Royal Arsenal: Champions of the South

By Mark Andrews, Andy Kelly and Tim Stillman.

Yes it’s true, Mark and Andy from the have found time between writing in official Arsenal publications and our day jobs to produce the definitive account of the start of the Arsenal, covering the ensuing years of the club in it’s short-lived guise as Dial Square and then Royal Arsenal.

We uncover how Royal Arsenal grew to become the Champions of the South – encapsulating the football lives of the founders, players and administrators of the forerunners of The Arsenal Football Club. Along the way, this book chronicles how the football club emerged as an offshoot of the Dial Square cricket club, which was established after the 1886 cricket season had ended to keep the men occupied. The location of the initial Dial Square game is revealed, how the supporters responded to their team, and we reveal the club’s first programme writer – a very well-known late Victorian era poet. The real story of how Royal Arsenal became professional is a fascinating tale of how working men repelled the rapacious landlord of their ground, and at the same time, put one over the old boys’ network who ran the local Football Associations.

A real tale of intrigue, underhand dealings, drunken players and “shamateurism” in Victorian era Plumstead.

There are a number of exclusives in the book:

  • How the club was formed, and who the founders really were
  • How Fred Beardsley actually influenced the colour of the shirts
  • The real location of the first game the club ever played at Millwall
  • The first programme editor
  • The identity of the first chairman

Our editor Tim Stillman, in the foreword, says the following lovely words about our work:

“In the absence of regulation, historians such as Mark and Andy are invaluable guardians, whether appointed or otherwise. Once I came to understand the entirely undemocratic construction of the history of Arsenal Football Club, I became emphatically persuaded by Mark and Andy’s work- its quality, its rigour and most of all, its importance. “

Also after reading a review copy of the book, the great journalist Paddy Barclay, now the chairman of the reputable Football Writers’ Association said:

To my mind historians are the lifeblood of football and people with Arsenal at heart are lucky to have Mark Andrews and Andy Kelly. This masterpiece is enhanced by the skilful writing of Tim Stillman and the result is an extraordinary combination of detail with readability. Royal Arsenal: Champions of the South is a terrific piece of work.

Buy online before the end of April 2018 and get your name printed in the Arsenal fans’ Roll of Honour that will appear within the book and receive a limited edition print of Royal Arsenal at the Invicta Ground. 

To be part of the history of our great club purchase here from Legends Publishing:

Royal Arsenal – Champions of the South


If you have any questions about the book please contact us via this website, or our twitter accounts:

Legends Publishing

Mark Andrews

Andy Kelly

Tim Stillman


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Or have a look at our other site: The Arsenal Collection  for more Arsenal memorabilia.

Copies of our books Royal Arsenal – Champions of the South and Arsenal: The Complete Record 1886-2018 are still available from the publishers.

2 thoughts on “Royal Arsenal: Champions of the South

  1. Deborah on 28 April 2018 at 2:58 pm said:

    Hi all,

    Would you be interested in giving a talk – and help launch the book in Plumstead – at The History Mill? The History Mill is an ongoing series of free, informal get togethers and guided walks on local history. We meet at the Old Mill pub, Plumstead Common. The number of participants depends on the subject matter: we’ve had three and we’ve had fifty! We can be found on Facebook @The HISTORY MILL and Twitter @HistoryMillPlum

    • Hi Deborah

      Funny you should ask, I’ve just exchanged a few emails with Phil Windeatt about giving a talk in the Plumstead area. I have a presentation titled “Arsenal in Plumstead” which is about, er, Arsenal in Plumstead. It’s had a few airings in Islington but I’ve been meaning to look for a suitable audience south of the river for a while but struggled to find the time of late. My co-authors and publisher met and we agreed now would be a good time to do this, probably in July. I’ll drop you an email to see if we can find a suitable date.


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