Arsenal was founded in 1886 by Daniel Danskin and was known as Royal Arsenal until the year 1891 when it turned professional and changed its name to Woolwich Arsenal. In 1893, Woolwich Arsenal joined the Football League’s Second Division and moved its homeground from Plumstead to Manor Field.
The club finally moved into the top echelon of English Football in 1904 when they were promoted to the First Division but was forced into liquidation in 1910 due to increasing debts. A merger idea was suggested then for the club to merge with Fulham but that did not materialise. In 1913, Woolwich Arsenal was relegated from the First Division. That year was to be the watershed year that will see the club rose from its humble beginnings.
In the same year that it was relegated, the club moved its home ground to Highbury, North London and renamed itself as “The Arsenal” one year later. Since then, Highbury has been the home ground of the Gunners.
In 1919, Arsenal managed to secure a place in the First Division despite finishing fifth in the Second Division.
A final name change 13 years later saw the club calling itself “Arsenal”. That name stayed until the present time. Since then, the club’s fame has spread throughout the world as Arsenal build itself into a powerful force in club soccer not only in English Football but also in Europe and probably the World as well.
Manager Herbet Chapman joined Arsenal in 1925 and went on to build one of the finest team in English Footbal as the Gunners dominated the local scene in the 1930s. Arsenal won the English Championship five times in the 30s and the club has since maintained a rather consistent performance as they continue to win honurs both in England and later in Europe. Except for the 1960s, there was not a decade since 1930 when Arsenal failed to be English Champions at least once. They were English Champions in 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1971, 1989, 1991 and 1998.
In the 1971 and 1998, Arsenal won both the League and FA Cup, becoming only the second club in English Football history to win the “Double” twice. The other club to do this was Manchester Utd (1994 and 1996). However, no one including the Red Devils had yet to emulate Arsenal in English Cup competitions when in 1993, the Gunners won a unique double as they bagged both the FA Cup and the League Cup in the same season.
In European compeitions, Arsenal was the Fairs Cup winners in 1970. That competition was later renamed the UEFA Cup. The Gunners also won the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994 and that leave only the European Champions Cup before Arsenal joined that exclusive small list of clubs who have won all three major European Club Trophies.
Interesting Facts and Stats
Arsenal has won the English Championship a total of 11 times. They were 10 times champions in the old Division 1 (the top Division in English football before the formation of the Premier League in 1993). The Gunners won the Premier League title for the first time in the season of 1997/98.
Arsenal has won the FA Cup for 7 times. They last won the coveted trophy in 1998.
Arsenal became the first club in English football history to win both domestic Cups in the same season when they won the FA Cup and League Cup in 1993, beating Sheffield Wednesday in the finals of both competitions. To date, 1993 has been the only time when the finalists in both English Cup competitions were the same teams, Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday.
Arsenal remained the only team in English football history to have won the championship on goal difference. In the 1991 season, the Gunners travelled to Liverpool needing to win by at least a 2-1 margin to beat Liverpool to the title. This they did. The vital goal was scored by Michael Thomas at almost the end of the match and Arsenal snatched the championship from under the noses of Liverpool on goal difference. Soon after, Michael Thomas was transferred to Liverpool.
Arsenal remained the club with the longest run in the top flight of English football. The Gunners have been in the top flight for a record 83 seasons and still counting.
In 1998, Arsenal won both the English Championship and FA Cup. The last time the Gunners acheived this feat was in 1971. They thus become only the second club in England to achieve the Double twice. Manchester Utd was the other team.
The five Arsenal players with the most number of first-team appearances for the Gunners are David O’Leary (722 appearances), Tony Adams (641), George Armstrong (621), Lee Dixon (585) and Nigel Winterburn (584). These numbers were compiled on 24 February 2001 and with Adams and Dixon still playing for Arsenal, their number of appearances are set to increase.