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GCR Books

Great Grandson of Arsenal star wins gold at Olympics

By Tony Attwood and Andy Kelly

Britain’s Greg Rutherford has won the Olympic gold medal in the long jump on Saturday.   And we mention this because Greg is the great grandson of Woolwich Arsenal, The Arsenal and Arsenal star player Jock Rutherford.

Full details of Jock Rutherford are of course incorporated into the book Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football but below is a quick summary.

And just to show you how in tune with the times our book is, we end our review in the book with this comment:

“[Jock’s] great grandson, Greg Rutherford, represented the UK in the long jump at the 2006 European Athletic Championships and the 2010 Commonwealth games , winning a silver medal on both occasions.”

It was almost as if we knew this was coming.

So now, onto the Olympian’s grandfather…

Jock was a Newcastle player who won three Championships and an FA Cup winner’s medal, and played for England.  He also scored the first goal that Woolwich Arsenal conceded as a First Division team, and played against Woolwich Arsenal in the 1906 FA Cup semi final.

But at the start of 1913/14 he was in dispute with Newcastle over wages and was sold to Woolwich Arsenal for £800 – a great coup for Arsenal, and undoubtedly aided by the fact that the club had attracted huge publicity by just moving into its new Gillespie Road ground.

Jock was by then 29, and quickly became a regular in the side, until the very last match of Woolwich Arsenal – the 7-0 win against Nottingham Forest – the final game in fact before the four year break caused by the first world war.

Despite being 35 when the league resumed in 1919 he returned to play for Arsenal in the first division – and continued to do so for four years.

In 1923 he left to go into club management but after his club, Stoke, were relegated he returned to Arsenal and played 20 matches in the next two seasons.  He retired in 1925 but came back for a third and final show in January 1926 and played the rest of that season.  His last match was on 20 March 1926 when he was 41 years and 159 days old – the oldest man ever to play for Arsenal.

Even then he was not finished as he went on to play for Clapton Orient for one season before retiring to run an off-licence in Neasden.  He played 232 games for the club and scored 27 goals.

His son John was also on Arsenal’s books, playing one game in the 1926/27 season.

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