Heroes of the early Arsenal: Frank Heppinstall

Heroes of the early Arsenal: Frank Heppinstall

Frank Heppinstall was an outside left who also played inside left for Woolwich Arsenal in the 1909/10 season and briefly in the following season.  In total he made 23 league appearance becoming a regular fixture in the latter half of his first season and the start of his second and final season.

He was born in South Hiendley in 1885 and started playing with Denaby United before moving to Barnsley, then back to Denaby, onto Swindon Town and then to Woolwich Arsenal.

After he left us he moved to Stalybridge Celtic and finally Hamilton Academical.  We have no known date of his death.

Denaby United, Frank’s first club was a vigerous non-league club in a small mining town, and it would seem likely that Frank worked as a miner at the same time as playing for them.

According to Wikipedia Denaby United F.C. were active in the lower levels of English football in South Yorkshire for over 107 years but following what appears from the outside to be a gross act of cultural vandalism they were evicted from their home ground by the Denaby & Cadeby Miners’ Welfare.

They reached the first round of the FA Cup on two different occasions and were champions of the Northern Counties East League Premier Division in 1996/7.

Details such as this, and the single connection with Arsenal are those which we try to collect here.  Research on the internet suggests no one from his home town celebrates the success of perhaps their footballer who made it into the First Division, which is another sad reflection on the way the history of football is written, rather than the players and their families.

His first game with Arsenal was playing number 11 in the away match at Villa on 1 September 1909 and his final match was coincidentally also away to Villa on September 17th just over a year later.

(c) Tony Attwood 2010.



  • Chief Inspector Billy the Dog McGraw on problems at Chelsea click herewith
  • Football3s is a new free to play, in match, fantasy football experience which you play in real-time whilst watching the live televised game.  We are featuring Arsenal’s match with Liverpool next Wednesday.  Players also have the chance to win £100. Please take a look at our site: http://football3s.com
  • How Chelsea fixed their way into the league click here
  • The doings of Henry Norris, and all the events of 1910, click here
  • Do you have any thoughts on the history of Arsenal – ideally 100 years ago in 1910, but also in the years surrounding that period?  If so, please consider writing for us.  Email Tony@hamilton-house.com

3 Replies to “Heroes of the early Arsenal: Frank Heppinstall”

  1. Hi, Frank Heppinstall was my G Aunts 2nd husband. They married before he went to Hamilton Academicals. In 1912 they emigrated to the USA and eventually he became a fishmonger. We think he went to play football but it didn’t take off as a sport in the US. He died in the 60’s in Connecticut.

  2. Cousin Sue….Grandpa played briefly in Bridgeport, Connecticut. His family stayed in Connecticut, with the exception of son Leslie, who went to Florida. Grandpa was never known as a fishmonger, but, did work for the insulation manufacturer, Johns Manville. Ironically, it was asbestosis contracted via that work that killed him instead of the usual black lung that downs a miner.

    Frank’s team photos have hung proudly in my folk’s home for many years.

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