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Preparing for Sheffield United. Woolwich Arsenal in 1910

100 years ago no matches were being postponed so probably the weather was not so troublesome as it was 100 years later.  Mind you 100 years ago it would have taken a volcano or fog to postpone a game.  Health and safety had not yet been invented.

So next up was Sheffield United away – certain to go ahead.  For Woolwich Arsenal after three defeats and a draw in the last four games things were not looking good, the stories of the financial problems were going, and relegation for the first time was a real possibility.

Sheffield United joined the second division in 1892, and immediately got promotion to the first division.  They were league champions in in 1898 and had been runners twice. and had scored the record away win for the league of 0-10 against Port Vale.

They also ahad a greater level of stability in the playing staff with goalkeeper J Lievesley (152 consecutive league games between 1905 and 1909).   They were also more used to the concept of signing big nake players  – including R Evans from Aston Villa in 1909 – one of the big transfers of the day.

What’s more they had already won tyhe FA Cup twice in 1899 and 1902.

So what we were looking at here was a leading team, a team used to success, and a team that considered themselves very much part of the big time.   Woolwioch Arsenal were very much looking like being at  the other end of the scale

And yet in the previous season (1908-9) Woolwich Arsenal had actually done better than Sheffield United, with Arsenal finishing 6th and Sheffield United 12th – but that turned out to be a single year blip between regular high positions in the league.

Indeed 1909-10 was already looking quite different.  Going into this game Sheffield United were top of the league on 29 points.  Woolwich Arsenal were 17th on 14 points.   The top of the table was tight – only two points separated first from seventh.  At the bottom it was less tight but Arsenal were only two points above Middlesbrough in 19th.  19th and 20th positions were the relegation slots.  And of course it was only two points for a win, not three.

Worse (from an Arsenal perspective) Woolwich Arsenal had only won twice away, and Sheffield United had only lost twice at home.

The omens were not good.

You can follow the whole story of football and the world around it in 1910, through the diary of a Fleet Street journalist in MAKING THE ARSENAL.

And you can read what Arsenal Independent Supporters Assn said about “Making the Arsenal”

Finally you can follow Arsenal in the present day, day by day, on Untold Arsenal.

(c) Tony Attwood 2010

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