Arsenal prepare for the close season in fear and trepidation

With one more saturday of the season to go, but no game to play, Woolwich Arsenal could watch the rest of the world of football, and look at the shambles of their own finances, and wonder.

In the league itself, Bolton Wanderers were already relegated, and Aston Villa had won the title.

At the bottom several of the clubs in the relegation zone were playing each other on the final day, so there was a lot of uncertainty.  Tottenham and Chelsea were both there, along with Middlesbrough and Bristol City – it looked impossible to say who would fall.

In Division II it was equally close: Manchester City, Derby, Oldham, and Hull all had a chance to go up.  But at the bottom Grimsby and Birmingham City were adrift of the pack, and would have to reapply for membership of the league.

Their futures were certainly not assured since almost every year at this time, one or more teams dropped out of the league, although in the odd way these things worked, they were more than likely to come back a year or two later.

In 1908 for example Lincoln had left the league, only to return one year later, and then to be voted out again in 1911.

As for London and those near London clubs (such as Tottenham and Woolwich Arsenal), it was not a good time.  The three clubs in the first division could well be reduced to two, and both of those had only just missed relegation.  The two London clubs in division II (Fulham and Orient) were hardly setting the world alight, and had spent the season in mid-table (Fulham) and the lower reaches (Orient.)

And there were not even any new clubs on the horizon except possibly for West Ham, and they did not get league status until after the war, when the league was extended in 1919.

In an attempt to bring in a few pounds more Arsenal arranged a couple of friendlies once the season was over – against Colchester and Ilford.

But for now the main interest turned to Henry Norris.

Tony Attwood

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