The major error in reporting Arsenal’s early history, that lasted for a century



Data compiled by Tony Attwood.  Details of some of our special reports and investigations into Arsenal’s history are given on the home page.

Today’s headline relates to 1891 when Arsenal offered to resign from the local football associations.   For decades the club handbook then reported that Arsenal were thrown out of the local associations and struggled to find fixtures, when in fact the opposite was true – Arsenal always attracted the biggest crowds and local teams depended on this fixture to boost their revenues.

25 Years Ago Today: Arsenal finished the league in second place (see 1999 below for more details).

16 May 1881: Teddy Bateup, Arsenal goalkeeper, born.  He is referred to in books as Edward and Edwin, and there is also disagreement about his earliest clubs.  Croydon Glenrose, the Dragoon Guards, and Faversham are all mentioned.

16 May 1891, At its AGM Royal Arsenal voted against forming a Ltd company but in favour of professionalism, and offered to resign from the London FA and the Kent FA – but despite later reports in Arsenal handbooks to the contrary, neither FA took up the offer, with local clubs preferring to continue to play the most prestigious team in the region, and thus pull in the crowds.  It’s a perfect example of Arsenal’s history being written without any fact checking at all.

16 May 1910: Rumours circulated that Tottenham, Chelsea and Rangers FC were trying to buy shares in Woolwich Arsenal FC. See also here.    See here for the Rangers story.

16 May 1912: Arsenal 4 Deutscher Prague 1  This was the third of nine games in Arsenal’s 18 day European tour.

16 May 1922: The final British troops left Ireland.

16 May 1925: Leslie Knighton, Arsenal’s first manager at Highbury, departed to make way for Chapman. It was 23 years before Knighton wrote his autobiography which remorselessly criticised Sir Henry Norris, using a range of allegations which have since been found to be utterly false, and yet are still propagated to this day.

16 May 1934: Jack Crayston joined from Bradford PA for £5250 with George Allison saying he was impressed by his sober lifestyle. He was an immediate success, scoring in his first league appearance and winning the league in his first season.

16 May 1942: Arsenal 1 Brentford 2 – London War Cup Semi-final replay.  37,000 turned up at White Hart Lane – a curious choice of venue since it was Arsenal’s home ground during the war.  However although defeated in the cup Arsenal had already won the London League.

16 May 1962: Jack Kelsey injured his back playing for Wales against Brazil.  As a result he had to retire.  Arsenal was his only senior club, and he played 327 times for the club in the League.  Jack received no compensation from Wales for his loss of his career.

16 May 1980: Arsenal beat Wolverhampton Wanderers away 2-1 to keep the dream of playing in Europe in the following season alive, despite having lost in both the FA and CWC finals. Walford and Stapleton scored.

16 May 1998: Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0.  FA Cup final.  The second double was completed.  (The story continues in part 2 and part 3.)  Without Bergkamp available Arsenal played Christopher Wreh as centre forward rather than Ian Wright.

16 May 1999: Arsenal concluded the season with a 1-0 win over Villa to finish second just one point behind Man U.  More notably however Arsenal finished having conceded 17 goals – their lowest ever total.

16 May 2009: A goalless draw with Manchester United attracted 75,458, celebrating Man U’s title.  Despite this meaning Arsenal had only won one game in five Arsenal were safe in fourth.  Denilson played in the last two games of the season and the first six of the following season but was unable to fully find his form.

16 May 2017: Arsenal 2 Sunderland 0; two goals from Sanchez.  It was one of six consecutive victories in the final games of the season which ended with Arsenal winning the FA Cup – again.

16 May 2022: Having won four games in a row in a push to end in the top four, Arsenal lost their second match in succession, 2-0 to Newcastle.  The result left Arsenal two points behind Tottenham with each club having one game left to play.

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