On 24 February 1934, Arsenal travelled north to play Newcastle United at St James’ Park. A 1-0 win saw the Gunners back on track to retain the Football League title which looked like it could be derailed following the untimely death of Herbert Chapman.

On the journey back to London, the train that the players were on was involved in a major accident that resulted on six of the team, including David Jack and Cliff Bastin, being tragically killed.

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“Honest” John McKenna’s Impassioned Speech

We’ve written a number of blogs on this site about Arsenal’s election to the First Division in 1919 that show that what is perceived to be the truth about the events surrounding this meeting are not what they seem. We thought that the one about the precedent of what happened when the First Division was expanded would be the last one as we believed that there were no more “facts” left to be dispelled.

However, we’ve now found another story that doesn’t appear to be what it seems.

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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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The Clock Revisited

We all know the original clock was placed on the Laundry End in 1930 and after some shenanigans with the FA and Highbury redevelopment it was moved to the College End in 1935.

We wrote as much in a recent blog and article for the club magazine.

However, all may not be as we all had assumed as new detail has emerged which shows the clock most likely began its life on the West Terrace, within an information centre on the South-West corner of the ground before moving to the Laundry End a few years later.

At the start of the week Andy told me that the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News had been placed on the British Library website. This was exciting news for historians as the publication “did what it said on the tin” – it being a weekly paper that began in the Victorian period to provide the interested populace a multitude of drawings and photos of current sporting and artistic news and events. As such it provides insight that words can not convey.

He then said look at this beauty from the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News 1930:

The Original Clock in the information centre at Highbury - 20 September 1930

The Original Clock in the Information Centre at Highbury – 20 September 1930*

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The Architects plans for Highbury 1913

highburya

These block plans sat in a dusty file for over 100 years until put up for auction in a  general sale of various aspects of a member of the pre WW1 Islington planning dept.  Stamped as being received by the Islington Engineering and surveyor’s department on both 22 May and then 9 June 1913.

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Arsenal’s Great Danes

Staevnet 1 Arsenal 7

Arsenal: McKechnie, Magill, McCullough, Brown, Ure, Groves, MacLeod, Strong, Baker, Eastham, Armstrong.

53 years ago today Arsenal made their first foray in European competition when they played Staevnet, a combined Copenhagen XI, in the Inter Cities Fairs Cup. The Gunners had qualified for the competition, despite having finished seventh in the First Division, by virtue of the fact that teams above them were not eligible as the cities in which they were based did not host an annual trade fair. Possibly the most obscure qualifying criterion for a football competition. Read More →

Arsenal Charity work

St Dunstan’s Hostel for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors

Previously we published a short blog based on EC Williamson and his work at Regents Park with St Dunstan’s.

Looking into the story it became apparent that while Williamson was the torch bearer for the charity, the club as a whole gave great assistance in the few years after the First World War.

st dunstans

Courtesy of the Blind Veterans UK

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