Woolwich Gunmetal defeats Sheffield Steel
Spion Kop barracks old Woolwich stager
Woolwich Arsenal versus Sheffield Wednesday: Saturday February 25th 1905
by Mark Andrews and Andy Kelly
In 1903-04 Sheffield Wednesday were the Champions of England for the second time in a row. However, this season when they could have been going for an at the time unprecedented hat-trick of league titles they were to finish level on points with Woolwich Arsenal, but one place ahead.
Arsenal won both games in the season 3-0 and thus did the double over the champions. In this game, which was witnessed by 20,000 spectators, Tim Coleman opened the scoring in the 25th minute after a pass from Andy Ducat. Coleman scored again near half-time when put through by Charlie Satterthwaite and, near the end, Satterthwaite completed the scoring – this time Coleman had set him up.
However, while this result ensured that Arsenal leapfrogged Wednesday into 8th place, not all were happy. From the North East corner of the Spion Kop came an organised and senseless barracking of Roddy MacEachrane all through the game according to the Woolwich Gazette reporter. The correspondent, with a touch of hyperbole, went as far to say that the verbal abuse “cannot be characterised as anything else but shameful.”
The barracking consisted of such lines as:
“play the game Roddy”
“We’ve got our eyes on you Roddy”
“No Boycott Roddy”
“why don’t you feed Templeton“.
Which, in themselves, are not the worse things that players had to put up with then, nor suspect Roddy himself in his career, who had joined Arsenal in 1902 and continued until 1915, playing 313 league games and never scoring a goal for the club.
However, what appears to have happened was the crowd, of whom Robert Templeton was a particular favourite, got the notion that players ignored Templeton and only passed to fellow forward Satterthwaite, hence the barracking. It was rumoured that Templeton had been boycotted by players at his previous club, Newcastle, and this is where the reference to a boycott emanated from.
Virtually all barracking at the Manor Ground, located and expanded in The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal, had its origins in the Spion Kop, or Abbey Wood end as it was also known.
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- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal – crowd behaviour at the early matches