Arsenal v Sunderland: another disaster, relegation looms

The disaster that was February 1910 concluded with three games and three defeats, one goal scored, eight let in.  Two league defeats and Woolwich Arsenal were out of the FA Cup as well.

The result was Woolwich Arsenal 1 Sunderland 2, the crowd a mere 8000.  Once again the forward line were awful, and our only goal came from Andy Ducat, the half back.

Next up were two away games at Forest, and Everton (where we had just been knocked out of the FA Cup 5-0.

The league table was looking awful.  We were back in the bottom two (the bottom two would be relegated to the Second Division at the end of the season).  It read

  • 16th  Chelsea played 27, points 21
  • 17th Bolton W played 28, points 18
  • 18th Tottenham H played 25, points 18
  • 19th Woolwich Arsenal played 26, points 18
  • 20th Middlesbrough played 26, points 17

Worse, the crowds were down, not just because of the poor results but also because with the closure of the torpedo factory, things were looking decidedly dodgy for employment in the whole region.

And the club was inching ever closer to administration.

As for the positives…

Henry Norris was starting to make noises about helping the club out.  Fulham had already played a fund raising friendly at Woolwich – although it hardly drew the crowds in – and he was known to have the cash to spare.

And there was just the hope that if Woolwich could hold on, then the other London clubs might go down, leaving Arsenal as the only First Division team in or near London.  That might bring some more people along.

In this regard there was just a little hope in that Bolton and Chelsea above them had played more games.  There were also rumblings about the state of the Chelsea ground, where the terracing was starting to break up.  It was possible that the whole ground might have to shut…

But that was a straw, and it was more or less all Arsenal could cling to.


The story of Woolwich Arsenal in the momentous year of 1910 continues on this site day by day.  You can read the whole story from the perspective of a Fleet Street journalist who covered the events at Woolwich Arsenal in the novel “Making the Arsenal”

Some other articles you might enjoy….

Almunia: are we being unfair. By ex-keeper now referee, Walter Broeckx
The opening of Old Trafford
The manager’s resigned and the league is ending.  Where next for Arsenal?

Our new superstarWellington Silva
The days when football journalists could write, entertain and make us laugh (a true newspaper report about Arsenal in the 1930s)

EPL owes more money than the rest of Euro football combined.

Arsenal win the league: the start of the new golden era.

Why did Arsenal move to Highbury, and not somewhere else?

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