by Andy Kelly
On Monday 12 March 1900, about 600 people with a free afternoon paid to watch Woolwich Arsenal play Loughborough. The reason it was played on a Monday afternoon was that the game had originally been played on the previous Boxing Day but had to be abandoned after 75 minutes due to fog making conditions unplayable. At that time Woolwich Arsenal led the away team by four goals to nil.
Those lucky few who attended the replayed game in gloriously sunny weather were probably expecting a similar score. Arsenal were not exactly setting the league alight, with a distinctly average record for the season. However, Loughborough were the Second Division’s whipping boys, having lost 19 of their 24 league games and conceded 71 goals in the process. The midlanders were in dire financial straits. So much so that Arsenal had to lend them the money to travel down to Plumstead.
By half-time Woolwich Arsenal led by 4-0 with goals from Cottrell (2),Mainand Gaudie. Loughborough completely capitulated on the second-half and the Reds scored another eight goals by Dick (2), Tennant (2),Anderson,Mainand two more for Gaudie to complete his hat-trick.
This proved to be more than adequate revenge for Arsenal who had recorded their record league defeat four years previously by Loughborough. For Loughborough it was one of the final nails in their coffin. They played nine more league games and folded on 29 June 1900.
The 12-0 scoreline equalled Arsenal’s previous biggest win against Ashford United in the FA Cup in 1893 and remains the club’s biggest league win.