11th April 1910. The football world cries “cheat” as Arsenal beat the champions

Woolwich Arsenal 1, Aston Villa 0.

Played early monday evening, in front of a crowd of just 8000.   And certain sectors of the footballing establishment went beserk.

If you have read the report of the game from two days before when Woolwich Arsenal drew with low-lying Bury, you’ll know that it left the table looking like this…

  • Bury………………..… Played 34 Points 29
  • Middlesbrough.…… Played 34 Points 28
  • Woolwich Arsenal….Played 35 Points 28
  • Tottenham Hotspur..Played 34 Points 27
  • Bristol City……..……Played 34 Points 27
  • —————————————————————-
  • Chelsea…….………Played 35 Points 27
  • Bolton Wanderers…Played 35 Points 22

You will also know that Aston Villa had just walked away with the league.  The top of the league looked like this at the start of the match against Woolwich Arsenal…

  • Aston Villa………… Played 34 Points 49
  • Blackburn Rovers… Played 34 Points 41
  • Liverpool………….. Played 34 Points 41

So with just four games to go for Villa, they had walked away with the league.  The journey to Woolwich was known (as I have mentioned before) as the “day out in Hell” because of the difficulties involved in the journey (train to London, tube across the city, and then a long and very infrequent tram ride out into the Kent countryside.)

It was that last part of the journey which everyone hated, and it was an evening kick off which meant trying to find accommodation for the players in the small Kent towns of Plumstead (where the ground was) and Woolwich (which was basically a military town by the Thames).

So Villa gave their first team the day off and sent down the reserves to get some practice.

Woolwich Arsenal has their regular team out – except that back for only his second game was CE McGibbon – the hero of the hour in the match against Chelsea on March 28th, when he scored the only goal.

There’s more about McGibbon in a separate article already on this site, but so far his record was played one, scored one, won one.

And in the late afternoon rain of 11th April 1910 against the league champions (or least their reserves) he did it again.  Woolwich Arsenal 1 Aston Villa 0, goal scored by McGibbon.

And the table now looked like this…

  • Preston North End…. Played 35 Points 30
  • Woolwich Arsenal…….Played 36 Points 30
  • Bury……….………… Played 34 Points 29
  • Middlesbrough……… Played 34 Points 28
  • Tottenham Hotspur…..Played 34 Points 27
  • Bristol City……………Played 34 Points 27
  • —————————————————————-
  • Chelsea…….………Played 35 Points 27
  • Bolton Wanderers……Played 35 Points 22

That’s why everyone at the foot of the table was so annoyed with Villa.  That result took Woolwich Arsenal right out of the mire – and they got it playing a reserve team.

Woolwich Arsenal had two games left again…

Tottenham Hotspur and Preston North End.  Technically Woolwich Arsenal could still go down, but it seemed unlikely that everyone below them would win their remaining games, and Woolwich Arsenal would lose.

The game against Tottenham would be the great decider on April 16.  A draw there would probably be enough to ensure safety – unless everyone else pulled multiple rabbits out of hats.

You can read the history of 1910 from the perspective of a Fleet Street journalist in Making the Arsenal

The everyday story of Arsenal today is on Untold Arsenal

One Reply to “11th April 1910. The football world cries “cheat” as Arsenal beat the champions”

  1. does any gooners on here have faith in


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