Welcome to Season 91. In September 1919 Arsenal started to play in the First Division, having been awarded a place in the reshuffle that followed the end of the First World War.
The top division was expanded by two clubs at that time, but the issue of promotion was made very murky because the last season played before the cessation for hostilities (1914/15) brought with it a lot of left over business. Both Manchester United and Liverpool had been found guilty of flagrant match fixing, and there were calls for them not just to be relegated but thrown out of the two division Football League all together.
This didn’t happen, but in the rearrangement, compromises and expansion, Arsenal got one of the extra places in the top league, and we have been there ever since – a record that no other club comes within a million miles of matching.
We haven’t actually played all 91 seasons, because of the further cessation for World War II, but it always seems easier to me to count back to the origins of the run – this is the 91st year since entering the top league.
This coming season also takes us to the 100 year anniversary of the takeover of our club by Henry Norris. In January 1910 it was announced that Woolwich Arsenal (a first division team at the time) was effectively bust, and attempts were made to launch a new company.
Norris was at the time owner of Fulham, and indeed Mayor of Fulham, and he put forward a plan to take Woolwich Arsenal to play at Craven Cottage.
The plan fell through, but Norris did take over the club, and eventually Norris moved Woolwich Arsenal to Highbury and ultimately to glory.
As I have mentioned many times before (well its my blog so I can do this) the novel “Making the Arsenal” which tells the story of 1910 through the eyes of a Fleet Street journalist will be out in a couple of months.
I will also be in touch with the Arsenal programme editor to see if we can’t get a special feature on this centenary. As far as I know this is only the second ever novel about Arsenal (the first was Arsenal Stadium Mystery which we discussed earlier this year. Fever Pitch is an autobiography so I haven’t counted that).
So, what else is new in football… You might know I do have a care for the smaller clubs, without whom there would not be the bigger clubs. And so I note that Chester City have been given a 25 point deduction for going into liquidation, Livingston have gone down to the bottom division of the Scots League for the same reason, and West Iceland United really are now on the very edge of the edge of the edge. They have managed to crawl back each time thus far, but this time… I wonder.
Meanwhile just about 18 months after the Curse of Arsenal was placed upon them by this blog, following the Eduardo incident and Birmingham’s reaction to it, David Sullivan and Karren Brady have been told they will not be prosecuted over tax irregularities. But as far as I know that awfully nice manager of the Tiny Totts is still out on police bail (unless they cancelled it while I was in Italy). There are all sorts of rumours doing the rounds but I would be prosecuted if I mentioned any since I have no evidence and I am sure both he and his mother have done nothing wrong.
And I am sure that you already noticed that the England Under 19 team got the Euro Finals where they lost to Ukraine – the England final team including three Arsenal players. So it is not just the current bunch that are punching above their weight. Henri Lansbury, Gavin Hoyte, Rhys Murphy – names to start noticing in one year’s time.
In other news twelve out of eight Sun journalists are reported to be on average 6 feet 4 inches tall or less when standing on beer cans. This incredible growth is said to be due to come from regular close proximity to the hormone secreted in the space between page four and page two of the “newspaper.”
“We’ve been experimenting with this growth business quite a lot,” said Sir Hardly Anyone, head of the Sun-sponsored Cor-Geddit Clinic in Harley Street. “The Sun now has the highest set of reporters in the land. In fact two of them headed the moon last week and scored an own goal in the vicinity of Uranus,” said the head of Very Old Jokes About Planetary Names committee in Dorking.
“We’re head and shoulders above their head and shoulders,” said Ekbobble Bibkin (aged 3) the editor of the Sun’s football section, “and anyone who says otherwise is a turnip.”
PS: I’ve just driven north from Exeter and the roads are really awful today. Tomorrow its more travelling, but to the infinitely more exciting Royal Shakespeare for a lunchtime production. Hopefully more here on Saturday evening when I finally make it home and then watching Arsenal on my little laptop.
If you would like to contribute an article here please do drop me a line at Tony at hamilton-house.com We’ve run some excellent articles from readers in the past and I’m very happy to expand the authorship.
(c) Tony Attwood 2009.