By Mark Andrews and Andy Kelly
After our last post regarding shareholdings we were sent some very interesting 1910, 1911 and 1914 registers of shareholders.
While various sources on the net have alluded in the past to Glasgow Rangers holding shares in The Arsenal, these lists show that they did purchase 2 shares sometime in the latter part of 1910 and early 1911. They still hold shares, but their current holding is either a continuation of these early ones which due to share splits has now become a total of 16 shares or alternatively they were gifted some in the 1930s for assisting when Woolwich Arsenal were in financial straights, which they certainly were in 1910. This initial purchase was possibly prompted by George Morrell the Woolwich manager at the time and fellow shareholder, who had been at Rangers previously.
Whatever the real reason for their accumulation of 16 shares, their current parlous state suggests they would do well to sell, as financially Rangers appear to an outsider to be in a similar position to Woolwich Arsenal 100 years ago. [Update 16 May 2013 – Rangers sold these shares in their recent turbulent financial period]
However two other teams felt that Woolwich Arsenal were the kind of football company they wanted to be a part of.
The first team was Fulham who at around the same time as Rangers purchased one share. They disposed of this share sometime between the first and second world wars. Their purchase was understandable as at this period Hall and Norris were heading up both clubs.
The second team may be a surprise, but not if you read the title, for they were none other than our old friends: Tottenham Hotspur, who purchased one share sometime between May and July 1910. (The July date is our best assumption of when they sold it, but their name was still in the logs in 1916 with the total crossed out).
This purchase was not from a friendly team helping out another as at this period the teams were rivals; they had replaced Millwall as Woolwich Arsenal’s chief adversary for the past few seasons.
On the other hand if it was a hostile attempt to take over it was pretty poor as they only purchased one share and would have needed approximately 600 to gain control from Hall, Leavey and Norris.