When Real Men Where in Charge of The Arsenal

An Arsenal Blast from the Past

Sir Henry George Norris

(July 23, 1865 – July 30, 1934)

Born in Kennington, to a working class family Sir Henry left school at fourteen to join a solicitor’s firm. Eighteen years later he left to pursue a career in property development, partnering W.G. Allen in the firm Allen & Norris. He made his fortune building houses in south and west London, Fulham in particular. He was commissioned into the 2nd Tower Hamlets Rifle Volunteers in 1896, but resigned the following year. From 1909 to 1919 he served as Mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Fulham, a member of the London County Council from 1916 to 1919, and as a Conservative MP for Fulham East from 1918 to 1922.

During World War I Norris was a military recruitment officer for the British Army. He served in the 3rd Middlesex Artillery Volunteers and in 1917 he was knighted and given the honorary rank of colonel for services to his country. He was also a prominent Freemason, rising to become Grand Deacon of the United Grand Lodge of England, and a well-known local philanthropist with close connections to the Church of England; he counted the Archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Thomas Davidson as a personal friend.

He purchased Woolwich Arsenal in 1910 and controlled his club like a dictator. Unlike other club directors and chairmen of his era Sir Henry never served on boards to raise his standing in the community, he did things his own way. He made numerous powerful enemies both in and out of football due to his questionable tactics and bullying nature. His company, Allen & Norris, was responsible for transforming Fulham from a semi-rural outpost into an urban jungle. In the process of constructing, renovating and selling houses, he made a large network of contacts in building and banking, many of whom owed him favours. Photographs and written accounts suggest that his physical stature, actions and mannerism’s made him a man to be feared.

The Woolwich Arsenal board welcomed Norris with open arms, having heard of his political ‘prowess’ when he was a director of Fulham. He had negotiated their rapid rise from the Southern League right up to Division Two. Fulham’s rise in divisions took place in only four years and that led directors of other clubs to suggest that the Football League had received substantial inducements, but no firm evidence was ever found. Sir Henry was already the undisputed master of subterfuge. On buying his majority stake in Woolwich Arsenal, he proposed a merger with Fulham and a permanent move to Craven Cottage to create a London ‘super-club’ but he was blocked by the Football League. Unable to merge the two clubs he set about rejuvenating Woolwich Arsenal and proposed that the club should be moved to North London enabling them to benefit from a local population of 500,000 in the districts of Finsbury, Hackney, Islington and Holborn. Chelsea, Orient and Spurs protested the proposal over concern for the erosion of their fan bases. The Tottenham Herald described Norris as an “interloper”, and a cartoon portrayed him as being the equivalent of the Hound of the Baskervilles, prowling around farmyards in an enormous spiked collar, ready to rip apart the Tottenham cockerel and steal its food.

An FA enquiry was set up to investigate the move but, once again, Sir Henry used his “influence” to stack the deck by appointing many personal friends to the committee and giving them information that would be favourable to Woolwich Arsenal. The committee ruled that the opposition had “no right to interfere”. The Tottenham Herald placed an advertisement begging its readers not to go and support Norris’s Woolwich interlopers stating that “They have no right to be here.” A group of Highbury residents were equally indignant about the possibility of the undesirable elements of professional football creating a vulgar presence on their doorstep. But true to form Sir Henry launched a charm offensive on the group, assuring them that they’d barely notice a football club in their midst, and in any case, that 30,000-plus fans in the district every other Saturday would be excellent for local business. The next hurdle to cross turned out to be the Church of England, many on the ecclesiastical committee believed football to be ‘ungodly’ and local residents believed that the thought of the Church of England agreeing to a football club buying the land was inconceivable. But Sir Henry went right to the top and offered the church a donation of £20,000, the church committee accepted the offer and the Archbishop of Canterbury personally signed the deed to Highbury.

With several members of the team killed in the Great War and no football having been played since 1915 Sir Henry’s hopes of transforming Arsenal into a super-club appeared to be in tatters. Having invested over £125,000 into the club, he faced the almost impossible task of rebuilding Arsenal from mid-table in Division Two to his dream “Super Club”. But he was about to pull another rabbit out of his hat. When the FA reconvened in 1919, Norris was full of confidence having just been knighted for his work as a recruitment officer during the war. He was also granted the honorary title of colonel and in the 1918 General Election had been voted Tory MP for Fulham East on a platform of “common decency”, “family values” and “moral strength”.

An FA management committee, anxious to get football back on its feet, proposed that Division One be expanded from 20 to 22 clubs. This wouldn’t seem to benefit Arsenal, who’d finished fifth in Division Two in the 1914/15 season, Birmingham and Wolves finishing third and fourth. It was widely believed that Division One’s relegated clubs, Chelsea and Spurs, would obtain a reprieve but Norris got to work his magic tricks on the committee. He secretly ‘canvassed’ every single member of the FA committee, with the proposal that Arsenal deserved promotion – however Spurs directors were kept completely in the dark throughout and suspected nothing. He also maintained that the Gunners should be rewarded “for their long service to league football”, neglecting to mention that Wolves had actually been league members for longer.

As for relegation-threatened Chelsea, Norris assured the Stamford Bridge chairman that his club would be reprieved as long as Arsenal got promotion. When the vote was taken, Chelsea got their reprieve, and Arsenal received their promotion. White Hart Lane was stunned. Even Tottenham’s parrot, presented to the club on the voyage home from their 1908 South American tour, was unable to cope with the news. It dropped dead, thus giving rise to the football cliché “sick as a parrot”. ‘Lucky Arsenal’ and ‘Cheating Arsenal’ were two of the more complimentary titles bestowed upon the club at the time.

By 1925 Sir Henry had owned Arsenal for close to 15 years and they had still not won any trophies – he was convinced that the problem was his manager Lesley Knighton who he dismissed, shortly before he was due to receive a £4,000 bonus.  Huddersfield Town’s triple Championship-winning boss Herbert Chapman was appointed manager in 1925 but Sir Henry found the 5ft 6in Chapman, dubbed ‘Yorkshire’s Napoleon’ to be a real handful to manage. Chapman informed Norris that if he really wanted to see Arsenal win a trophy in his lifetime, he’d have to spend his cash: his main target, Sunderland’s brilliant striker, Charlie Buchan, was officially worth £5,000, but Sir Henry worked out a deal where he would pay £2,000 to Sunderland up front and £100 for every goal Buchan scored during the season.

In 1927, the Daily Mail ran a series of articles alleging that Norris was guilty of making illegal payments to Charlie Buchan. Norris, they claimed, had given under-the-counter sums to Buchan to compensate for the loss of income he would incur from his move south – the player had to give up his business interests and buy an expensive house in London. The FA was strict about payments made to players, even though everyone in football knew that sweeteners regularly lured players to big clubs. Sir Henry had also personally ‘overseen’ the sale of the team bus in 1927 for £125, which somehow found its way into his wife’s bank account. The revelations were sensational how could such a high-profile member of the Conservative Party indulge in such financial malpractice? Norris challenged the Daily Mail’s allegations in court two years later, but the charges were upheld by the judge. An investigation by the Football Association followed, which uncovered that he had also used Arsenal’s expense accounts for his personal use to, namely to pay for his chauffeur. He sued the Daily Mail and the FA for libel, but in February 1929, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Hewart, ruled in favour of the FA and the Daily Mail. As a result, Sir Henry Norris was banned from Football – forever

After his death in 1934 from a massive heart attack, a kinder, gentler Sir Henry Norris could be glimpsed. His estate was valued at over £71,000 – the equivalent of over £4m today and not only were his widow, three daughters and two sisters taken care of, but Norris also looked after many of the Arsenal staff he used to terrify. Former manager Leslie Knighton was staggered to receive a cheque for £100 from the Norris estate, enabling him to take early retirement. Trainer George Hardy and groundsman Alec Rae received £50 each – over a year’s wages. Rae was likewise dumbfounded, as Norris was “always on to me if the pitch wasn’t quite like the croquet lawn he wanted”. The Fulham chapel where his funeral took place overflowed with friends and well-wishers. The vicar who conducted the service summed up: “Of the dead, speak nothing but good.” To this day, the regulars over at White Hart Lane might beg to differ

Although Sir Henry Norris died over 80 years ago, his name continues to provoke controversy.

GunnerN5

38 thoughts on “When Real Men Where in Charge of The Arsenal

  • Thanks GN5. I think I may have mentioned this before, we have a family link with Sir Henry. My maternal grandmother was born Gwendoline Norris. If you could see some of the photos of her family you would note the likeness. (Bit scary).
    I was unaware of the Vicar’s words at his funeral, and also the generosity he expressed in his will. Thanks for filling in those gaps. I will share them with my 81 year old Mum over dinner this evening. I turn 61 on Tuesday. All I want for my birthday is three points off the spuds.

  • It’s nice to read some related yet different from the lineups-results-transfers triangle.
    GN5, you are a masterful storyteller.
    Stuart, great addition; I hope your birthday wish will be granted.

  • Arsenal v Tottenham D
    Chelsea v Manchester City * A 1:3
    Southampton v Wolves. A
    Leeds v West Ham * D 0:0
    Brentford v Liverpool A
    Real Madrid v Villarreal * D 1-1

  • Arsenal v Tottenham D
    Chelsea v Manchester City * H (2-1)
    Southampton v Wolves H
    Leeds v West Ham * A (1-2 )
    Brentford v Liverpool A
    Real Madrid v Villarreal * H (2-0)

  • Thank you for the comments on Sir Henry, I found him to be a fascinating figure and he was so instrumental in our club.
    Without him there would not a been a stadium at Arsenal and my youth would have been very.very different – I dread the thought but I may have grown up a Spurs supporter.

    He was a known villain/fraudster but pocketing the money from the sale of the Arsenal bus went too far. Makes me wonder what he could have achieved if he had not been banned for life but…………..

  • Arsenal v Tottenham H
    Chelsea v Manchester City * H (1-0)
    Southampton v Wolves H
    Leeds v West Ham * A (0-2 )
    Brentford v Liverpool A
    Real Madrid v Villarreal * H (2-1)

  • Great post GN5, I really enjoy your historical strolling down memory lane.
    But read this and tell me what you think?

    There was actually an interesting head to head (although not on the pitch) in 1919 when, following an outbreak of match fixing, primarily by Manchester United and Liverpool, amends had to be made to Chelsea, who (if nothing was done) would be relegated as the result of a flagrantly fixed match.

    Rather than ban Manchester United and Liverpool from the league, the decision was taken to charge the players, and after that, expand the league by two teams, with one of them being Chelsea, so they didn’t suffer (and also didn’t take the League to court). And so, at an AGM of the league, a vote was held ahead of the new season, to see which club that should be.

    In the build up to the election there was a lot of debate in “Athletics News” – the leading football weekly paper of the era, and they put forward Arsenal’s name as the team that should be elected to the remaining place as a reward for their bringing professional football to the south of the country, and for choosing to join the Football League rather than the Southern League.

    But there was also memory of the events of March 1905 and February 1908. In March 1905 Chelsea had applied to join the Southern League, but Tottenham had vigorously opposed the application and so the Southern League said “no”. Chelsea then applied for a place in the Football League and were immediately elected, with the full support of Arsenal.

    Then three years on, with the Football League getting much bigger crowds than the Southern League, Tottenham gave notice in February 1908 that it would be resigning from the Southern League at the end of the season, and would be applying to join the Football League, (and this despite only being a mid-table Southern League club at the time, eventually finishing 7th that season).

    The Football League held its AGM at the end of the season, deciding as always what to do with clubs that had applied to join the League, and also how to treat the bottom clubs who had to apply for re-election. As a result of a re-election process, Lincoln City who had finished bottom were thrown out of the League, and Bradford PA were elected in their place. In the vote Tottenham only finished fifth among the clubs applying to be in the League.

    Having already resigned from the Southern League, and being rejected by the Football League, Tottenham were then left with a bunch of players, a ground, and no league to play in.

    However their fortune changed when Stoke resigned because of financial problems so another round of applications was held. Tottenham applied again, but still didn’t have overwhelming support because there was still unhappiness that they had thrown in their lot with the Southern League, rather than joining the Football League as Arsenal, Clapton Orient and Chelsea had done.

    Five teams applied for Stoke’s place and Tottenham and Lincoln (who were applying for re-election once again) tied in the ballot for a place in Division II. So a second vote was held with just these two clubs in contention and again the result was again tied. On a third Management committee vote Tottenham won. And what is noteworthy is that Arsenal supported Tottenham’s application throughout the whole affair by voting for them each time.

    Despite Arsenal’s support for Tottenham throughout this process, Tottenham led the protests against Arsenal’s move from Plumstead to Highbury in 1913, but the League sided with Arsenal.

    Now onto 1919 when the clubs were again pitted against each other. Tottenham had come bottom of the 1st division in the previous season, while Arsenal had come 5th in the second division.

    There is a very detailed analysis of what happened at the AGM to elect the final member of the first division here, including extended extracts from the newspapers and magazines of the time. There is no mention of anything being amiss, not even in the local Tottenham paper, nor from Tottenham Hotspur itself where the club accepted the result of the vote immediately with good frace, and set about getting promotion from the second division the following season, which they did.

    The earliest allegation of the election being fixed seems to have come in 1969, where it is suggested in a book written by a Tottenham supporter that there was no logical reason for Arsenal to be elected, so they must have fixed it. No evidence is given, nor is there any explanation as to why it took 50 years for the suggestion of wrong-doing (without evidence) to emerge.

    Subsequently a reward was offered to anyone who could come up with evidence of anything wrong being done at any stage of the 1919 election. That has never been claimed, although the allegations have continued to be thrown around. But then, that’s what happens.

    (fFrom an article I read on Untold Arsenal, which actually gives a slightly different spin to the 1919 affair)

  • And here’s another written by Arsenal historian Andy Kelly;

    Arsenal’s Election To The First Division In 1919
    by Andy Kelly

    On 10 March 1919 the English Football League held a special meeting to decide whether to expand the League from two divisions each with 20 teams to two divisions each with 22 teams. They would also decide which teams would constitute each division. One of those decisions has been a cause of great debate between two teams since that day. That decision was to elect Arsenal into the First Division and the manner in which it happened.

    Background

    On 4 August 1914 the UK declared war on Germany and entered what was to become known as the First World War. At the time it was believed that the war would be over by Christmas. The English Football Association met on 1 September 1914 and agreed that football should continue within England for the 1914-15 season.

    As the war continued unabated, footballers were criticised for staying at home to play rather than join up and serve their country on the battlefields of France. Throughout the season attendances dropped and a number of footballers eventually signed up to fight for their country.

    At the end of the 1914-15 season, Chelsea and Tottenham finished in the bottom two places of the First Division of the Football League whilst Derby and Preston finished in the top two places in the Second Division. At any other time these teams would have simply swapped places (note that back then it was two up and two down). Arsenal had finished 6th in Division Two. However, two things happened.

    Firstly, it became apparent that the game between Manchester United and Liverpool on 2 April 1915 had been fixed in Manchester United’s favour. The upshot was that Manchester United avoided relegation by one point thus denying Chelsea a place in the First Division the following season. Tottenham would have been relegated irrespective of the outcome of the Manchester United and Liverpool game.

  • Secondly, the English Football Association suspended first class football for the duration of the war. Local leagues were organised with Arsenal and Tottenham playing in the London Combination. Thoughts of match fixing, and promotion and relegation were forgotten about for almost four years.

    The First World War came to an end on 11 November 1918. By this time the 1918-19 season had started and the regional leagues would be played to a conclusion.

    There was much talk of how football would be organised for the 1919-20 season. The London clubs considered continuing with the London Combination, there was talk of the Southern League amalgamating with the Football League to create a truly national League, and Blackpool proposed an extension of the First Division to 22 teams along with an extension to the season to include more Saturday games (mid-week games suffered from poor attendances due to early kick-off times as there were no floodlights).

    This proposal by Blackpool was reported in the Athletic News (a Manchester based weekly sports paper) who introduced a new twist. They mentioned an “election” and that Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal would have an interest in it. They also set their stall out by supporting Arsenal’s claim to a place in the top flight. Why? Some may say that the editor, Jimmy Catton, was a friend of Norris. However, Catton was a friend to most of the top people in football and other sports. The Athletic News under his stewardship was renowned for its influence and everybody wanted to be Catton’s friend.

    Shortly after this date Chelsea chairman Claude Kirby wrote to the Football League Management Committee requesting that Chelsea be re-instated to the First Division for the 1919-20 season due to the exceptional circumstances of the Manchester United v Liverpool game.

  • The Special Meeting of The Football League

    By the end of January 1919 it was clear that the Football League would be holding a meeting to decide on the structure of the League. The meeting was to be held on 10 March 1919. The exact format of the meeting was not known as a number of proposals were eventually tabled during the meeting.

    However, the talk of an election dominated the press. The feeling was that any re-structuring had to take into account the events of April 1915 where Chelsea were relegated due to unfair means. So much so, that clubs with an interest had started to lobby their peers.

    On 31 January 1919, The Sportsman (a London based sports paper) said that Tottenham had sent a letter to all the other League clubs putting forward their arguments as to why they should be elected to the First Division. This means that Tottenham must have realised that there was a chance of a vote at the forthcoming meeting.

    On 3 February 1919 the Athletic News responded to Tottenham’s claim in a very negative fashion and put forward Arsenal’s case. They also intimated that Chelsea, Preston and Derby starting the 1919-20 season in the First Division was a foregone conclusion.

  • The meeting was held on 10 March 1919 in Manchester. A number of different proposals were put forward. Everton proposed that the League should not be expanded but that Chelsea should stay in the First Division and Manchester United be relegated. This was not considered as it was the players of Liverpool and Manchester United that had fixed the game and not the officials of either club. West Bromwich Albion proposed that the First Division be expanded to 21 teams and that Chelsea should be elected as the 21st team. This was also rejected.

    It was finally agreed that both divisions would be expanded to 22 teams; Preston and Derby would be promoted and it was agreed unanimously that Chelsea should be elected to the First Division. Seven teams had applied in advance for that final position so it was obvious that a vote was going to happen. Tottenham had finished bottom of the First Division in 1914-15, Barnsley, Wolves, Birmingham, Arsenal and Hull had finished 3rd to 7th in the Second Division. The biggest surprise was Nottingham Forest who had finished 18th in the Second Division!

    An open discussion then took place and vote for the final place in the First Division was held. I’m not sure of the vote was a secret ballot or if it was a show of hands. The results are shown in the minutes of the meeting below:

    It has been suggested that the Football League’s president made a speech supporting Arsenal. Other than secondary sources I’ve not seen anything to support this. The Sportsman, Athletic News, Daily Mirror and The Times certainly did not report this. They did report that C.E. Sutcliffe made a speech stating that the expansion would give them an opportunity to do right by Chelsea. It would seem strange that this would be reported but not a speech by the president.

  • The Athletic News did, however, report that the Tottenham representative at the meeting stated “We shall take our defeat like sportsmen!”

    Accusations of Bribery

    Over the years the events of early 1919 have been told in many club histories and general football histories. As is usual, the story has been manipulated, added to and exaggerated. Tottenham fans have taken over this part of Arsenal’s history and have stated that there must have been something underhand about Arsenal’s election. There MUST have. And the usual accusation is that Norris bribed officials from other clubs to vote for Arsenal. This is generally supported by the “fact” that Norris had laid out £125,000 in moving Arsenal to Highbury and the club still owed him £60,000 after the end of the First World War. A place in the First Division was required to bring in good crowds to help pay off this debt.

    So, what of the allegations of bribery by Henry Norris?

    In all of my research I have never come across anyone from within the game of football who said that Henry Norris offered them money to vote for Arsenal on that day in 1919, nor anyone who said that they believed that he may have done so.

    It appears that there are only two groups of people that have said that there was any impropriety.

    Firstly, Tottenham fans whose argument is “well, he must have”. When asked to provide any positive evidence they simply repeat the same tired old mantra.

    Secondly, those who are trying to sell a book by sensationalising the events. Their version of events are generally discredited when they get some of the basic facts wrong, e.g. that Norris proposed the vote at the meeting on 10 March 1919 when it had already been decided that it was on the agenda. The sums of money mentioned above have been also been wildly exaggerated – an inspection of the club’s accounts proves this.

    Take a look at this passage from Ralph L. Finn’s “Arsenal – Chapman To Mee” published in 1969:

    (Which I cant cut n paste I’m afraid)

  • Finn states that Norris was aided by the Arsenal manager, Leslie Knighton. The special meeting was held on 10 March 1919, Knighton wasn’t appointed manager until the middle of April 1919. He also says that Norris managed to secure a vote at the meeting which wasn’t true. How much more of his account can be trusted? Incidentally, Finn’s other books included “Spurs Supreme”, “Spurs Go Marching On”, “London’s Cup Final”, “Spurs Again” and “The Official History of Tottenham Hotspur F C 1882-1972”. I wonder which side of the fence he was on?

    What proof is there that nothing underhand took place? Well, the total lack of any proof that it did is my only defence. There were numerous opportunities for people to come forward and discredit Norris, especially in 1927 and 1929.

    There have been no death bed confessions from those that were allegedly bribed; no accusations from those that were approached by Norris and then voted for one of the other teams; nothing from Norris himself when he felt that he had been libelled by the authorities in 1929. He could have taken down some big names with himself when he was banned from English football.

    Norris had spoken out before the war about another game that he believed had been fixed. Surely any attempt of bribery would have had his peers shouting “hypocrite!” But no one did.

    A total and utter lack of any solid evidence.

    Why did so many clubs vote for Arsenal rather than Tottenham? We have already seen why in this article. The argument that Norris talked the meeting into holding a vote on the day is nonsense as seven clubs had put themselves forward in advance of the meeting, and Tottenham had started lobbying their peers at the end of January. Whatever happened on the day gave no reason to support anything underhand as the Tottenham representative would surely have mentioned it.

    This is an event in Arsenal’s history that has been hi-jacked by Tottenham fans who are unable to accept that Henry Norris and Arsenal did nothing wrong in the early part of 1919, and that nothing more than shrewd lobbying by a popular club saw Arsenal elected into the First Division.

    And now I will put my money where my mouth is. If anyone can show me any evidence that Henry Norris bribed any official from any other club I will donate £100 to that person’s chosen charity.

  • N5 what a great article. Really interesting character. Could even make a cool biographical movie. The story about the backroom deals… Chelsea, Tottenham, wow, wtf, I love this guy! From the photo I thought I was looking at Max von Sydow.

    Kev great addendum, and I love the passion that you’re still ready to argue about it like a recent match or bad ref call against us.

  • Nice read, GN5; and fine in-swingers by Kev, even if still awaiting a response from GN5. I just love these stories from yesteryears about the club’s formative years.
    Particularly enjoyed the one about Tottenham’s Parrot dropping dead after Arsenal were chosen for promotion. I do hope a lot of their fans get to be sick as a parrot after the NLD. Lol.

    Thanks TA. Indeed, my predictions are at the end of the previous thread. Cheers, GN5.

  • Hi Johnno, not really arguing mate and I certainly wouldn’t want GN5 to think that as I love his work, it’s just that the accepted view of what happened in 1919 has been challenged in recent years by Arsenal people and historians who’ve delved into the historical records still available and it does make me wonder if the suggestions that Norris did anything corrupt are just another example of anti-Arsenal bias from those who have an axe to grind.

    It’s also convenient for Football League historians to focus on any perceived machinations by Arsenal from that period rather than the match fixing allegations of Liverpool and Man Utd especially as they were major Northern teams and the Football League is a Northern construct and very much skewed in that direction favourably. Better to rubbish Lucky Arsenal.

  • Too right Total, too right, I guess it’s the gradual and continuous undermining of my club that gets my goat, all of which can be traced back to sports journalists of the past like Ralph Finn. Growing up as a young boy and young man I was always irritated by the inaccurate and quite biased reporting of Arsenal matches that I’d been at, initially I thought it was me but in latter years I concluded that sports reporters were not the honest brokers we thought them to be and since the evolution of the Internet their slanted view has been ever more brought into focus.

    Accepted narratives have been re-examined in recent years and deliberate inaccuracies exposed but it takes years to expunge these old accepted tales of yore. I think that Norris falls into that category.

    For example the point made that when he was forced out of football by the FA, why didn’t he take some of his detractors with him, especially if he’d bribed them or knew of untoward practices they engaged in?

  • Wow some great responses, I’ve just tuned in and have just glanced at them so far. I will read them all later after I’ve watched the early games. Thanks for the info Total I’ll scroll back and pick up Eris’ predictions.

  • I’ve picked up all of the predictions.

    It sounds like a real chore preparing for your trip Eris – I hope you have a great time, will you be able to stay in touch with us at BK?

  • Thanks, GN5. It is a dreary process of tests and online uploads, along with monitoring countries’ respective protocols. Of course, I should be able to keep in touch in short bursts, as I do have a long lay over in London. Been able to catch the early games too, on my device.

  • Hi Kev, I just loved reading through those accounts of yesteryear – it’s amazing how the accounts/memories vary but it’s obvious that conspiracy theories were as abundant then as they are today.

    In all of my reading and research I’m left with no doubt that our Sir Henry was not adverse to “oiling” the path he wanted at walk and he got away with it for many years, protected by friends those that owed him favours. However the misappropriation of the funds from the Arsenal bus turned out to be an indisputable fact and the FA subsequently banned him football for life. That in itself may seem like a minor indiscretion but I feel that after so many years of suspicions about him and his character that he got away with they took full advantage of the opportunity they were presented with to ban him. – Sad for him and even worse for Arsenal.

    I really enjoy reading the work of Andy Kelly, he’s a man after my own heart. In fact I pointed out a few data errors in the book “Arsenal – the complete record” which he co- authored with Josh James and Mark Andrews – three respected authorities on Arsenal. I’ve often been urged to write a book of my own about our beloved team but the best I’ve done over the years is put together hundreds of various posts/articles – maybe I could knit them together – who knows?

  • Crazy thing, GN5. I just noticed I have predicted an Away win for Villareal. Not sure how that happened as I thought I read somewhere Madrid were the away side. The result stated should be the reverse; 2-1 Madrid. I am not sure if that game has been played and if my revised entry is valid. Either way, you be the umpire and I shall accept your decision.

  • Let me put out there early that for the North London derby, I would take Ben White out of the starting 11 to avoid the scrutiny, and start Holding in his place. Holding would help control Kane and would be able to keep an eye on Son, should he come to our right hand side to attack the goal.

    I feel White has been taking his “play out from the back” demand too seriously and it’s weighing down on him, in addition to the price tag. I am not sure about his mentality but the NLD May be a bit too much. One poor decision and it may ruin him.

  • Oh, thanks a great deal, GN5. You’re a good sport.

    Now, watch how Emery will get his team to play a blinder against Madrid. 😅

  • Brentford giving Liverpool as good as they are getting, it would seem. That Tony is sure a handful.

  • Yes GN5 I’ve got numerous histories of Arsenal from varying eras and from different writers and they’ve all got some differences especially in the stats. I guess when you’re accumulating a whole raft of statistics that it’s easy to slip up.

    Unfortunately Arsenal lost a lot of information an£ records during its move from Woolwich to Highbury, as I know you’ll know, so those pre-Highbury days require a lot of time working your way through the local newspapers and sports publications of the day, therefore I guess a certain degree of subjectivity tends to come into anyone’s research.

    For anyone interested in further reading I fully recommend;

    http://www.thearsenalhistory.com/?page_id=7

    I hope the link works.

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