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GCR Books

Athletic News: the leading sports journal of the day, previews Woolwich Arsenal 1910/11

by Tony Attwood

This is a copy of the 1910/11 season preview of Woolwich Arsenal from the pre-eminent football magazine of the day: Athletic News.   You may recall in earlier articles how we described the attempt by Henry Norris and others to set up a southern rival to Athletic News (itself published in Manchester, and in its football coverage holding a very strong northern bias).

That operation (Football Chat) proved to be a disaster, not because there was not an audience for such a magazine, but that the person who sold it to Norris and others exaggerated greatly the advertising income and number of sales he was getting each month.

A southern magazine launched from scratch probably would have worked with a slow roll out across London and then into other towns with significant Southern League and Football League teams, but the group of men in the venture tried for a short cut, and it didn’t work.

Here is the article that Atheltic News published as its season preview on Arsenal on August 29, 1910


The alleged summer has been an eventual time for the Woolwich Arsenal club. The old ship (to use Dr Clark’s simile) has seen stormy weather, has almost foundered, and has only weathered the storm by taking on board new officers, with Mr. G. Morrell as pilot. But here we are concerned more with the men before the mast – in other words the players who are to wear the Woolwich red shirts during the coming winter.

There are nineteen professionals, of whom thirteen were with the club last season, four are new to Woolwich, and the other two are old players re-engaged. These last are Bateup, who, as a soldier in the garrison, played for the “Gunners,” turned professional, and went to New Brompton; and George Rogers, a local man, who played in the reserve team a few years ago, and was then secured by Fulham. From Fulham he went to Northfleet, which team is paying for a successful season by losing him – and others. He plays a thoughtful game at right half-back, and can also hold his own as a full back. He is a swimmer, sprinter, cricketer, baseballer – and has played for Kent at water polo.

The four new-comers are all forwards. They include Alf Common, whose career is too well known to need recapitulation here. Rippon, the sturdy centre-forward of Bristol City; Logan, from Sunderland; and Hedley from Jarrow Caledonians. So far as one can judge from the practice matches, Common and Rippon will add greatly to the forward strength.

Then, some practice matches have also demonstrated the weakness of the club at outside right, where there is no reserve of any moment for Greenaway. Hedley and Logan have both pleased the critics at practice, the former by his perseverance and trustfulness, the latter by his pace and clever touches.

G. Grant, a finely-built local half-back, has also attracted attention. The death of young Cannon, the reserve goalkeeper, put the officials in a quandary, but a Royal Artillery Bandsman named Burdett has come forward, and has given capital displays at practice. He has the ideal height and reach for a goalkeeper, and of course, plays as an amateur.

Another amateur, whose name has been mentioned in connection with Woolwich is Evans, the Welsh amateur international forward.

Sergeant-Major Charles McGibbon, who was so greatly instrumental in saving the Arsenal club from the Second Division last season, has signed for Leyton. The long journeys which the “Gunners” have to undertake make it impossible for McGibbon to play regularly for them, but it is whispered that an emergency would bring him back to the old club.

Another Woolwich soldier, Bombardier William Buckenham, has joined Southampton, where, it is curious to note, he takes the place of McGibbon. Hugh McDonald has gone to Oldham Athletic, Albert Beney to Carlisle, and young Buchan to Leyton.

Walter Lawrence has returned to Crystal Palace, with which club he played as an amateur, and Spencer Bassett, a smart local half-back, has travelled as far as Exeter. Charles Satterthwaite has retired from football, and in Workington, his native place, has become “Ye Host.” The whereabouts of Curle and Tom Drain are not known locally.

At the Manor Ground there has been no alterations of any moment, but the place looks all the better for a new coat of paint. This last is symbolical of the club as a whole, and although the team hardy suggests great possibilities there is every expectation of much better results than last year.

The following is a complete list of professional: –

Edwin Bateup, Croydon, goalkeeper, 5ft. 9½in, 11st.;
Duncan McDonald, Glasgow, full back, 5ft. 8in., 12st. 7lb.;
Joe Shaw, Bury, full back, 5ft. 10in., 12st.;
Archie Gray, Govan, full back, 5ft. 7in., 11st. 7lb.;
Percy Sands, Norwood, half-back, 5ft. 10in., 13st.;
Matt Thomson, Maryhill (Glasgow), half-back, 5ft. 10in., 11st. 6lb.;
Angus McKinnon, Paisley, half-back, 5ft. 8in., 11st.;
Roddy McEachrane, Inverness, half-back, 5ft. 6½in., 10st. 11lb.;
George Rogers, Plumstead, half-back, 5ft. 8½in., 10st.;
Andy Ducat, Brixton, half-back, 5ft. 9 ½in., 12st.;
John Dick, Eaglesham (Renfrewshire), half-back, 5ft. 7in.; 11st.;
David Greenaway, Coatdyke (Lanarkshire), forward, 5ft. 8in., 11st.;
Charles Lewis, Plumstead, forward, 5ft. 9in., 11st. 3lb.;
Alf Common, Sunderland, forward, 5ft. 8in., 13st.;
Willis Rippon, Rawmarsh, forward, 5ft. 9in., 13st.;
Harry Logan, Glasgow, forward, 5ft. 8in., 11st.;
Frank Heppinstall, South Hindley, forward, 5ft. 9in., 11st. 6lb.;
David Neave, Arbroath, forward, 5ft. 7in., 11st.;
Thomas Hedley, Gateshead, forward, 5ft. 7½in., 11st. 4lb.
(Athletic News: August 29, 1910)


This article is part of the evolving series on Henry Norris at the Arsenal.  Other articles are listed below.

The Henry Norris Files

Section 1 – 1910.

Part 1. How Arsenal fell from grace.

Part 2: heading for liquidation and the first thought of moving elsewhere

Part 3: March and April 1910 – the crisis deepens

Part 4: the proposed mergers with Tottenham and Chelsea.

Part 5: The collapse of Woolwich Arsenal: how the rescue took shape.

Part 6: It’s agreed, Arsenal stay in Plumstead for one (no two) years

Part 7: Completing the takeover and preparing for the new season

Part 8: July to December 1910. Bad news all round.

Section 2 – 1911

Henry Norris at the Arsenal part 9: 1911 – Arsenal escape relegation.

Two of Arsenal’s most mysterious players: missing from the official list, but they certainly played

Arsenal’s team in Norris’ first season overseeing the club: George Burdett

Gordon Rahere Hoare: the Arsenal player who transferred 23 times.

Jackie Chalmers: the man who rescued Arsenal, but then rode back to the north.

Other articles

George Allison’s view of Henry NorrisWhy did Henry Norris have a fixation with Woolwich Arsenal

The take over

The day Arsenal came within 3 minutes of extinction

By 1910 Norris owned three clubs, one in Division 1, one in Division 2, and one in the Southern League.   Why?

Woolwich Arsenal liquidated

Norris does an interview with the Kentish Indy, and blames the fans

Arsenal supporters refuse to hand over their cash

Norris as chairman

Henry Norris as Chairman (part of the Chairmen of Arsenal series)

Norris and the club motto

Arsenal elected – find the bribery and get the reward

Knighton could not spend, Chapman could

Norris and Highbury

Gillespie Road names as new stadium

The last game in Woolwich

Norris and the Highbury Defence committee

Woolwich Arsenal gain possession of Highbury

23 February 1913: Tottenham demand a meeting of the Football League to stop Arsenal’s advance

22 February 1913 – Gillespie Rd named as new Arsenal stadium

Light Hearts and Optimism

Arsenal buy Highbury

Norris and the players

Did Henry Norris forbid one manager to make signings and give another an open cheque book?

The Reg Boreham story – Norris cast in the worst possible light.

Norris and Chapman

Norris publishes Arsenal’s most notorious advert

When power moved from Norris to Chapman

 George Hardy – the man Norris cited when he resigned

From Knighton to Chapman

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