7 May 2006: the last match at Highbury and the battle for fourth
8 May 2005: Arsenal beat Liverpool 3-1 on this day – the video
8 May: the double, the cup, the unbeaten season, and a wartime trophy
29 April 2002: It’s all Freddie
As the third double approaches….
28 April 2014: How to beat Newcastle
26 April 1975: when Arsenal decided Tottenham’s fate
25 April 1895: Continuing Arsenal play the splitters
Royal Ordnance Factories 0 Woolwich Arsenal 0.
In 1892/3 Woolwich Arsenal was embroiled in a battle with their ground landlord and his supporters inside the club, which resulted ultimately in Woolwich Arsenal leaving their old ground and joining the Football League while the landlord and others formed a new club (Royal Ordnance Factories FC) and joining the Southern League. They played on grounds opposite each other and for some time were mortal enemies but this match showed they had resolved their differences to some degree by 1895. Further matches followed.
The battle within Royal Arsenal FC (which became Woolwich Arsenal FC when the club became a limited company) was between the working men within the club committee and the more middle class elements, and looking back it does look like a classic class battle.
The working men within Woolwich Arsenal FC wanted the players to be paid and for their work with the club, and for the club to be part of the professional Football League (of which there were two divisions at this time). Those who left to form Royal Ordnance Factories FC felt that football should be a game played by amateurs.
Looking back at such reports that survive it appears that the directors of Royal Ordnance Factories FC seriously believed that working men did not have the ability to run a football club, and needed the middle class men with a background in business to do this.
However as that ideological battle was gradually lost the business elements tried a number of dirty tricks, including seeking to persuade the landlord of the Manor Ground to appear to accept Woolwich Arsenal as tenants and allow them to spend considerable sums building a new stand and getting the ground ready for league football, but then at the last to renege on the deal, thus effectively making all the directors of Woolwich Arsenal FC bankrupt.
However the landlord of the Manor Ground was made of a stronger brand of moral fibre, and he refused the deal.
Royal Ordnance Factories did struggle on for a few years, but never gained the support that Woolwich Arsenal did and joined the Southern League, but eventually, its tiny crowds forced it into liquidation mid-season.