13 June 1910: The deadline day for Arsenal

Following Arsenal’s financial collapse, the Football League made it clear they wanted Woolwich Arsenal’s finances sorted out by the date of its AGM, 13 June 1910, which meant the new investors needed to be in place by then.  

Thus the board now sent out a letter to all the people who had applied for shares in the first attempt to refinance the club, stating that anyone who applied for five or more shares and who bought now, would have the guarantee that not only would Woolwich Arsenal stay in Plumstead for a year, if the club then moved William Hall and Henry Norris would then buy back the shares at face value (£1 each), if so required.

Thereafter (although it is difficult to know the date) Henry Norris extended the date to which he guaranteed to keep Arsenal at Plumstead from one year (as agreed with the League Management Committee) to two years.  

Unfortunately, neither supporters nor local businesses nor anyone else stepped up to support the club and Norris and Hall were now in charge and the new share register was drawn up.   This showed Hall and Norris having 240 shares each along with some other shareholders. 

Although there were numerous financial matters to handle, Henry Norris also started to consider the club he had just taken over, and on 8 June he had a meeting with Arsenal’s manager George Morrell to say that his job was safe despite missing relegation by just one place and two points in the season just finished.

This was a pivotal moment.  Had Henry Norris not stepped up at this point and put his own money forward, there really was no one else waiting in the wings.  The club owed vast amounts of money, and without a financial saviour it would have closed at the end of that day.