Behold! The programme for the first ever game at Highbury 99 years ago.


Ordinary is Pointless


By Tony Attwood

If you are a regular reader you will know that this site is taking a long run up towards the 100th anniversary of the move of Woolwich Arsenal FC from Plumstead to the ground that we eventually got to know as “Highbury”.

The reason for this is that although it is easy to celebrate the day of the first game, what such an approach will miss is any reference to the way in which the move was arranged, and indeed the why and wherefore of the arrangement of the move.

But having written out the chronology of the move in the last article, and having announced our competition which allows you to win a copy of the Woolwich Arsenal (links to both of which below) I thought it would be nice to add the cover of the very first Woolwich Arsenal programme at the new ground.

Here it is… (there’s a gap at the bottom as my skills with a scanner are not up to much, but the story continues below the picture.  Just scroll down…

The fact that servicemen are holding up the banner clearly continues the identity of the club with the military – and indeed it was this that the club was known for.  It was the club of the army and navy – the club that was formed by the workers who built the weapons that defended the Empire.

The club’s name is clear at the top, as are the directors.  Notice it runs from Henry Norris (not yet knighted or in parliament) through to Jack Humble who was with the club from 1897, and who was the ultimate link with the club’s origins.

You might also particularly like to notice the colours: “Red shirts, white knicks”.  They were still, as always, “The Reds”.


The Great History of Arsenal Competition:Complete with lovely prizes

And: From Plumstead to Islington – the chronology


4 Replies to “Behold! The programme for the first ever game at Highbury 99 years ago.”

  1. I have one like this.
    Its looks almost 100 years old.
    I went to Highbury with my father in the late 1950’s to mid 60’s
    We both had season tickets but my seat was a few rows away from my father.
    As i was only 7 or 8 an old chap in the next seat looked out for me and gave me some of his old programmes. My father kept them and following his death i was looking through all the old progs and found the programme just as above.
    Is it an original given to by the old chap i sat next to 1957 or a reproduction?
    Was there a reproduction produced for the 50th year (1963)? My father could have got it then?
    It would be nice to know – Thanks

  2. Adrian, what colour is the cover and what size is it?

    The reproduction in 1963 was included within the programme for the home game v Leicester on 21 December.

  3. Thanks for your reply Andy – which set me thinking…
    I have the 63 reproduction.
    I compared the size with a 63/64 programme and it is exactly the same.
    There is no outer red cover and the staples are rusty just like the 63/64 programmes.
    I don’t have the 21/12 Leicester programme though – which is odd as my father went to every game then.

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