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A miserable end to the year for some, great excitement for others.

We might be having a few celebrations at the end of 2009, but one hundred years ago the outlook was not so fine for Woolwich Arsenal supporters.

We had had our min-revival that had lifted us out of the relegation zone, but then, just when it looked like we could make a concerted effort to climb up the league, Christmas came along and we were scuppered.

There were persistent rumours of the club being in real financial trouble, and those stories explained why we were not buying in new players to get us out of the problems on the pitch.  All the newcomers were just men with a spot of playing experience who turned up, got a few games, and then were dropped again.

The actual Christmas period had been awful…

  • December 18, Notts County (home) lost 1-2
  • December 25, Newcastle (home) lost 0-3
  • December 27, Liverpool (home) drew 1-1

Now we prepared for 1st January 1910, Liverpool away.

This was the Edwardian era, the time of fun, excitement, new inventions, new technology.  Every day you could  see something new on the streets.  OK it was not much good if you were old or unemployed, for their were no pensions and no unemployment pay in those days, but for those with a job or an income from land or investment, this was a good time to be around.

There would be a general election in 1910 which could see a major change in government direction.   The Suffragettes were gaining in influence.  The working classes were exercising their industrial might.   It was a time of change, and time to be part of the change.

Of course the ruling classes were far from happy – the landed gentry feared the uprisings, and feared that the middle class radicals could revolutionise the whole country.  The conservatives were not too sure about things, but for everyone else, this was a moment of opportunity.

Even the fortune tellers were having a great time – what with the coming of Haley’s Comet next year.  People were already talking about being able to see it during the day, and it lighting up the whole sky at night.

On the throne we had the most lecherous king ever to grace Buckingham Palace.   Universally known as Edward the Caresser the palace staff were under strict instructions never to leave his majesty alone with a woman – any woman – for even a second.

There were no licensing laws, and just about every fifth house along each street was a public house.  Trade was booming, London was the centre of world trade, and England was industry’s powerhouse.

The only cloud around (for those who cared about such things) was the fact that Woolwich Arsenal were in dire trouble.   The story continues here, as we follow the most dramatic events in the history of the club – events which in the coming months were to secure the basis of the club that we follow today.

Tony Attwood, 31 December 2009

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