One of the great things about studying football history is that one keeps coming across little known oddities which give just a tiny insight into the world of Arsenal. The problem is that quite often they just don’t give enough information, and I am left desperately searching for a proper explanation.
Let me give one example.
On 26 January 1895 there was an “incident” in the Division II match between Woolwich Arsenal and Burton Wanderers. The few reference books that mention this “incident” (which I suspect have each copied the information from each other) refer to it as something that involved the referee.
As a result the Woolwich Arsenal ground was closed for four weeks. Not surprisingly, given that this was only the second season that Arsenal were in the league, it was the first time it had happened, although disturbances were not that uncommon – particularly in Scotland. Given that at the time the Woolwich team was made up largely of Scottish players (as was the munitions factory made up of Scottish workers), it seems the fans may have brought their habits with them.
But that is supposition. The fact is apart from the fact that the ground was closed for a month, and that the incident involved the ref, I know nothing. (If you have a source, do let me know!)
Did the players attack the ref? Did the fans attack the ref? Did the Arsenal manager attack the ref? Somewhere there must be a record of this event, but I can’t find it.
We do know that the crowd was 7,000 and that the match was a draw – and that as a consequence of the ban the records show Arsenal playing their next two home games at New Brompton and Leyton. But that’s about it.
I don’t condone violence of course, but there is something inside me that is somehow rather pleased that the problems within football grounds that were around earlier in my football watching career were not just my generation having a punch up. I don’t want to be seen to encouraging any kind of violence, but it does give me a deeper understanding of the whole history of football in the
And of course we were not alone. Ground closures were common as the old timers who ran the Football League and the toffs who ran the FA tried to keep things under control.
The book, “Making the Arsenal” which features the year 1910 will be available on October 30th price £12.99 plus delivery. Details will appear on this site shortly. Meanwhile there are more details about Arsenal today on www.blog.emiratesstadium.info