Pioneers of the South

On 9 May 1891 the members of Royal Arsenal Football Club caused a sensation on the London football scene when they voted to turn professional. The governing body for football in London were staunchly amateur, heavily influenced by the “old boys” network of public schools.

Royal Arsenal had been forced into this situation after losing a number of their players to the professional clubs in the Midlands and the North. Being the best club in London and the South had led to them becoming victims of their own success.

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Arsenal’s Record Transfer Fee Progression

Ever since Aston Villa broke the three-figure barrier for Willie Groves in 1893, the game has been obsessed with the value of footballers. Arsenal took a long time to join the big boys mainly due to financial difficulties caused by the Boer War at the end of the 1890s, the scaling down of the Royal Arsenal in the first decade of the 20th Century both of which resulted in reductions of attendances, and the costs incurred in the building of Highbury. Read More →

Owner, majority shareholder or something else?

If you’ve read any books that tell the history of Arsenal (or even Chelsea or Tottenham) it is very likely that you would have read about Henry Norris arriving like a knight in shining armour to save Arsenal from extinction in 1910. Some histories will say that he bought the club, some will say that he was the majority shareholder.

However, neither is correct. And by quite a considerable way.

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Terracing from the Invicta Ground

Extant concrete terracing from the Invicta Ground, Plumstead

Arsenal’s home between 1890 and 1893 was the Invicta Ground. It was a monumental location as Royal Arsenal moved there as an amateur team, but within a year the club had turned professional.

Despite the ground being replaced by housing in the late 1890s some of the stadium’s concrete terracing from 1890 still survives in the back gardens of houses in Hector Street.

A couple of years ago we embarked on a trip around Plumstead and this gives more detail to one aspect of the club’s time in Plumstead.

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Peter Connolly’s London Senior Cup medal from 1891

Walking around the Arsenal Museum you may inadvertently miss a small gold medal in a case that holds some of the oldest known surviving memorabilia related to Arsenal Football Club.

The medal is approximately 4cm in diameter, and has the inscription “London Football Association Challenge Cup” along with the London FA’s coat of arms on the front. On the obverse it shows that the medal was won by P. Connolly of RAFC (Royal Arsenal Football Club) in 1890-91, and has a gold hallmark. Read More →

“YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE AT HOME”

With Arsenal’s forthcoming FA Cup fifth round tie against Sutton United, we thought we’d take a look at how the Gunners have fared against non-league opposition in the past. When we say “non-league” we actually mean non-Football League as, technically, Sutton do play in a league.

We’ve also decided to review games since the end of World War 1 as before the war the Football League only consisted of two divisions, each with 18 teams. If we were to write a blog about all of Arsenal’s non-league FA Cup opponents, we’d be in the realms of a fair sized book!

But we have included a handy table of every tie at the end of this article. Which now includes the Sutton Result, as we await the Lincoln tie. (11/3/17) Read More →

The Arsenal History have just launched a sister website – The Arsenal Collection.

It is an online collection of Arsenal memorabilia including full copies of official and unofficial publications such as programmes and books, along with photographs and other items.

We’ve got a limited amount of content at the moment but will be adding more on a regular basis, so follow via email, twitter, instagram or facebook via the links on the website which is:

www.thearsenalcollection.org.uk

If you have the slightest interest in Arsenal’s long and glorious history, you will want to visit this website.