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July 2020
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Arsenal avoid relegation 100 years ago

The first ever Tottenham v Arsenal match at the White Hart Lane ground ended 1-1, 100 years ago.   With that result Woolwich Arsenal were safe for another season – although it had hardly been a classic year.

The result also meant that Tottenham were probably safe, but that was dependent on the results in the final round of matches.

And would you believe it, the goal came from McGibbon, the man who saved us with the victories against Chelsea and the Villa.  Single handedly the new centre forward (see the special feature on him) had save Woolwich Arsenal – not just from relegation but also from oblivion.

During April 1910 Henry Norris had been losing interest in Woolwich Arsenal with the growing thought that Arsenal were going to be relegated.   With Norris already owning Croydon Common in the Southern League, and Fulham in Division II, he was not really interested in a bust Arsenal in Division II.

This matter was made clearer as the story began to break that he was interested in Reading – quite probably with the thought of moving Reading to Fulham’s ground, playing on alternative weekends and rivaling Chelsea – who were looking more and more likely to slip into the second division next weekend.

Indeed, Reading’s financial situation was widely publicised, and Fulham arranged a friendly match against Reading – exactly as he had done against Woolwich Arsenal when he started sniffing around the Kent club.

With Arsenal safe in Division I however Norris started to look east instead of west once again, and with just one match left to go there was a thought he was looking at every alternative.

There was another major match this weekend 100 years ago – England beat France 10-1.

Bottom clubs

14.  Woolwich Arsenal.  Play 37.  Points: 31

15.  Bury.  Played 35.  Points: 29

16.  Middlesboro.  Played 35.  Points: 29

17.  Bristol.  Played 35.  Points: 29

18. Tottenham.  Played 35.  Points: 28

19.  Chelsea.  Played 36.  Points: 27

20.  Bolton.  Played 36.  Points: 24

Clubs in 19th and 20th go down to Division II.  Two points for a win.  Total games for the season 38.  Final matches played during this week 100 years ago, and next weekend.

You can read the whole story of 1910 in the book Making the Arsenal.

And there is more on Arsenal today on Untold Arsenal

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