Most if this article has appeared already on Woolwich Arsenal, but I am repeating here to give a complete collection of articles on the players who turned out for the first match of the 1910/11 season as a preview to the 100th anniversary of the season.
Frank Heppinstall was an outside left who also played inside left for Woolwich Arsenal in the 1909/10 season and briefly in the following season. In total he made 23 league appearance becoming a regular fixture in the latter half of his first season and the start of his second and final season.
He was born in South Hiendley in 1885 and started playing with Denaby United before moving to Barnsley, then back to Denaby, onto Swindon Town and then to Woolwich Arsenal.
After he left us he moved to Stalybridge Celtic and finally Hamilton Academical. We have no known date of his death.
Denaby United, Frank’s first club was a vigorous non-league club in a small mining town, and it would seem likely that Frank worked as a miner at the same time as playing for them.
According to Wikipedia Denaby United F.C. were active in the lower levels of English football in South Yorkshire for over 107 years but following what appears from the outside to be a gross act of cultural vandalism they were evicted from their home ground by the Denaby & Cadeby Miners’ Welfare.
They reached the first round of the FA Cup on two different occasions and were champions of the Northern Counties East League Premier Division in 1996/7.
Details such as this, and the single connection with Arsenal are those which we try to collect here. Research on the internet suggests no one from his home town celebrates the success of perhaps their footballer who made it into the First Division, which is another sad reflection on the way the history of football is written, rather than the players and their families.
His first game with Arsenal was playing number 11 in the away match at Villa on 1 September 1909 and his final match was coincidentally also away to Villa on September 17th just over a year later.