What sort of man was Norris?
In 1910 he took the club over, and over the coming years turned Arsenal into a prime force in English football. He moved the club to Highbury, he took us into the First Division and kept us there, and then brought in Herbert Chapman.
But what sort of man was he?
He was Mayor of Fulham, a mason, and a member of the Unionist (later known as the Conversative) Party. He demanded that he got his own way, and that is what he got. He trod on people who got in the way, but at the same time he was very likely to help the little man, the man in the street.
Norris had left school at 14, and earned his fortune as a property developer in Fulham. He didn’t like anyone criticising him, and worked hard to get his own view across in the club programme, in the local press, and even in his own weekly paper.
If anyone ever dared to challenge Norris his response was to fight – often by taking legal action. Indeed it was Norris’ willingness to challenge everything he didn’t like in court that was his final undoing.
Norris therefore was not the sort of man you might choose to have as the founder of your modern club – and yet that was the guy who removed Woolwich Arsenal from its backwater in
The book MAKING THE ARSENAL does not hide Norris’ character – in fact the book digs into his past and looks at every trick he got up – and some he might have got up to. This is not a whitewash of Norris – by being written as a novel it develops the personality of the man who singlehandedly made the Arsenal.
You can place an advance order for “Making the Arsenal” by visiting our on line shop. There’s more information there, plus a link to a sample of the book. Meanwhile on UNTOLD ARSENAL there is an interview with the author.
© Tony Attwood 2009