What’s in a name? What’s in a colour? Arsenal’s 27th FA Cup semi.

A pre-semi-final ramble over a variety of subjects of minor importance, but which pass the time.

By Tony Attwood

Arsenal, as you will know if you read the Arsenal History blog, has had five different names in its history.   Dial Square (or possibly Dial Square Cricket Club – it’s not clear given there’s no original documentation to be found), Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal, The Arsenal and Arsenal.

What you might not know is that at one time The Arsenal considered changing its name to London FC, although that was rejected on the basis that the name was probably too over the top.

This weekend Arsenal are in the FA Cup semi final for the 27th time, having won 17 and lost 9 of the previous cup semis.   Two of those (both defeats) were played as Woolwich Arsenal.  The rest have all been as Arsenal.   But we count them all.

(Incidentally the only team to have appeared in more semi-finals is Man U – whose 27 will be equalled on Saturday.  Their success rate is won 18 lost 9.  It’s very close.)

So, we forget about changes and count everything as one.   Hull City (one of the other semifinalists of course) feel differently – what with the owner wanting to  change the name of the club to Hull Tigers.  The problem he has is that the FA now needs to give permission on this, whereas as far as I can see from the records of Arsenal’s name changes, that was not the case when Arsenal were changing things around.

Strangely however, in the past Arsenal had to go to considerable lengths to get approval to change their shirts to incorporate white sleeves.  Now it seems all that is needed is notification.

So shirt colour can change at a whim.  Arsenal did not consult the fans when the blackcurrent shirt was introduced for one season – and that was probably a clever move since the Arsenal History Society would have pointed out that there was only dubious evidence that Arsenal did indeed wear shirts of such a colour throughout the final season at Highbury.

But now the name seems very important.

Thus the FA Council vetoed the attempt by the owners of Hull City to rename the club.  The owner has said he will appeal, which might well mean he will taken legal action.  Presumably he is joining the queue at the courts along with the dozen or so clubs taking action against the League over the imposition of fines under the new financial fair play regulations.  That’s how change happens now when contested.

And what of Wigan?  They came out of Wigan County, Wigan United, Wigan Town and Wigan Borough.  Also in 1972 they applied to join the Scottish League, but were turned down on the grounds that, well, you can work it out.  (That is honestly true.  Find a local Wigonian and ask).

Meanwhile the issue of stadium name has been proven to be of limited significance.  I’ve not heard of anyone not supporting Arsenal just because we now play at the Emirates Stadium instead of Highbury, and I guess Wigan fans don’t mind the DW Stadium, boring though it sounds.  In the Plumstead days we played primarily at the Invicta Stadium and the Manor Ground – but interestingly Woolwich Arsenal never played in Woolwich.

Back in north London most of us in the stadium now enjoy the regular chanting of “We’re the north bank, we’re the north bank, we’re the north bank Highbury” (with replies from the clock end and east stand.  The west seems singularly quiet on the point, perhaps not sure what their name is).

Those who claim to speak for Hull fans have said that there is a risk that name changes will take “clubs still further away from the fans. So much that attracts people to British football is the passion involved. That comes from people caring about the clubs.”

Well yes, but with the colours being changed, the stadium name being changed, why not the club name too?  Indeed although Arsenal’s five names are a bit extreme, many clubs have been through a couple of names in their lifetime.

As Steve Bruce said, “In this country in particular, we are huge traditionalists. I never thought the FA Cup would be called the Budweiser FA Cup. Things change and we have to embrace that change. That’s been my philosophy on everything in football.”

Which seems quite reasonable.  We do retain a sense of our past at Arsenal, but we don’t mind changing too much at the same time.  The team come onto the pitch, announced as “The Arsenal”.  The players are now “Gunners” but in the 1950s and 1960s it was the fans who were Gunners.  Now the cans are Gooners.   Back in the early days Arsenal were always referred to in the press as The Reds. Stuff changes.

Except we still sing “Come on your Reds”.

Thus for those of us there on Saturday, we will be The Arsenal and Arsenal and we’ll be wearing red and white.  Red Action has urged everyone, even those who don’t normally wear a shirt, to wear an Arsenal shirt or at least something red on Saturday.   I’ve got a replica shirt from 1950 I could dig out, although it depends on the weather.

And I might even start a chant of “We’re the north bank”, just to be bloody difficult.

Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal, The Arsenal, Arsenal.  What’s in a name?

How the colour of Arsenal’s shirts was changed

24 Replies to “What’s in a name? What’s in a colour? Arsenal’s 27th FA Cup semi.”

  1. Cheer too for us who will not be able to be there in person. Put up some Untold Arsenal banners too guys !

  2. What happened to Andrew ‘s article ? Am not able to see it on this link and not able to comment on it . Is it only me or are the others also experiencing the same weirdness ?

  3. @ KampalaGun –

    FA Cup semi-finals – The match Officials

    by Andrew Crawshaw

    Saturday 12 April kick off 17:07 Wigan Athletic v Arsenal

    Referee – Michael Oliver
    Assistants – Stuart Burt and Darren England
    Fourth Official – Craig Pawson

    Reserve Assistant – John Brooks

  4. First off, thank the Lord we are on the Saturday rather than Sunday where we would have no chance whatsoever.

    Marriner and Taylor getting their rewards for screwing us totally last time they came to the Emirates with one of the highest profile games of the domestic football season at Wembley, maybe it is about prestige games rather than money?

    They can now do the semi-final without having to show any bias and the world will be able to say “What a good game they had, we must appoint them to our high importance refereeing teams”. At UA we know better.

    What of Mr Oliver though?

    In 2011 he was reviewed in 8 games and made a good impression overall, two games were Arsenal, none Wigan. The was a small bias against Arsenal, but compared with the majority of referees it was not too bad. Here is his bias table from then


    Heavily pro Aston Villa, United and Bolton, heavily against Fulham, City and Chelsea and less against Arsenal and Wolves. Perhaps signs of a North/South divide in there?

    Last year he was reviewed 11 times, once each in games involving Arsenal and Wigan.

    The Wigan game was their away loss at United where they lost 4-0. His refereeing was something of a disaster from Wigan’s point of view with an overall score of only 64% and bias against of 17/83 (four wrong calls against United, 19 against Wigan).

    He got one Important Decision wrong (second yellow, red card, penalty or goal). In the third minute there was a dive from Wellbeck to win a penalty when he should have been booked. At least the penalty was not scored to add insult to injury. A typical pro-united performance by Mr Oliver.

    Here is the referee review of that game
    Match Review: Michael Oliver – Manchester United Vs Wigan Athletic (4 – 0) [15/09/2012]

    The Arsenal game was the 1-1l draw away at Everton where he got a slightly higher (but still pathetic) score of 70% overall and bias against of 21/79, at least he got no Important Decisions wrong though. There were 4 incorrect decisions favouring Arsenal and 16 favouring Everton so a normal kind of anti-Arsenal bias in this game.

    Here is the referee review of that game
    Match Review: Michael Oliver – Everton Vs Arsenal (1 – 1) [28/11/2012]

    This year we have had him in one home and two away games, Spurs at home and United and Liverpool away. Against Tottenham, he was accompanied by Mssrs Long and Collin with J Moss as Fourth official.

    For United Burt and Long were his assistants with Marriner as fourth official, against Liverpool he was accompanied by Burt and Beswick with Mr Madley as fourth official.

    A quick recap – a home win against Tottenham and two losses away. Two goals by Arsenal and 6 against. How much of that has been down to Arsenal and how much to Mr Oliver and his accomplices?

    Arsenal v Spurs 1 September 2013

    Mr Oliver didn’t have that bad a game, started well and calling fouls properly for both teams. But he got a little sloppy as the game progressed giving Spurs the benefit of several decisions in dangerous areas of the pitch. For me the key moments were :-

    Min 21 – Walcott down in the Spurs penalty area from a challenge from Rose (looked to me like a pull) but no replay available on Arsenal player to give a definitive answer.
    Min 23 – Giroud goal
    Min 33 – Loris just got the ball first before Walcott well outside his area so no foul the correct decision
    Min 45 – Loris climbing all over Giroud to get to the ball but fairly according to the referee, again no replay.
    Min 53 – Soldado falls over in Arsenal area with Kos in close proximity. minimal contact so correct non-penalty
    Min 55 – Flamini gets a yellow card for a two footed jump challenge, wasn’t near Tottenham player so there really wasn’t any risk of an injury, but those kinds of challenges can, and do, get reds.
    Min 60 – Walker collapses over fresh air with Gibbs near him, ref buys the tumble and gives a free kick in a dangerous position
    Min 65 – Loris out to edge of his area to grab ball, (inside or outside?) again no replay to show which
    Min 72 – Capoue caught by Santi who then fell over on his ankle, had to be stretchered off, the fall was an accident.
    Min 75 – from the resulting free kick the ball bounces around our penalty area, Spurs claim a penalty when it hits Giroud on the front of the shoulder. No movement of arm to ball, ball was moving very fast and from close distance. Correct non penalty
    Min 81 – Defoe rightly gets yellow card, arm in Theo’s neck
    Min 90+3 – Giroud tackling back, both players fall over free kick to Tottenham.

    United v Arsenal 10 November 2013

    We had key players missing, Mert and Rosicky to a virus, Theo to injury. We had 60% possession, 10 shots to United’s 5, both teams with two on target one goal to United and none to us. We made one error and got punished. Oliver helped United with little things, fouls called when they needed tome to regroup and so on.

    Liverpool v Arsenal 8 February 2014

    In this game we well and truly shot ourselves in the foot, groin, head and heart and little or no assistance was needed from Mr Oliver

    In conclusion

    Mr Oliver is typically anti Arsenal in his bias, but far from the worst in that regard

    In the semi-final of a cup competition both teams and their supporters plus all neutral watchers are entitled to expect an impartial performance from all officials.

    Does that apply when one of the teams involved is Arsenal, against whom all officials seem to have a vendetta? I guess we will know about 19:00 on Saturday, my bet is that as usual we will have to beat both Wigan and the Officials. Please Mssrs. Oliver, Burt, England and Pawson prove me wrong for once.

    I only know that I’m at Wembley towards the front of Block 551, will be wearing the RedAction Tee shirt and shouting for all I’m worth.

    Editorial note:

    Just to complete the Untold line up at Wembley. Drew and I have tickets on the half way line, Ian is meeting us in the car park with his two sons, and Walter is also coming over as he got a ticket. So, an Untold Works Outing.


  5. The above are parts 1 &3 of Andrew’s article .
    Here’s part 2

    Sunday 13 April kick off 16:07 Hull City v Sheffield United

    Referee – Andre Marriner
    Assistants – Michael Mullarkey and Harry Lennard
    Fourth Official – Anthony Taylor

    Reserve Assistant – Matthew Wilkes

  6. And part 4

    April 10th, 2014 | Category: Arsenal stories | 3 comments
    3 comments to FA Cup semi-finals – The match officials, and an Untold Invasion.

    avatar para
    April 10, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    I think the team knows now they have to get FA Cup. There is no excuse anymore. We know the opposition, both Wigan Athletic and the refs/media/establishment, ONLY a masterful performance from Arsenal will ensure us progression, so i’m sure the lads are completely up for it.
    If the refs and media want to stop us, than let’s make it very hard for them by playing as we can, and giving them little room for shenanigans.
    So, i read this somewhere:
    “Wenger refused to deny he was planning big changes if Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League”.

    Now this seems to suggest that HE is going to stay at Arsenal, so i hope the team can now deliver an FA Cup for him.
    Come on all gunners and gooners, let us END this over used phrase that THEY all use against us.

    avatar Jefferson Davis
    April 10, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Problem is that the players have bottled it.
    Carzola is whining – although he is one major player who has not stood up to be counted.
    wIGAN WILL RAVAGE US UNLESS Le Boss plays some wild cards…Gnabry as an example.

    avatar WalterBroeckx
    April 10, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Gnabry is doubtful and was injured the last week.

  7. Help!
    Brickfields has become a full-time employee at Untold Towers!!
    Six contributions in the comments column and no rib cracker among them!
    This is worthy of protest banners at the Arsenal side of the stadium on Saturday.

  8. Good work Brickfields. But, you do realize don’t you that the AAA will now think that you (in addition to Walter an Tony) are now employed by Arsenal FC!

  9. Err…

    How did you get that? Brickfields

    I edited that while the site was down and we were moving from one server to another.

    I’ll publish it in full later – because there is supposed to be a graphic in there.

    This is getting confusing.

  10. Tony, I was enjoying the ref review too only for me to refresh the page and it was gone.

  11. I think I have a good chunk of Andrew’s article in my cache. Should I try to dig it out? I mean I have all that Andrew wrote (and Brickfields regurgitated), plus several comments.

  12. Some of the graphics have gone Tony… probably a problem with moving to the new servers?But the article is still in there. Will try to republish it

  13. I have built a tarball of 9 HTML files in my browser cache, which correspond to Andrew’s article. There are probably 3 or 4 copies of it, I suspect the longest one is the best copy I have.

  14. sorry to be off topic but Walter should be proud of his country based on this absolutely gut-wrenching video: http://www.upworthy.com/they-thought-they-were-going-to-hang-with-friends-but-ended-up-attending-their-own-funeral?c=reccon1

    For those who don’t speak Flemish or French, the gist of it is that these kids are shocked into taking their careless speeding arrests while driving seriously after their parents give the eulogies at their respective pseudo-funerals!!! Wow!!!

  15. Thanks omgarsenal. And a video that is absolutely needed. Each weekend we have young people who drive themselves with too much alcohol in their blood and at high speed in to their own grave.
    Even last weekend a young girl died in a fatal car crash as a passenger while filming how fast they were going just seconds before the fatal crash. The parents found the film on her phone when the police gave it back to them after the crash.
    Alcohol + speeding = a deadly combination.

    Don’t drink when driving!

  16. Don’t drink before driving either.

    I must declare a secondary interest in Hull City. When I was about 7 years old I picked a team from each division to support. First division: Arsenal; second division : Hull; third division : Halifax; fourth division : Southport. I wanted to be fully immersed in football so I had to have an interest in each division.

    The latter two teams have vanished into the underworld of the non league, though many years ago Halifax had a remarkable 1-0 FA Cup win over Man City.

    Now Hull are in their first semi final for nearly 90 years, their last being against Arsenal! Of course they lost that one.

    Now I am hoping for an Arsenal Hull final. That would be amazing and first and foremost I’ll be wanting an Arsenal win, but I’ll feel extremely sorry for Hull as I’m not sure they’ll ever have a better chance to win a trophy. I’ve always been a fan of the underdog but on this occasion I can’t hope for anything but an Arsenal win.

    And if we do reach the final and play Hull I’m going to put a bet on Hull to win to mitigate the misery if we do lose. Money won’t be much of a comfort but it’ll buy me a bottle of vodka to kill my disappointment.

    And I won’t drive after drinking half the bottle.

  17. Great news! Le Boss has stated that he intends to keep the squad intact for next season! HOORAY! THINK THE OPPOSITE to what Le Boss says – it always works. Therefore, that means, he is going to let go of many of the imbiciles that we have loitering in our squad and alas in the first team.

    This is it. He is the master of psychology – making the current players believe that he trusts them and that they have a future just in time for the FA CUP.

    Arsene knows who the bottlers are, Arsene knows that what he needs to do to finish the season and move on to next season.

    Lets hope we finish 4th and also win the FA CUP.

    At least the bottlers will sign off with happiness.

  18. It just seems it’s gone stale at the club and the players no longer respond to Arsene. How else can we account for the chelski drubbing on his 1000th game, thE liverpool hammering and the everton thrashing _ ALL WHOPPINGINGLY IMPORTANT GAMES.

    I hope Arsene can turn it around….COme on Wenger….I trust you. But do the players…?

  19. Tony: nice piece. Can you let me know how the petition is getting on about Old Parkonians playing fields.

    @As I Lay Dying
    I think the players do trust our manager. Is it just our players don’t cut the mustard? And lets compare the millions that other teams spend compared to us. Lets accept that we over achieve every year. In Arsene I Trust.

    @Jefferson Davis
    What’s your definition of bottlers please? And who are they?

    Godspeed to all GOONERS.

  20. @ Tony Attwood April 10, 2014 at 4:04 pm – I had no idea what was going on till I e-mailed Walter .I had replied to bjtgooner on the OF MICE AND MEN article and suddenly I was looking on at a different post and the comments were lost .
    It was the same when I commented on Micheal Ram’s comments about Androids and Google blocking UA’s blog.
    Me ? I thought that I’d broken the space- time continuum and was between two parallel universes ,so I went looking for a ray gun to blast the AAAA to smithereen ,but realised that they will blow themselves up eventually sooner or later – so why bother ?
    That’s all I have to say about that .

  21. @ omgarsenal April 11, 2014 at 1:42 am – Thank you for that link. It was really touching and always timely .

  22. Some miscellaneous news.

    First, it is getting hard to find intelligent, unbiased news. The “proper” news industry has entirely too many articles which have either a negative headline, or the blurb in Google News is negative. Why bother reading it?

    Second. I don’t understand betting. As of about 30 minutes ago, the “best” odds at a particular website had Wigan at 7.50, a draw at 4.75, and Arsenal at 1.53.

    The Pre-game report from Arsenal.com has the following: Flamini (suspended), Walcott (knee), Wilshere (foot), Diaby (knee), Koscielny (calf), Ozil (hamstring), Rosicky (thigh – doubt), Gibbs (ankle – doubt), Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin – doubt). I’ve already seen one potential line-up with the Ox in the line-up.

    Finally, Arsenal.com ends with this:
    > There will be no semi-final replay. If the scores are level after 90 minutes, extra time will be played. If the scores remain level, a penalty shoot-out will take place.

    Please, no injuries.



    There are league games and I am cheering for: Southampton, Newcastle, Sunderland and West Brom. There are games on Sunday, I would like a Liverpool-ManCity tie and a Swansea win. We play West Ham on Tuesday, and then Everton and ManCity are home on Wednesday (ties or losses in those games would be nice).

    A busy 5 days.

  23. Rupert

    I saw Hull at Wembley in the 2008 Championship play offs final & went there as an honoury Bristol City supporter with some Bristol boys. The unfortunately named Windass scored the only goal to see Hull through, and City have been in a downward spiral ever since.

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