By Tony Attwood
In writing the Arsenal Uncovered notes for the club programme this season, I find I am getting myself into areas where I think I know the answer, and then don’t.
If you can help, I’d be grateful.
Arsenal’s first foreign player. Of course there’s an issue of definition here, but taking it at its narrowest finding Scottish players is a doddle, and the rest of the UK is not so hard: I have found Dick Roose from Wales who played in the 1911/12 season, and Joesph Toner from Northern Ireland who joined us in 1919. But the first truly non-British player was I think Frank Ransom from Ireland in 1903, and the first from outside the British Isles was Jack Butler who also joined in 1910 – he was from Sri Lanka.
That’s as far as I have got. If you have anyone earlier or any special insights into these people do let me know.
As for Arsenal’s smallest squad, I am wondering if that was in the 1970/1 double season: 16 players in the FA Cup and League campaign including subs.
This is complex of course because of the recent approach of using reserves and youth players in the League Cup, and even Euro games sometimes, but if we excluded them, have we ever run a smaller squad through one season?
Do let me know if you have any thoughts on this – especially if you have info on anyone who was “more foreign” than Jack Butler. Jack was born overseas, but to English parents, so although under modern rules would have qualified to play for a country outside the UK he would have counted himself British.