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GCR Books

Arsenal look, listen and take note of what we say! Just a start but wow, we feel wonderful!

By Andy Kelly and Tony Attwood

Arsenal’s recently published year end accounts have this little statement within it…

“David Danskin had an ambition to build a community of people with a kindred spirit and aim, namely playing football, having fun and being together.   December 1st 1886 was the date.”

You cannot imagine how this has the executive committee of the Arsenal History Society leaping up and down, up and down, and then again up and down.
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But why, you may ask…  What has got you so excited?
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Well the fact is that Arsenal FC took this information on the date of the club’s founding being December 1st from our booklet “From Dial Square to Woolwich Arsenal.”  If you are a member of Arsenal Independent Supporters Association you will have received a free copy – and if not you can join up now at www.aisa.org
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Or you can buy a copy by sending a cheque for £5 to AISA, PO Box 60511, London N5 9AX
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Before our booklet came out, the date of the club’s founding was either quoted as “sometime in October” or “Christmas Day”.  But we (or to be exact Andy) found the exact date, and let the world know.
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Our source was a report of the club’s annual dinner in May 1890 – part of which is shown below:
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What makes this so important to the AISA Arsenal History Society is that until now one or two of us have been a little bit concerned about how our work in the Arsenal History Society has been seen by the club.  They’ve been very polite, but not actually started changing any of the historical facts in their literature and on their web site where we have shown them to be wrong.
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Now first perhaps the first time, they have.  OK, they haven’t actually said, “thanks to all the hard work by those incredibly amazing guys at the AISA Arsenal History Society”, but we can live with that.
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It is party time today at the AHS.  What’s more we see this as a great start, and we are going to battle away with this from now on, not least on their insistence on seeing Danskin as the man with a mission.   As our forthcoming book “Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football” will show, it was not Danskin, but Jack Humble who had the vision and who kept the club going.
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Jack was there on day one with that very first meeting, and he was there at Wembley for our first cup final victory.

It is true that for many people David Danskin is considered as the man who started the Dial Square ball rolling, but his spell with the club was short, he clearly fell out with the club as it approached the professionalism (a fundamental issue in the history of the club), and he even went so far as to work with others to create a rival club.

However when David Danskin stood for election to the Royal Arsenal committee in 1892 but was not elected, almost certainly because he opposed the talk of the move towards professionalism at that time.  He then left Arsenal in 1893 and moved on to help form a new amateur team: Royal Ordnance Factories FC.  This club took a number of Royal Arsenal players with it, including: Peter Connolly, William George, Jack McBean, Jimmy Meggs and Mr McKenzie (whose first name is now lost).  Bobby Buist and William Stewart of Woolwich Arsenal joined a little later – probably around 1895.

However Royal Ordinance Factories FC never really thrived and there were financial problems throughout.   Peter Connolly, one of the leading lights in the club, died in 1895, and the club left the Southern League after playing just the first seven games of the 1896/97 season.  All the games were lost and apparently the side let in 46 goals.

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But we’ll fight that battle anon.  For the moment, we have made an impact, and those of us involved in the Society are utterly delighted.
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Here’s the link to the Arsenal financial report
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Arsenal History Society has a simple guide to its activities here
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Other articles…

1 comment to Arsenal look, listen and take note of what we say! Just a start but wow, we feel wonderful!

  • Notoverthehill

    BTW I was looking at the Arsenal Financial Reports since Mr Ivan Gazidis joined. To set a monetary value of the words “significant” and “substantial”!

    In the 2009/2010 short version of Mr Gazidis commentary he mentions inter alia “we have commissioned the most extensive work in the club’s history … “.

    Mr Gazidis earlier mentions in the same commentary The Foundry – celebrating the story of David Danskin ….

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