A (VERY) BRIEF HISTORY OF ARSENAL FC
The cornerstones of what would later become the Arsenal Football Club were laid in 1886 when workers from the Woolwich Arsenal Armament Factory took it upon themselves to form a football team. They initially called themselves Dial Square — after a sundial that was placed atop the entrance to the factory — but soon took on the moniker Royal Arsenal. Later, they would change their name to Woolwich Arsenal, but by 1915, “Woolwich” had been dropped, and the team would come to be known by the name that endures to this day: Arsenal FC.
The team initially wore red shirts due to several players joining up from Nottingham Forest. These players asked their old club if they had any shirts they could spare, and Forest came through. In 1934, however, under legendary manager Herbert Chapman, white sleeves were added to those red shirts, creating the iconic look that continues to define Arsenal on the pitch.
Chapman was a visionary manager, responsible for many advances not only at Arsenal and in England, but indeed to football culture around the world. Chapman championed the use of floodlights so that games could be played in the evenings, and also helped develop public address systems and changeable scoreboards in stadiums. He also had a clock installed in Highbury — so famous that it made the move alongside the club to the new Emirates Stadium and had “The Clock End” stand named after it — and convinced London city officials to rename the Gillespie Road tube stop after the club, the only club in the city with such an honour.
All told, Arsenal has won the First Division or Premier League championship 13 times throughout its history, the FA Cup a record 12 times, the League Cup twice, and the FA Community Shield 13 times, along with a European Cup-Winners Cup in 1993-1994.
The most storied of the Arsenal squads, though, has to be “The Invincibles,” the group led by manager Arsene Wenger that went 49 consecutive games unbeaten in the Premier League between May 2003 and October 2004. This squad included such legendary players as Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Ashley Cole and Jens Lehmann.
While Highbury served the Gunners well for some 93 years, by the turn of the millennium, it was apparent that the club had outgrown the old grounds. In 2006, Arsenal moved into Emirates Stadium, a state-of-the-art facility with a capacity of more than 60,000.
For more details on the history of Arsenal Football Club, please visit Arsenal.com.