Arsenal Football Club Profile

Arsenal Football Club Facts

Arsenal were initially founded in Woolwich, south-east London, as Dial Square in 1886 by workers at the Royal Arsenal, but they changed their name to Royal Arsenal shortly thereafter. After turning professional in 1891, they again changed their name to Woolwich Arsenal.

The club joined the Football League in 1893 in the Second Division and won promotion to the First Division in 1904. Financial difficulties resulted in Woolwich Arsenal’s effective bankruptcy by 1910, from which they were rescued by Henry Norris.

After their relegation back to the Second Division in 1913, Arsenal moved to the new Arsenal Stadium in Highbury, North London and dropped “Woolwich” from their name in 1914. Although only finishing in fifth place in 1919, they were elected to rejoin the First Division at the expense of local rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Under the guidance of manager Herbert Chapman, Arsenal dominated English football in the 1930s by winning the FA cup trophy in 1930, the First League championship in 1931 and a further 4 titles and another FA Cup over the next 7 years.

After a hiatus during WWII, Arsenal won 2 more titles and an FA cup over a 5 year period under the leadership of Tom Whittaker. After his death in 1956, a barren 14 years for the club followed until the club physiotherapist Bertie Mee was appointed manager in 1966, and in 1970 Arsenal won their first European trophy, the UEFA Fairs Cup against Anderlecht, becoming the second club of the 20th century to win the Double in 1970-71.

During the past twenty years they have been one of the most successful clubs in English football winning two additional Doubles, the Premier League in 2003-04, and in 2005-06 they became the first London club to reach the UEFA Champions League Final.

Emirates Stadium

Highbury served as Arsenal’s home stadium from September 1913 until May 2006 which at its peak could hold over 60,000 spectators, and had a capacity of 57,000 until the early 1990s till the Taylor Report and Premier League regulations forced Arsenal to convert Highbury into an all-seater in time for the 1993-94 season, reducing the capacity to 38,419 seated spectators.

Based on revenue considerations and the restricted expansion of Highbury, Arsenal proposed building a new 60,000-seater stadium 500 m southwest of Highbury at Ashburton Grove in 2000.

This project, sponsored by the airline Emirates to the tune of £100 million, was completed in July 2006 in time for the start of the 2006-07 season. The stadium has an all-seated capacity of 60,355 making it the second largest stadium in the Premier League after Old Trafford. The stadium will be officially known as Emirates Stadium until at least 2012.

Supporters and Rivalries

Arsenal fans refer to themselves as “Gooners” based on the team’s nickname, “The Gunners”. Virtually all Arsenal home games are sold-out to their large and loyal fanbase; in 2007-08 Arsenal had the second-highest average League attendance for an English club of 60,070 or 99.5% of available capacity.

Arsenal’s major rival is their nearest major neighbour, Tottenham Hotspur; matches between the two sides are contested in the North London derbies. Chelsea and West Ham United are also considered rivals, but the rivalry is not as intense as that between Arsenal and Tottenham. Arsenal and Manchester United have also had a strong on-pitch rivalry since the late 1980s, which has intensified due to strong competition between the two sides for the Premier League title.