6 September: the first game at the Invicta and the first game at Highbury

By a curious coincidence, the first-ever match at the Invicta Ground – Woolwich Arsenal’s first permanent home in South London, and the first-ever match at Highbury (to which the club moved in 1913) were played on 6 September.

The Invicta game was played on 6 September 1980: a friendly against the 3rd Highlanders Regiment. The score was 1-1 and the crowd was reported as being 7,000. If you are a regular reader of our site you will know that in 2023 a small group of us visited the site of the Invicta ground where some of the original terracing still remains. There is a report with pictures of the event here.

And then on 6 September 1913 the first match was played at Highbury. There were no pre-season games at the ground because it was prepared for the new season in a complete rush, and workmen were still reported to be working on the site on the morning of the first match. A copy of part of the match day programme with its welcome to Highbury has been reproduced on the Arsenal History Society website.

 On this day Arsenal beat Leicester Fosse 2-1 in what was the first opening day victory since 1906.  20,000 people (approximately!) were said to be present.  George Jobey scored the first Arsenal goal at the ground but was later taken off injured. 

Arsenal later released a picture of the players in maroon shirts as their justification for the shirt colour change for the final season at Highbury, saying it was taken on this date, but at least three players in the picture were not at the club in September 1913.  In fact the club did not play in those colours through the first Highbury season and the research suggests that the maroon picture was almost certain an away game with Arsenal playing in their second colours – although the exact match has not been identified.