899 – Blackpool 1 Woolwich Arsenal 1
After the games on 22 March 1899 the Football League Division two table read like this
|2||New Brighton Tower||28||16||7||5||61||35||1.743||39|
|4||Burslem Port Vale||29||17||3||9||52||27||1.926||37|
|7||Glossop North End||27||15||4||8||64||35||1.829||34|
The Blackpool away game was one of only two games in the 1898/99 for which no crowd figure was recorded. Arsenal’s home crowds are shown as varying between 2,000 and 7,000 during the season.
Arsenal finished the season in 7th, which was pretty much their regular position until things started to pick up in the new century, culminating in the club’s first promotion in 1904. Blackpool finished the league in 16th.
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