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Woolwich Arsenal 100 years ago: Saturday 19th Feb 1910

Woolwich Arsenal had no match on February 19th 1910, this being designated Third Round day for the FA Cup.

Arsenal had beaten Watford in round one, and lost to Everton in round 2, and that was that.

By the third round there were 16 clubs left, and all were played on the same day.  No TV interruption then, largely because TV had not been invented – although interestingly some matches were filmed and shown as silent movies in cinemas the following week.

There were a number of smaller teams still in the competition – such as Queens Park Rangers who had a match against West Ham, but what is interesting is that none of the 16 clubs in the competition at this point were names that would be utterly unfamiliar to us.

In fact the only name you would not find on the list of clubs liable to be in the 3rd round today is Leicester Fosse.

It is tempting to say that Leicester Fosse was just an early name of Leicester City FC, but this is to skate over an episode in the club’s history that they like to forget.

The club was formed in 1884 by a group of ex pupils of a local school and played in various grounds joining the Midland League in 1891, before getting into Division II of the Football League in 1894.   In the 1907/8 season they got promotion to the First Division but were immediately relegated.

They carried on but in 1919 the club ceased trading just as the League was ready to resume and the general view is that this was due to “financial difficulties.”   As much of the story on this site is about Woolwich Arsenal in 1910 when Arsenal went into liquidation, it is clear that clubs from the era were no less likely to go bust than in the current day.

But the club was then reformed as Leicester City Football Club and this new club took over the place of the old club despite its disappearance.

Of course the War had disrupted everything and normal regulations often did not apply, but questions were asked at the time – not least because the leagues were being expanded for the new season, and several clubs were hoping that with the demise of Leicester Fosse they might get in.  Arsenal as we know got into the first division after exposing the match fixing of Liverpool and Manchester United, and there are stories that this sort of event was commonplace in both divisions of the League.

Leicester had financial problems in October 2002, and went into administration with debts of £30 million.  They were banned from signing new players, but not docked any points.  In fact it was this administration that led to the introduction of the 10 point off rule for clubs that seek this way out of their problems.

“Making the Arsenal” is a novel about the collapse and rebirth of Woolwich Arsenal in 1910.  Read more about it here.

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