In 1886 a group of labourers fronted by David Danskin and Jack Humble form Dial Square, named after the dial on top of their factory. They first acquire their notorious red kits from former goalkeeper Fred Beardsley and Morris Bates, who purchase them from their old club.
The name Royal Arsenal is coined soon after, when the team claims their first 6-0 victory against the Eastern Wanderers on the Isle of Dogs, and the history of football starts being written: taking home local victories in the years to follow – the Kent Senior Cup, London Charity Cup and finally the London Senior Cup between 1889 and 1891.
It’s Time to Play With the big Boys
The divide between the southern clubs and pro league becomes a painful reality, when Royal Arsenal takes the leap form amateur to pro in 1891. This doesn’t go down well with the amateur clubs. Subsequently Royal Arsenal is barred from participating in local tournaments. The blows are harsh and losses are suffered, but Woolwich Arsenal lays its foundation towards professionalism, making it to the FA semi-final for two consecutive seasons in 1905 and 1906.
In 1913 Arsenal rises from the ashes at the Highbury (Arsenal) Stadium in first league, securing its place there for years to come, but not without controversy surrounding the promotion in 1919 or the struggle to keep it in the years to follow. Managed by Leslie Knighton from1919-1925, the club didn’t place higher than ninth.
Rising from the Ashes
Following Norris’ appointment of Herbert Chapman in 1925, Arsenal makes their first final in1927 and secures FA Cup victory in1930 at Wembley stadium. This is the first success in a decade of titles to follow, with a league title in 1931/32 and a Division title in the following season. However, tragedy ensues with Chapman’s untimely demise from pneumonia in 1934. Nevertheless, the legacy lives on, with Arsenal securing its second successive title in May, followed by a third under the management of former director George Allison in 1934/35, thus securing a hat trick of titles that anchor Arsenal as a dominant force in Football.
The Second World War
With the onslaught of The Second World War in 1939, all major league football in Britain is suspended and the league cancelled. Highbury stadium being closed down, Arsenal plays their home matches at their rival’s stadium White Hart Lane. Arsenal continues to win victories at the Football League War Cup South in 1942–43 and then takes the London or Southern league titles in 1939–40, 1941–42 and 1942–43.
Post war Years and return to Competitive Football
Arsenal returns to the league in 1946/47, and it is a turbulent season. Haunted by the losses of their teammates and suffering grave damages to their stadium, they end up 13th, spurring the retirement of Allison and his subsequent replacement by his assistant Tom Whitaker. Arsenal takes the league in 1947/48 and 1953, this marking the last Arsenal victory for 17 years.
A Second Life
Following the appointment of Billy Wright in 1962, shortly succeeded by Bertie Mee, the team undergoes some serious restructuring with the signings of new players that skyrocket Arsenal into the glory that lay ahead.
The 70’s are off to a good start. The FA youth Cup team makes it into the league finals in 1968 and1969, securing a win at Highbury, and Arsenal takes the title at White Hart Lane, followed by a victory at the FA Final, thus becoming the fourth team in history to do the double. Moving on to more records and milestones, in 1987 the first women’s team is founded. In 2004 the ‘Invincibles’ win the domestic title, after not losing a single match throughout the season. Arsenal moves from their home Highbury Stadium to the Emirates Stadium in 2006, and finally in 2012 Arsenal celebrates its 125th Anniversary as a club.