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By Andy Kelly
26th April is a special day for Arsenal FC. On this day in 1910 the club that we support today was re‑born.
The origins of the club go back to late 1886 and it has metamorphosed twice since then. In May 1893 the club was incorporated as a limited liability company – the full story of which is told for the first time in Woolwich Arsenal: The Club That Changed Football – and in 1910 this company was liquidated and a new company was incorporated.
The original limited company was dissolved on 25th April 1910 and the new company came into existence the following day. This company still trades today and continues to carry out its business as Arsenal FC.
The new company was called The Woolwich Arsenal Football And Athletic Company Limited (confusingly, the same name as the old company) and was set up by the club’s benefactor of 11 years, George Leavey, and other local businessmen.
However, this venture failed to get off the ground and within a month Fulham directors Henry Norris and William Hall stepped in to save the ailing club. They did not form a new company but took over the one that Leavey had put together. Without wanting to come across as overly repetitive, the events surrounding the lead up to the liquidation and the formation of the new company are also fully recounted in the book.
The company has gone through two name changes since that day in 1910 and is now officially known as The Arsenal Football Club Public Limited Company. If anyone asks what team you support, you can hold your head high and tell them: The Arsenal. No other Premier League or Football League club has the definite article in front of their name as they all re-incorporated around 1970 and dropped it.
Happy 102nd birthday, The Arsenal (3 points on Saturday would be a nice present).
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