In this series, we profile one Premier League team each week, looking at some of the history, records and trivia associated with each club. The first club to be profiled is Arsenal Football Club. Join us on a journey from 1886 to 2017 as we go Behind the Club.
In December 1886, workers in Royal Arsenal munitions complex founded Dial Square Football Club, named after the heart of the complex. Only a month later they became Royal Arsenal FC, playing home games at Plumstead Common.
In 1893 they changed name again, becoming Woolwich Arsenal FC as they joined the football league. After suffering relegation in 1913, Arsenal moved to Highbury in North London and changed name again to The Arsenal FC before settling on Arsenal FC.
The club slowly raised in stature from then onwards, culminating in a devastating spell at the top of the English game in the 1930s, winning five titles before World War II forced the football league to take a seven-year break.
Arsenal enjoyed success again upon the leagues resumption in 1946, but from 1953 they endured an 18 year spell without a league title or FA Cup triumph.
After a League and cup double in 1971, the team was broken down and Arsenal struggled to gain more silverware, losing in numerous finals and finishing second in the league in 1973.
1986 brought the return of double winning player George Graham, this time in a managerial capacity. Graham’s return was instrumental in Arsenal’s return to the top of the game, as they won league titles in 1989 and 1991, the 1989 triumph coming in one of the most frantic finishes the league had seen at that point; a last minute goal from Michael Thomas sealing a 2-0 win away at Liverpool, snatching the league title on goals scored in the process.
Graham left in 1995 after a scandal involving agent Rene Hauge and his replacement Bruce Rioch lasted only one season after that. The club’s hierarchy turned to an unknown Frenchman managing in Japan. Arsene Wenger.
21 years, three Premier League titles and seven FA cups later, Wenger remains at the helm, only failing to deliver a top four finish to North London this season after 20 previous. In that time, he oversaw a move to the Emirates Stadium, where they have been based since 2006.
Records and Trivia:
Arsenal’s nickname is the Gunners, a reference to the origin of the club at a munitions factory.
Their all time appearance maker is David O’Leary, the former Central Defender making 722 appearances between 1975 and 1993
Club legend Thierry Henry is the Gunners all time top goalscorer, with 228 goals over two spells. The Frenchman has been immortalised outside the Emirates, a statue being erected in his honour.
The top 5 most expensive transfers in Arsenal’s history have all been made within the last four years. New striker Alexandre Lacazette is the clubs record transfer, costing up to £52 million with add ons. He displaced German Mesut Ozil, who himself sat ahead of Shkodran Mustafi, Granit Xhaka and Alexis Sanchez.
Arsenal’s record league win and loss both came against Loughborough. They won a 12-0 drubbing in 1900, having suffered an 0-8 reverse four years previously.
Arsenal remain the only team to have gone an entire Premier League season unbeaten. The 2003-04 invincibles won 26 and drew 12 of their 38 games, continuing what stands today as a record 49 consecutive league games undefeated, a run that was ended by a 2-0 away loss to Manchester United in 2004.
Written by Sam Hanys.