What (if anything) are we to make of the Community Shield?

By Tony Attwood

This is Arsenal’s 20th appearance in the Charity / Community Shield, and Man City’s 10th.  Here’s a list of the clubs that have won the shield the most time – in descending order by wins.

Club Appearances Wins Last match won
Manchester United 29 20 2013
Liverpool 21 15 2006
Arsenal 19 12 2004
Everton 11 9 1995
Tottenham Hotspur 9 7 1991
Chelsea 10 4 2009
Manchester City 9 4 2012

But of course – this is Arsenal in the Shield event, so time to cue the “it isn’t really relevant any more” discussion.  If it were Man U v Liverpool we’d be hearing a different story – and indeed that is what we have been hearing.

The game is sold out – at least as far as Arsenal is concerned – but there has been at least one occasion in 2006 in which Man City failed to sell its allocation for this match.

However the press have in some cases taken the view that the tours of Liverpool and Man U to the USA is where the real show piece games are played and the Shield match “feels out of date”.

So we have had discussion about making this match the first inroad into the 39th game proposal overseas.   In short league winners v cup winners, in the USA.  As long as neither are Arsenal of course.

But the FA is struggling under its mountain of debt (hence semi-finals at Wembley as well as finals) and anyway they have a contractual obligation to play the shield at Wembley for at least another 3 years.

But as one paper put it this week, “It surely can only be a matter of time before the FA chooses to take a slice of the American pie by taking the Community Shield to the States.”

But all this ignores the ignominy that the FA poured upon itself within this competition.

For the original name of this competition in this form, The Charity Shield” clearly suggested that the money taken from the competition was given to, well, sort of, charity.

But in 2002 the Charity Commission found that Football Association had failed to meet its fairly basic and obvious legal obligations under the Charities Act as it failed to say where the money was going, and had regularly delayed or avoided paying out anything at all.  

Instead of being honourable and sorting out the mess, the FA did what we might expect: it suggested that the rules didn’t apply to itself, and then simply renamed the trophy the Community Shield.  Arsenal were the first winners.

Arsenal first won the Shield on 8 October 1930 beating Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 in front of a crowd of 25,000 at Stamford Bridge.  It started a run of five wins in the 1930s.

The team for the first match was


Parker Hapgood

Seddon Roberts John

Hulme Brain Lambert Jack Bastin

Hulme and Jack were the scorers.

Arsenal have won the shield in each of the following years:

1930, 1931, 1933, 1934, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1991*, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004 – the 1991 shield being shared.

The Charity Shield itself came out of an earlier competition which started out in 1899 as a professionals vs amateurs annual cup.  After the amateurs had a falling out with the FA (abnd who hasn’t had a falling out with the FA?) there was a change over to the winners of the Football League playing the winners of the Southern League.  As such Herbert Chapman got an early taste of the competition, when Northampton Town managed by Chapman became champions of the Southern League (for the first and only time) in 1909 and so went on to the Charity Shield match.

The idea of Cup winners v Champions started in 1921 but it was not consistently in this format until 1930.  But even since there have been times when it has not been played in this way.   In 1950 England played an “FA XI”, in 1961 Tottenham having won the double played the FA XI again.

In 1971 after winning the double Arsenal had a real problem.  So unlikely had a cup or league win seemed earlier in the season, they had arranged a pre-season tour – and were unable to break the contract.  So Liverpool played Leicester for reasons that have never become apparent.

This set a trend and the following year with both Derby (league champions) and Leeds (FA Cup winners) refusing to play so Man City played Villa again for no apparent reason.

The highest scoring game was Man U 8 Swindon 4 – with the money going to the Titanic Disaster fund.

Here are all the Charity and Community Shield games Arsenal have played in…

  • 1930 Arsenal 2 Sheffield W 1 at Stamford Bridge
  • 1931: Arsenal 1 WBA 0 at Villa Park
  • 1933: Arsenal 3 Everton 0 – at Goodison.  From here on there was no much logic as to which club got home advantage.
  • 1934: Arsenal 4 Man City 0 – at Highbury.
  • 1935: Sheffield W 1 Arsenal 0 – again at Highbury but it didn’t help
  • 1936: Sunderland 2 Arsenal 1, at Roker Park
  • 1938: Arsenal 2 Preston NE 1, at Highbury
  • 1948: Arsenal 4 Man U 3 at Highbury
  • 1953: Arsenal 3 Blackpool 1 at Highbury
  • 1979: Liverpool 3 Arsenal 1 at Wembley
  • 1989: Liverpool 1 Arsenal 0 at Wembley
  • 1991: Arsenal 0 Tottenham 0 at Wembley
  • 1993: Arsenal 1 Man U 1 at Wembley, Man U won on penalties
  • 1998: Arsenal 3 Man U 0 at Wembley
  • 1999: Arsenal 2 Liverpool 1 at the Millennium Stadium – Wembley closed for rebuilding.
  • 2002: Arsenal 1 Liverpool 0 at the Millennium Stadium
  • 2003: Arsenal 1 Man U 1 at the Millennium Stadium
  • 2004: Arsenal 3 Man U 1 at the Millennium Stadium
  • 2005: Chelsea 2 Arsenal 1 at the Millennium Stadium

20 Replies to “What (if anything) are we to make of the Community Shield?”

  1. There’s a hurricane heading for Wembley tomorrow; no not Bertha, but Sanchez

  2. So, in Wenger-era, Arsenal have played 7 Charity/Community Shields, won 4, lost 3.

    In 1998, we won against United 3:0. It was the first of two victories over the treble-winning United with the same score-line in that season. It still hurts me when I look back and see that they didn’t beat us once in 90 minutes in five matches that season and yet won all three trophies. Had only Dennis scored that penalty, we would never have to see Giggs’ hairy chest.

    In 1999, we won 2:1 against United. That was eighth game in a row in which United had failed to beat us in 90 minutes. I was very happy despite the fact it was only Charity Shield because of how the previous season had ended.

    One more thing: if he gets the nod, Mathieu Flamini will be the only player to feature in CS 2005 and 2014.

  3. Whether we win, draw or lose tomorrow’s charity affair, we must not regard the result OR the way we play as over-important.
    The main object of the game is the money it will generate for good causes.
    First of all, with the best will in the world, neither side is 100% fit, nor up to anything like full strength.
    This being World Cup year, players who took part in the latter stages are still on beaches all over the globe.
    And recent signings are in the early stages of getting used to new colleagues, tactics and training.
    All one can hope for is an entertaining match, with a few goals, no GBH and no injuries.
    Not too much to expect, surely?

  4. Enough time to test out our new players under fire. city will be a big threat this season even though every one is watching chel$ea. We play city again very soon when it really counts.

  5. This will be a good opportunity to see next week’s ( probable ) starting eleven, but not our strongest side.

  6. City missing 8 or 9 players, the papers say.

    No one says Arsenal are missing their 3 WC winners.

  7. The media are saying this isn’t a relevant match anymore, but wait to see the change in tone should we lose. It’s got to a point now where I don’t read these papers or pay much attention to what’s in the news anymore. Just scan the headlines so I don’t miss important events that may happen, but that’s about it.

  8. In total agreement with nicky. I am looking forward to a great game of football tomorrow. I hope we win but just as such a result guarantees nothing for the rest of the season, I hope that people don’t start setting their hairs on fire should we not.

  9. @Sammy – I’m glad I’m not the only one to notice that. Basically, it means we are damned if we win (because it will mean we won only because City played without 8 players even if those eight include two right full-backs – so only one would start anyway, a 36-year-old veteran who was signed in strange circumstances to help with number of HG-players, a central defender that had been called the weakest link in Oilers’ defence for the biggest part of the last season and a striker that has been out of form for at least six months) and damned if we don’t win (because we lost to City’s second string).

    We are without Walcott, Mertesacker, Özil and Podolski – the paciest player in the team, our most important defender, the best No.10 in the world and the best finisher in the club.

  10. I see no point in worrying what the press say, what matters is how we play. With players missing on both sides the game won’t tell us much about how we’ll fare in the coming season so let’s hope for an entertaining match.

  11. josif

    Don’t believe a word of it.
    Saturdays Mail, Mirror & Metro all reported on our German WC players not being available.
    Some people on UA tell porkies just to suit their own conspiracy agendas.

  12. Hello
    Fellow Gooners, I understand that this match may bear no semblance of how the season will pan out, but I do care about how we play and the players turning up to play a competitive match. The true fans will always support the team through the good and the bad times, and will not become over crittical during the not so good times. However is it to much to ask for the any player that puts on the Arsenal shirt to play well, no matter the immportance of the match. In my opinion for what it is worth, if I had a Manager like Arsene Wenger, I would walk along hot coals barefooted to repay the faith and trust he has invested in me. (hope we win no pressure guys)

  13. wengerson

    Should’ve been “conspiracy theory agenda” as in: some people on UA are only looking for media, referee etc. conspiracies against Arsenal and in this particular instance tell lies to support their conspiracy theories.
    I now have to concede ( after rechecking ) that the Mirror article was published after STS’s post, but the other two were early Saturday afternoon, so he should have checked before posting something so contentious.
    Hope this clarifies my comments.

  14. OG,
    The negativity as you put it is begotten of years of biased and tendentious reporting on the part of the newspaper and TV media. Frankly the number of occasions where the media knowingly misreport to suit their agenda far, far outweigh those of Arsenal fans looking for conspiracies that aren’t there. I hope this clarifies.

  15. ClockEndRider

    Absolutely true, it’s very catching, but that’s no excuse for someone who’s been privileged to have been able to write articles in UA, to tell fibs.

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