Geordie Armstrong on the Wing: AISA meeting 

Yesterday Andy and myself travelled to the Arsenal media centre for the AISA book event of Geordie Armstrong on the Wing by Dave Seager and Jill Armstrong.

This was meant to be held prior to Christmas but had to be cancelled, and was well worth waiting for as paying tributes to Geordie were Frank McLintock, Eddie Kelly, Dave Seager and Tom Watt as compere.


Frank, Eddie, Dave and Tom

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1904-05 Woolwich Arsenal in the Top Flight of English football


A postcard of the team courtesy of @N5_1BU

The previous season had seen Woolwich Arsenal promoted, amidst ordnance supplied fireworks and a pitch invasion, after a draw in the final home match of the season which saw the top flight guaranteed for the very first time. The pitch invasion managed to break much of the fencing surrounding the pitch, and this was the cue to allow the club to embark upon a major upgrade of the Manor Ground, in part to accommodate the extra crowd expected to witness the club in the highest league.

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Long service rewarded

After tweeting that Abou Diaby was celebrating his ninth year at Arsenal on Tuesday 13 January, someone pointed out that he is due a testimonial next year – if he has his contract renewed.

I was also asked if there was a list of Arsenal players that had been granted a testimonial. I wasn’t aware of one so I decided to put one together.

For those that aren’t aware, a testimonial can be granted to a player that has ten years unbroken service at the same club. This is irrespective of any loans, as he is still registered as a player of that club. Testimonials were introduced in the 1950s and, after a slow start, become a regular part of the fixture list during the 1970s and 1980s. The idea was to provide a financial bonus to a player coming to the end of his career. The testimonial. more often than not, involved a number of events throughout the year, the biggest usually being a game against attractive opponents, with the proceeds being handed over to the player. However, some players ended up out of pocket due to their club’s stinginess.

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Unfounded Accusations of Bribery

Mark Andrews and Andy Kelly

The keen of mind will have noticed that in the first part of this article, the name Sir Henry Norris was not mentioned once. This was because he played little part in the process of the election. In fact the really keen eyed would have noted that sitting on the committee of the Football League meeting was William Hall, equal partner in the Arsenal leadership. Equal, but much quieter. The pair took over Woolwich Arsenal in 1910, moving the club to Highbury and, eventually, bringing in Herbert Chapman.

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Well, not quite an Arsenal badge but an Arsenal Football Supporters’ Club badge.

I’ve recently been buying copies of football’s oldest fanzine – Gunflash. It has been going for more than 65 years having started in September 1949 by the Arsenal Football Supporters Club. The content of these publications is nothing short of fantastic: exclusive photographs, contributions from top journalists of the day, historical articles and a fascinating insight into Arsenal fans of yesteryear. And then there were the odd quirky items.

Gunflash - June 1950

Gunflash – June 1950

The Cup Final Souvenir Issue of June 1950 edition included a pattern to knit your own Arsenal badge.

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The HC Club or the “Pals of Chapman”

No doubt you are aware that today is the anniversary of the tragic early passing of Herbert Chapman. Shortly after the publication of Patrick Barclay’s biography of the great man, we discovered the story of twelve men who paid tribute to Chapman in their own special way. Here is their story.

Ever wondered who commissioned the famous Bust of Herbert Chapman, Arsenal’s greatest ever manager, that sat in the Highbury marble hall?

Bust of Chapman 1

One of the four Herbert Chapman busts

Well wonder no more, because it was a band of supporters collectively called the “Pals of Herbert Chapman”

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