Stories circulate about Arsenal’s financial problems.

10 January 1910 and the death of Woolwich Arsenal gets closer and closer The desperate hope at the end of 1909 had been that Woolwich Arsenal could return to the winning streak (well, at least, a non-losing streak) that they had had in late November and early December. A few good wins, the crowds would …

Preparing for Sheffield United. Woolwich Arsenal in 1910

100 years ago no matches were being postponed so probably the weather was not so troublesome as it was 100 years later.  Mind you 100 years ago it would have taken a volcano or fog to postpone a game.  Health and safety had not yet been invented. So next up was Sheffield United away – …

If we could go back to Arsenal 100 years ago, what would the club look like?

January 1910, and Arsenal played in Woolwich. We were in the First Division, but had never won any of the major trophies, such as the League or the Cup.   The nearest we had come to was being in the semi final of the FA Cup two years running. The ground could hold around 33,000, but …

2010: the year of three major Arsenal Anniversaries

Anniversaries come in all shapes and sizes. Just a month ago, at the end of 2009, we had the 100th anniversary of the first ever league match against Tottenham Hotspur.  In 2010 we have three big ones. First in 2010 is the 100th anniversary of the forming of the modern club.   In January 1910 Woolwich …

A miserable start to the new year for Arsenal

1st January 1910, the start of what was to be the most momentous year in the history of  Woolwich Arsenal FC.  The year that changed everything.  The year that saw the birth of the modern Arsenal FC. It was a traumatic year, and it started badly. Already near the foot of the table, Arsenal went …

A miserable end to the year for some, great excitement for others.

We might be having a few celebrations at the end of 2009, but one hundred years ago the outlook was not so fine for Woolwich Arsenal supporters. We had had our min-revival that had lifted us out of the relegation zone, but then, just when it looked like we could make a concerted effort to …

Do you know anything about Woolwich Arsenal reserves? If so please help.

What happened in terms of reserve football 100 years ago? The notion of a club playing in several leagues at once was well established,  but did the notion of having a reserve team playing football in their own league also exist in 1909? The edition of Arsenal A Complete Record which I have includes a …

27th December 1909. Woolwich Arsenal vs Liverpool

After two home defeats (against Notts County and Newcastle) in the Christmas period, 1909, Woolwich Arsenal finally managed to salvage a point from a home game, drawing one all in front of 15,000. It was the very least needed, given that the next match on January 1 1910 was Liverpool away. The only surprise in …

Liverpool: a team meandering

Next up for Woolwich Arsenal 100 years ago, after the disaster of Christmas Day, was Liverpool at home. At that time everyone knew the background: Liverpool were formed by the left-overs of Everton. When Everton moved out of Anfield Road and trotted off to the Goodison Park, a bunch of malcontents stayed behind and formed …

How could we lose to Newcastle on Xmas Day?

How indeed! But that is what happened at Christmas 1909.  The club had been favoured with three home games in a row.  Newcastle had to travel south on Christmas Eve and probably stay in a grotty hotel.   A trip to Woolwich was called “a trip to hell” by the northern clubs because of the problems …

100 years ago: next up Newcastle at home on Christmas Day

Christmas Day at Woolwich Arsenal in 1909 – Arsenal play Newcastle.  Nice and easy for Woolwich, being at home, but one hell of a long journey for the visitors.   And remember this was not just a rail trip to London.  100 years ago Woolwich was a a small town in remote Kent, with only an …

Arsenal were on such a run, and then…

The run of two draws and then three wins had taken Woolwich Arsenal out of the relegation zone by December 1909 and things were surely looking up. Notts County were a high flying team – 3rd at the time – but still on this form, and at home (which no none-London team liked coming to, …

The days when pro footballers would play three games in three days

In my last post I mentioned the time when Arsenal played three games in three days. I wrote that piece just before Wolverhampton W created a storm in the EPL by actually changing their team around because the players couldn’t manage two tough games in four days. What is interesting is that in 1904 when …

Five first team games in seven days. Christmas the Arsenal way.

Go back 100 years and you would find Christmas then similar to Christmas today.   Presents were exchanged (all tied up with string), there was an emphasis on religion, and it was a public holiday – although less so than now.  Families got together, and there was a lot of drinking. No TV and no radio …

100 years ago Arsenal beat Preston to move up to 15th

It was the most unlikely result. There certainly was gambling on football 100 years ago, but I don’t know if anyone gambled on actual scores.  If they did , they would never have picked this result in a million goes. Woolwich Arsenal went into the match just about crawling out of the relegation zone.  Preston …

Preparing for Proud Preston, Passion and Possible Progress

Actually in that headline the bit that is most unlikely is the Passion.  By 1909 the once Invincibles had declined and were in a backwater of football, where crowds of  between 3,000 to 7,000 were commonplace. Preston North End had wonthe first league (1888/9) without losing a game – impressive, but not too hard when …

Looking for the origins of the footballer spy…

Looking at the records of Woolwich Arsenal it is clear that player longevity at a club was a rarity. Look up the records and you will find that the vast majority of players played maybe a dozen or so games for the club and then moved on elsewhere.  Transfers (probably without any fee) were commonplace …

Why was football so popular 100 years ago?

Back in 1909 football crowds in the First Division were highly variable – a bit like the Scottish Premier League 100 years later. Chelsea and Manchester United could get crowds of up to 60,000 or even more.  Bristol City, Bury and Preston NE would often be around the 6,000 mark. But crowds were variable not …

100 years on and still the same problem: no Arsenal centre forwards.

Of course the similarities between Woolwich Arsenal in 1909 and Arsenal 2009 are small.  It is the same club (the shares issued in Woolwich Arsenal after it was taken over by Henry Norris are the same shares as we have now) and the traditions of the club continue. But the style and approach to the …

Yesterday was 100 years since the 1st Totts game, today is 500 games under Wenger

This is, of course, a site that deals with the history of Arsenal FC, particularly what happened 100 years ago. And for the past two days I have been writing about the first ever game between Woolwich Arsenal and Tottenham which took place on 4 December 1909. But today (5 December 2009) we should celebrate …

100 years ago today: the first ever Arsenal/Tottenham game

So here we are at last: the first of the centenaries that this site was set up to celebrate.  100 years to the day when the first game between Woolwich Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur was played. I wrote in the last article about the comparative situation of the two clubs – Woolwich Arsenal established in …

Trying to improve while Tottenham stand in the way

2 December 1909 And so it was that Arsenal, having got their mini revival moving along with a win and two draws, and having dragged themselves off the bottom of the First Division for the first time this season, had to play hosts to Tottenham. But it is important not to see this as a …

A history of corruption in English football

On UNTOLD ARSENAL after the Chelsea game I wrote a piece in which I suggested that some matches in the English Premier League are fixed.  It is a debate that continues on that site. But it made me think it might be worth a meander around the time that this site deals with, in terms …

Bury are favourites, as they take on Arsenal

November 27, 1909: 100 years ago today. Bury v Woolwich Arsenal Woolwich were bottom of the league, with just two wins all season.  But there had been a slight glimmer of hope.   The desperate defence had stopped leaking five or six goals a game, and the club had actually drawn the last two matches. Bury …

Arsenal sign Olympic Gold Medalist

If you’ve been following any of this story you’ll know that one of the key problems in the 1909/1910 season was that we couldn’t find a centre forward.  We’d even converted our centre half into a centre forward, and still nothing worked.  Players came in and went out, getting one or two games before moving …