Arsenal History

Last updated : 23 October 2001 By
It was originally known as Dial Square and was so called because the founders hailed from a workshop of the same name. Dial square got its name from the sundial over the entrance to the workshop.

Included in the founding group were two former Nottingham Forest players, one of whom Fred Beardsley, wrote to his old club seeking help. They responded with a full set of red jerseys and a ball. The club was known as the "Woolwich Reds" by its fans although its official title was Woolwich Arsenal.

Arsenal were the first team in London to turn professional and the first Southern team to join the Football League. The club played at several venues in their early years including Plumstead Common and Manor Field They also played at the Invicta ground, owned by George Weaver of the Weaver Mineral Water Company, until an increase in the rent following Arsenals' election to Division Two in 1893 resulted in the club moving back to Manor Field.

In 1896 the club played a league fixture and an FA Cup tie on the same day; the reserves beat Leyton 5-0 in the Cup and the first team lost 0-8 to Loughborough. In 1904 the club was promoted to Division One.

The clubs progress was halted however, as a direct result of the Boer War. The extra work required as a result of the War meant that the workers had less time and energy to devote to the club. Added to this were high mortgage repayments and low attendances. The end result of this process was liquidation.
Henry Norris, M.P. a Fulham director proposed a merger between Woolwich Arsenal and Fulham but permission was refused by the authorities.

In 1913 the club were relegated after winning only one home game all season - This is the only time in their history that Arsenal have been relegated.

The next season saw the club at a new ground, Highbury. The move was not without opposition as the local professional teams Tottenham and Clapton Orient did not want the competition and the local residents and Islington Borough Council were unhappy about the prospective disruption that would ensue from having another club in their midst.

Woolwich Arsenal now became "The Arsenal", a name that lasted until 1927 when they became less pompous and dropped the "The" Arsenal's first match at Highbury took place on September 6th 1918 when they played Leicester Fosse.

In 1919 Arsenal were controversially elected to the expanded First Division, precedent suggested that Tottenham should have retained their place in the new set-up. However the machinations of Henry Norris meant the new place was awarded to Arsenal instead.

As a result Arsenal are the only club with continuous membership of the top division since 1919 and they are the only league club not to have been promoted on playing merit.

The 1930's brought Arsenals' first golden era. Under the management of the great Herbert Chapman the club won the League Championship on five occasions and the F.A. Cup twice.In 1932 London Underground acknowledged the clubs importance when it renamed Gilleopie Road Station as Arsenal Station.

A later period of success saw the club achieve the League and Cup double in 1971 - only the second club this century to achieve this feat.

In 1993 Arsenal completed a different double when they won the F.A. Cup and League Cup - defeating Sheffield Wednesday on each occasion.

More success followed in1994 when Arsenal won the European Cup - winners Cup with a 1-0 victory over Parma.

In 1997-98 the double was attained again as Arsenal won the Premiership title and the F.A. Cup.

When Arsenal won the title in 1997-98 Arsene Wenger became the first foreigner to manage a championship - winning side.