Charlie Buchan appears on the radar

Charlie Buchan was known to be an up and coming footballer in 1910.  He was also known to have an  independent mind, and to be an educated man, who wanted to train as a teacher.

Buchan played  some reserve matches  for Woolwich Arsenal in 1910 but didn’t settle, undoubtedly because of Arsenal’s financial problems, and  by early May 1910 he was doing the rounds looking for a new club.

By 5th May 1910 he was known to be in discussion with Henry Norris over signing a contract which allowed him to carry on with his training as a teacher while playing for Fulham.

According to Buchan, in a subsequent newspaper piece, Norris did not handle the negotiations well, making Buchan an offer of £1/10/- a week (£1. 50p).  Buchan rejected this contemptuously announcing that Bury had already offered him twice as much, and there the matter dropped.

Meanwhile  sales  of  the new shares were going slowly, and nothing much was moving.

And a further problem was lurking just around the corner…

I will move  on to that further problem in the next couple of days, but I have  just hit a brick wall in terms of information – if you  have any knowledge on  this topic  I would  be glad  to hear from you.

In 1910, as we know, a fair proportion  of the shares in Woolwich Arsenal were owned  by Mr  Leavey, the gentleman’s outfitter.

What I want to know is how he got them.  Did he, or his  father perhaps, buy them when the club first became a limited company.  Or did  the club have earlier financial crises which he rescued the  club from?

If you know please write back to the site, or if you prefer, write directly  to me:


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2 Replies to “Charlie Buchan appears on the radar”

  1. Hi Tony.

    Mr Leavey was involved, one way or another, in the club almost from day 1. According to Lingfield’s ‘History and Full Record 1886-1998’ he was certainly a board member by 1898 (probably earlier) and in later years is listed as first Chairman then president.

    I’ve got some more detailed info on him from some research I was doing into the history of the board a few years back and will try and dig it out over the weekend.


    According to this he first got officially involved in 1896.

    Also, incidentally, it is probably more than co-incidence that he had lived in Highbury before we moved there. He was certainly already very close friends with George Allison (then still ‘just’ a reporter despite being the club’s main ‘cheerleader’) and Allison had connections (through his press connections) with the Ecclesiastical Authorities that led to and smoothed out our eventual move. I know there is a belief that the location of the move was down to Norris and his connections via The Masons but I personally don’t believe this for a second and put it down more to Norris’ personal myth building (a common trait at the time). To back the Allison angle up when I was young in the ’70s I was told by a respected member of the Arsenal hierarchy (who is no longer with us which is why I don’t feel comfortable naming him) that without Allison we’d never have moved to Highbury.

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