By Tony Attwood
George Grant had an Arsenal career spanning Woolwich Arsenal, The Arsenal and Arsenal, ending with the cessation of football for the first world war. A career that ran from the Norris takeover in 1910 to 1919.
In all he made 57 appearances and scored four goals.
Unlike most of our team in the early 20th century he was a local man, bornin Plumstead in 1891.
His early playing reocrd however is something of an oddity because it starts with Woolwich Wesley Guild, and is followed by Northumberland Oddfellows and I am sorry to say I have no information on either of these – and no clue as to what took him from Plumstead to Northumberland.
After that he was back in Kent playing for Dartford Invicta. Again I am at sea (well on the coast anyway) as I can’t find a record of the club. They don’t seem to be the same as Dartford (formed 1888), and the club playing under this name in the Kent Suburban Football League has no history on the internet I can find. I can only presume they were a small minor league team, who then passed away, and whose name has been reignited by a new team in recent years. (There’s a number of other cases of this in football). But if you know more, do tell.
After that he came to Woolwich Arsenal aged 19, playing as a right half (that’s part of the defensive line in front of the two full backs in the traditional 2-3-5 formation).
His first game was on September 9 1911, away to Aston Villa in front of 24,000, where we lost 1-4. However this was clearly an emergency cover job, since he was playing central midfield (number 5) in place of PR Sands who was presumably injured. Sands played 34 out of 36 games in that position, and this Grant’s only game that year.
In 1912/13 he got a run of games near the end of the season (played 13, scored 2), and he started out the 1913-14 season at Highbury as the resident number 4, but dropped out after five games, only to come back at the end of the season with 12 games and one goal. He also appeared in the FA Cup defeat to Bradford City on 1 January 1914.
In this final season he played 28 games in the league and scored once, plus two FA Cup games (we went out in the second round to Chelsea).
After the war George Grant signed for Millwall Athletic (the forerunner of Millwall. They had moved to the Den in 1910 (there is a description of the farcical scenes at the first game in Making the Arsenal) and continued to play in the Southern League until 1920.
After that he is recorded as going to QPR, Northfleet and finally back to the north east at North Shields.
And that would be more or less it if it weren’t for a note on a QPR web site for a first round FA Cup match on 8 January 1921, in which QPR beat Arsenal 2-0 which I found by chance.
Grant would have been 31 by this time, and in the QPR squad for the game we find him playing at number four – so it was almost certainly the same guy.
Here’s the team for the last game at Plumstead (April 26, 1913, against Middlesbrough, crowd: 3000). The articles done so far have links – the rest will follow in the coming week.
- Goal: O Wilson
- Right back: J Shaw
- Left Back: J Fidler
- Right Half: GM Grant (this article)
- Centre Half: PR Sands
- Left Half: A McKinnon
- Outside Right: C H Lewis
- Inside Right : W A Spittle
- Centre Forward: S J Stonley
- Inside Left: A Devine
- Outside Left: G Burrell
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