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Arsenal F.C.

Arsenal F.C. are a London football team founded in 1886, originally called Dial Square. The club later changed its name to Woolwich Arsenal, since the original founders were arms makers at the Woolwich armaments factory in south London. From 1893 to 1904, Arsenal (the Woolwich was dropped sometime after 1891), played in the 2nd division professional of the Football League. They were promoted to the first division in 1904.

Arsenal were relegated in 1913, the same year they moved from their south London home to Highbury (site of the present stadium) in north London. Arsenal rejoined the first division in 1919 and have remained in the top division since that time, a record which no other English club can come close to matching.

This unbroken stretch of top-flight football has come much to the chagrin and longstanding enmity of Tottenham Hotspur (or 'Spurs', for short) and their supporters, who arguably lost their first division place thanks to Arsenal. The first division was to be expanded and the decision to promote Arsenal, (who came fifth in the final league season before the war) rather than Barnsley[?] or Wolves (who finished third and fourth), or to not relegate Spurs (who finished bottom of the first division), has been linked to dubious back room deals.

In 1925, Huddersfield Town[?] manager Herbert Chapman[?] took over at Arsenal. Under his leadership, a successful drive to rename the local tube station, Gillespie Road station, to Arsenal took place (the old name can still be seen picked out in tiles on the wall of the station). Chapman's Arsenal won the FA Cup in 1930 and the League in 1931. It can be said that Arsenal dominated the league during the decade of the 1930s. During the postwar era, Arsenal won several more trophies, but headed towards a decline in the late 1950s through the 1960s.

Arsenal's performance in the 1970s was characterized by a few moments of brilliance, separated by long spells of disappointment. The highlight during this period was their first "Double" win in 1970/71. One need only read Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch for a taste of the life of an Arsenal fan, or Gooner (after the team's nickname "The Gunners"), during the late 1960s through the mid-1980s.

Under the management of George Graham[?], Arsenal once again rose to a regular spot at the top of the table, winning six major trophies in eight years. Arsenal's offside trap was known throughout the world (and provided a joke in The Full Monty), as was the paucity of their scoring rate and propensity for winning games by a single goal. This led to a standing joke amongst English football fans about the terrace chant "1-nil to the Arsenal" (to the tune of the Village People song "Go West") being a song consisting of a single verse

The rise of Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson provided a constant threat to Arsenal and, in fact to any team aiming at gathering silverware. Graham left Arsenal in 1994-1995 after being embroiled in a kickbacks for transfer contracts scandal. With his departure, Arsenal foundered under the management of Bruce Rioch[?] and Stuart Houston[?], although Houston did lead the Gunners to the Cup Winners' Cup final. With the advent in 1996 of Arsène Wenger as manager, Arsenal began a rebuilding program. The team has improved consistently under Wenger's management, although not without hiccups and transfer decisions that leave some fans wondering. The 2001-2002 season put any doubts to rest, however, as Arsenal won "the Double" for the second time under Wenger.

Arsenal are currently in the process of building a new 60,000 seater stadium at Ashburton Grove, near Holloway in north London, about a mile away from Highbury. While this project has been delayed somewhat due to bureacratic red tape and rising costs, the club hopes that its new stadium will enable it to continue to develop and compete at the very highest level of English and continental football.

Legendary players


  • FA Cups: 9
    • 1930 1936 1950 1971 1979 1993 1998 2002 2003

  • UEFA Cup: 1
    • 1970

  • European Cup Winners' Cup: 1
    • 1994

Three "Doubles": 1971 1998 2002
One Domestic Cup Double: 1993

For more details, including Arsenal's youth and ladies trophies see (for example) http://www.arseweb.com/history/honours

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