8th March 1890 – Royal Arsenal Players: Richard Horsington, the injury prone businessman

By Mark Andrews @royalarsenalMRA


Richard Thomas Horsington: 1889-1890

On the anniversary of Royal Arsenal’s defeat in their first  London Senior Cup Final on 8th March 1890, we highlight the player whose serious injury at the start of the game unfortunately contributed to their defeat by Old Westminsters 0-1. It is worth mentioning that all the other times Royal Arsenal managed to get to a Final they won the respective Trophy on offer.

Born in 1866 at  Highworth, Swindon, Horsington played for his local side Swindon Town in 1886-87, 1887-88 and at the start of the 1888-89 season, however he moved to Royal Arsenal during the 1888-98 season coincidentally being an engine fitter, so he was found a job at the Ordnance factory.

He played his first game for the club on 5th January 1889 against Vulcan, playing 9 games that season. He was an outside right and scored in the first FA Cup match ever played by an Arsenal team against Lyndhurst on 5th October 1889 in an 11-0 drubbing.

He received a runners-up medal from the London Senior Cup final in 1890 against Old Westminsters on 8th March 1890 at the Oval. Unfortunately an injury he received which was serious enough for him to miss the rest of the match, and indeed rest of the season, early on in the game hampered Royal Arsenal and they narrowly lost 0-1 playing with ten men. The Old Westminster half back who fouled Horsington in the Final, Henry Harrison became Nationalist MP for Mid-Tipperary just over two months later on 15th May 1890.

Horsington therefore missed the finals for the Kent Senior Cup and London Charity Cup victories later in the season and he never played again for the first team. The following excerpt from South Eastern Herald on 14th March 1890 highlights just how injury prone he was:

In season 1890-91 he turned out twice at the start of the campaign for the reserves scoring twice. His final game for the club was against Cray Wanderers on 4thOctober 1890 in which he was again badly injured, but he never recovered and he retired. Horsington’s overall career for the club included 34 first team matches, in which he scored ten times.

He became a respected local businessman who later in life regularly played in the Plumstead traders versus Woolwich traders charity matches, played on the Manor Ground. He also played on occasion for local junior teams in goal.

Richard Horsington took over arch pantomime villain George Pike Weaver’s Mineral Company, presumably soon after Weaver died in 1896. Arthur Plummer was also involved with this company which ran until 22 May 1914 when they closed operations.

Horsington and Plummer as business partners also ran the Fountain Pub (132 Plumstead Road) which was next to the Railway Tavern (131 Plumstead Road). The Railway Tavern was used as the player’s dressing room when Horsington started playing for the club. Additionally his wife Kate, who Horsington married in 1891, assisted with the Fountain public house.

He died in 1928 leaving over £18,000 in his will. This is equivalent to about £850,000 today.


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