2 September: Arsenal’s first ever league match



On 2 September 1893 Woolwich Arsenal FC played their very first game in the league.  It was  against Newcastle United.

Here’s a match report, from the Newcastle Daily Journal found by Newcastle blogger Eddy McKenzie.  The local paper couldn’t get Arsenal’s name right (the name was changed from Royal Arsenal to Woolwich Arsenal when the league insisted that the club had to be a limited company – and limited companies were not allowed to use the word “Royal” in their name.)

Royal Arsenal-v- Newcastle United.

At Plumstead, London in beautifully fine weather, before 6,000 spectators. It is the first League match that has ever been played in London. The ground was in splendid condition.

Arsenal won the toss and had a light wind behind them. They had considerably the best of the play in the first half. Which was not of high order. Both showing want of practice. Shaw scored a very soft goal for Arsenal 8 minutes after the start. And kept the visitors pressed, till just before the change, when Newcastle rallied, and had bad luck in not scoring.

With the wind in their favour, Newcastle played better and 20 minutes later Graham scored from a scrimmage. Sorley equalised and play in the last 10 minutes very exciting. But nothing further was scored. Newcastle had decidedly the best of the second half.

The Second Half: Newcastle United 2 Royal Arsenal 2.


Now for the team.  All were born in England apart from those noted.   And there are links to each one on this site if you want to know more.

1: CA Williams: went on to manage Denmark and in Brazil.

2: J Powell: Our first captain who died of injuries on the pitch

3: WW Jeffrey: The right back who was a keeper

4: D Devine: Lost to history.  (Scottish)

5: R Buist: I thought he caused us to go pro, but I was wrong.  (Scottish)

6: D Howat: The mystery man

7: D Gemmell: Even more of a mystery man (Scottish)

8: J Henderson: Rifleman, champions medal, Arsenal, and then… (Scottish)

9: W Shaw: scored our first ever league goal

10: A Elliott: Arsenal’s untraceable record holder

11: C Booth: the first man to play for Arsenal and Tottenham?


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