Life in the old days – an extract from Jacko Jones diary

Making the Arsenal is a record of the diary of Jacko Jones, football reporter with the Daily Chronicle in Fleet Street.   You can read more about it on this site – and the whole book will be published at the end of October 2009.


Meanwhile here is one day’s extract from the diary.


Saturday 5th February


Cup day. I suppose they make so much fuss about it because they keep hoping one of the London old timer teams like Wanderers or Clapham Rovers will win it again. All we’ve had since the old days is one win by Tottenham Hotspur when they were in the Southern League. Worse, as far as I know Wanderers and Clapham are gone to a football graveyard.


(My dad goes to see the Corinthians sometimes – but of course they won’t enter for the FA Cup – it is against their charter to play competitively. Dad told me that he watched them play Dulwich and half way through the second half the Cors got a penalty and instead of shooting for goal just tapped it back to the Dulwich goalie. Corinthians never believe that a gentleman would deliberately commit a foul and so they wouldn’t take advantage. Can’t see that working against those Scots playing for Woolwich.)


The fact is that since they moved the final to the Crystal Palace it’s been mostly Midlands and Northern teams that get through – and anyone who thinks Woolwich is hard to get to gets a surprise with the Palace. True, Bristol City got to a final last year of course, but which self-respecting Londoner is going to go down to the Palace and see Manchester beat Bristol 1-0?


I had taken my latest findings on Norris to the boss on Friday night. He wasn’t too impressed, but told me to keep going. He said my piece on spies was on the fifth floor and they were thinking about handing me over to the Tower of London, but they were very taken with Edward, and that meanwhile I should do a piece on the discovery of coal in the Outer Hebrides.


He then sent us to see Chelsea 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1 which was as boring as Hebridean coal and left me thinking I ought to have opted for a reserve game. Or something in the Southern League. Once again, however, Edward saved the day. At the turnaround I got him to take “photos” (I tried to say the word in inverted commas just for him) of the crowd in the stand. They looked at him in bemusement, and as a result the pictures were great.

Even the second half wasn’t totally useless – in fact there was much ribald laughter in the journalists’ section when there was a commotion on one of those huge terraces that Chelsea have. There was a lot of movement, and then a rush out of one section. When the dust settled, we could see that a whole chunk of terracing had sunk about three feet and become uneven rubble. No one seemed to be hurt, but it shows what a state the place is in. Edward hasn’t quite got the swing of all this because he sat their gawping for a bit until I virtually threw him out of the stand and told him to take pictures.


I’d finished my write-up back in the office by the time the news came through of Everton 5 Woolwich 0 – which will put a lot of extra pressure on the Woolwich Volunteers Committee – it’s not as if Everton are a semi-decent team.


Sometimes I wonder why we have a national league – certainly not for the benefit of London. Fulham were slaughtered by the Geordies 4-0. I then heard Norris that had not even bothered to go to watch his team.


Truth be told, once he gets out of streets that he has built he gets lost. (I doubt that I’ll ever get away with printing that but it is quite amusing).


The latest from the present day can be found on the UNTOLD ARSENAL blog,


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