“To my mind historians are the lifeblood of football and people with Arsenal at heart are lucky to have Mark Andrews and Andy Kelly. This masterpiece is enhanced by the skilful writing of Tim Stillman and the result is an extraordinary combination of detail with readability. Royal Arsenal: Champions of the South is a terrific piece of work.”
Patrick Barclay: Chairman of The Football Writers’ Association.
Arsenal Historians, Mark Andrews and Andy Kelly, along with editor Tim Stillman, uncover how Royal Arsenal grew to become the Champions of the South – encapsulating the football lives of the founders, players, administrators and supporters of the forerunners of The Arsenal Football Club.
Along the way, this hard back book chronicles how the football club emerged as an offshoot of the Dial Square cricket club, which was established after the 1886 cricket season had ended to keep the men occupied. The location of the initial Dial Square game is revealed, how the supporters responded to their team, and we reveal the club’s first programme writer – a very well-known late Victorian era poet.
The real story of how Royal Arsenal became professional is a fascinating tale of how working men repelled the rapacious landlord of their ground, and at the same time, put one over the old boys’ network who ran the local Football Associations. A history of intrigue, underhand dealings, drunkenness and sham-ateurism in Victorian era Plumstead.
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