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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Who ya gonna call?

Almost a century on, Arsenal’s election back into the First Division in 1919 continues to rankle Tottenham fans. Having shown that the reported events of that year have been the result of idle hands, there was one last tenet that Tottenham fans continued to spout as “the truth.” They have continued to put forth “precedence” as a reason for being wronged. If you don’t believe me you only have to do a simple search.

Deluded sp*rs fan

Deluded sp*rs fan

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by Andy Kelly, Phil Wall and Mark Andrews

Ownership of Arsenal football club is an ongoing story, as disquiet has grown among fans about the direction of the club under Stan Kroenke. Is Kroenke a good or bad owner? Would Alisher Usmanov be better? How did the two of them come to own 97% of Arsenal between them? How did they get involved and where did they get their shares from? We’ll try and explain.

To produce the definitive story we asked Phil Wall if he would collaborate with us. We can highly recommend Phil’s blog which has a number of articles about Kroenke, Usmanov and Arsenal ownership.

kroenke

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…on this day in 1910

Sorry to disappoint you “Kroenke Out” fans but this happened 106 years ago.

The 1909-10 season was something of a watershed for Woolwich Arsenal FC. Having hit the highs of promotion to the First Division in 1904 and FA Cup semi-finals in 1906 and 1907, things turned decidedly sour for the Reds over the next three years. The main problem was that they were no longer the only club in London and the south in the top tier of English football. Chelsea had gained promotion in 1907, whilst Middlesex’s Tottenham followed suit two years later.

Woolwich Arsenal 1904 - The Good Times

Woolwich Arsenal 1904 – The Good Times

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The Arsenal Crowd at Woolwich

Referee JB Brodie knocked insensible by Woolwich Arsenal fan

Manor Ground closed for 6 weeks

Brodie Athletic News 10 Nov 1902 a

If you cast your mind back to last season there was a lot of media talk about a pitch invasion in the FA Cup tie between, our opponents in the final, Aston Villa and WBA. Much of it was hyperbole, and as they managed to demonise a relatively peaceful crowd intrusion, we wonder what the modern media would have made of the following episode!

Woolwich Arsenal was the first Football League club to have their ground closed for crowd disturbances according to the extant records of the Football Association. This was borne out of the league game against Burton Wanderers on 26th January 1895. Both teams, but particularly Arsenal in seventh place, had outside chances of promotion from Division Two, and a crowd of 6-7,000 was attracted to the Manor Ground in Plumstead to witness the duel.

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288: Harold Adrian Walden 1920-21

Harold Walden 2Recently Andy has published a full and definitive list of every Arsenal player to appear in a first team competitive match during the history of the club, and as a corollary we are currently researching each player who appeared between World War One and World War Two.

The two hundred and eighty-eighth player only played twice for the Gunners but had a life that made for an interesting and rounded story. Walden had a pre-football career in the army and then joined up for WW1, and was a-typical in that post football he was more celebrated and reported upon than his football one.

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Arsenal Players Remembered 1914-1918

Woolwich poppy

This is the final post on the theme of Arsenal and WW1. The past few days have seen the Gunners at War and the Gunners at home

Today we pay tribute on Armistice Day to the players who before the war represented Woolwich Arsenal FC but who weren’t necessarily with the club at the beginning of the War. These men paid the ultimate sacrifice being Killed In Action or dying as a result of the war. We have also included players who received career ending wounds.

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…you’ve probably been taken for a ride.

“Compton and Smith played for England for the first time against Wales at Sunderland, Compton at thirty-eight becoming the oldest man to win his first cap for England.”

Bernard Joy – “Forward, Arsenal!”

“Two Arsenal players, Peter Connolly and Bobby Buist, played so well in that game [1891 FA Cup v Derby County] that John Goodall, the Derby captain and acting secretary-manager, offered them contracts.”

Phil Soar and Martin Tyler – “The Official Illustrated History of Arsenal”

Two statements from two esteemed tomes that have become ingrained in Arsenal’s history, written by three respected names in the game, printed in in black ink on white paper for all eternity. The only problem is that both statements have recently been proven to be wrong. Read More →

mythbusters

Seeing isn’t always believing

During the summer of 1893 the members of the Football League voted to expand the size of the Second Division which had been formed the previous year. This expansion opened the door for Woolwich Arsenal to become the first Football League club based south of Birmingham. It also turned into a rather messy affair that has resulted in a number of assumptions being made by other historians that have become accepted as the true course of events.

Here, The Arsenal History, set out the actual story of that summer. Read More →