Easter 100 years ago ran from 25th March (Good Friday) through to 28th March (Easter Monday).
Nothing spectacular there you might say, and I would thoroughly agree with you, save for the fact of the fixture list. For Woolwich Arsenal it read…
- 25th March – Newcastle United away
- 26th March – The Wednesday home
- 28th March – Chelsea away.
Three games in four days, and just consider the logistics….
The players would have taken a train to Newcastle (via London and the underground) on Thursday 24th March, obviously stayed overnight and then partaken in the 3pm kick off on the Friday.
Now the question is, how to get back? The obvious explanation was a quick bath and onto a train at around 8pm getting back to London in the late evening. But even then there was the issue of getting from central London to Plumstead and Woolwich where the players lived. That was certainly not an easy journey whichever way you took it, and there is no chance of anyone being in bed until the early hours.
Then it was up the next day and back to the ground for the home game with The Wednesday and then at last an evening’s relaxation, a day off, and ove r to Chelsea on Easter Monday for the big one – at which a huge crowd was expected.
At the start of this crazy Easter period Newcastle was third, The Wednesday 11th and Chelsea 16th (out of 20, the bottom two going down).
Newcastle therefore was easily the toughest of the games – it was a long journey and the opposition had already won ten, drawn one and lost four at home this season, scoring 30 and letting in 18 so far.
Woolwich Arsenal on the other hand had won three, drawn two and lost 10 away, scoring 14 and letting in 46. It did not bode well. The cost cutting at Woolwich had taken the side down to the bone and their record of having played 30 games and scored just 31 goals showed how poor the attack was. It was going to be tough.
Just for the record, going into the Easter matches, Aston Villa were top with 42 points from 29 games, followed by Notts County, who had 38 points from 31 games.