Tag Archives: Royal Arsenal: Champions of the South

5 Arsenal Books for Christmas

A lot of people have helped to promote our little blogs and shops during the last 10 years and never asked or expected for anything in return. A few gents that have helped me have written books on The Arsenal. Written by Arsenal fans for Arsenal fans, these will make an excellent Christmas present.

Arsenal: The Complete Record by Josh James; Andy Kelly; Mark Andrews

Arsenal: The Complete Record is the definitive account of one of English Football’s pioneering institutions. Collated by Josh James, Andy Kelly and Mark Andrews, this exhaustive study details every game, campaign, player and manager in the Gunners’ history up to the 2017/18 season. This record of one of English football’s great names charts every moment since 1886, including season by season accounts of every season, player profiles and many other details of the Gunners’ illustrious history. An indispensable addition to the library of every Arsenal fan including exclusive new detail on the real manager who led the club to the first Division in 1904.

Arsenal : The Complete Record is available from Amazon:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Arsenal-Josh-James-Kelly-Andrews/dp/1909245755/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539119617&sr=8-1&keywords=arsenal+complete+record

Royal Arsenal – Champions Of The South by Mark Andrews; Andy Kelly; Tim Stillman

Mark Andrews and Andy Kelly, along with editor Tim Stillman, uncover how Royal Arsenal between 1886-1993 grew to become the Champions of the South – encapsulating the football lives of the founders, players, administrators and supporters of the forerunners of The Arsenal. The location of the initial Dial Square game is revealed, how the supporters responded to their team, and the real story of Royal Arsenal becoming professional, which is a fascinating tale of how working men repelled the rapacious landlord of their ground, and at the same time, put one over the old boys’ network who ran the local Football Associations. A history of intrigue, underhand dealings, drunkenness  and sham-ateurism in Victorian era Plumstead.

Royal Arsenal – Champions Of The South is available from Legends Publishing:
https://www.legendspublishing.net/product/royal-arsenal-champions-of-the-south/

Arsene’s Double Double By Dave Seager

The author (Dave Seager) has chosen to deliver his eulogy to the early success and scintillating football given to Arsenal by Wenger in an entirely unconventional style. Yes the tribute is entirely in rhyming verse, with all the iconic moments illustrated cartoon style.
However, don’t let the quirky writing medium for you. Every aspect of Wenger’s two League and Cup Doubles is covered. The key signings, the pivotal matches, the footballing style and of course the players that delivered the success with such panache.

Arsene’s Double Double is available from Legends Publishing:
https://www.legendspublishing.net/product/double-double/

Almost Invincible – The Class of 1991 By Dan Betts

In 2004, Arsenal achieved footballing immortality after going through an entire season unbeaten. That team would forever be known as ‘The Invincibles’, but 13 years beforehand, there was another Arsenal team who should have achieved that accolade first. George Graham’s title winning team of 1990/91 lost just one game in an amazing season – having to overcome some unbelievable set-backs in order to win the Championship.

The team’s inspirational captain, Tony Adams, being sent to prison, a more rigorous fixture schedule, a mid-match brawl that led to the only points deduction to have ever been given to a club – before or since –  are just some of the crazy circumstances that the Arsenal team of 90/91 had to overcome.

This book will take you through every facet of that incredible season, from the new signings, the pre-season build up and in depth league and cup match coverage combine to show readers why the Class of ‘91 should stand shoulder to shoulder with the Invincibles – and why they should perhaps be considered equals.

Almost Invincible – The Class of 1991 is available from Legends Publishing:
https://www.legendspublishing.net/product/almost-invincible-arsenal-the-class-of-1991/

Theo Give Us a Ball: A Life in Football by Theo Foley & Paul Foley

Theo details the highs and lows of professional football in a bygone age. From kicking a ball about on the streets of 1950s’ Dublin to captaining a First Division team during the 1960s and becoming assistant manager at Millwall and Arsenal, this book provides a fascinating insight into football in the days when a love of the game came before wealth and fame.

During his time at Highbury, Theo became a local legend and fans would chant ‘Theo, give us a ball,’ to which he duly obliged. In this honest account, Theo reveals the highs and lows of his life in football and shares his memories of working with some of the football greats of the past

Theo give us a ball: A life in football is available from Amazon:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Theo-Give-Us-Ball-Football/dp/191147619X


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History rewritten but the majesty of Arsenal never in doubt

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Royal Arsenal – Champions of the South’

I’ve mostly shied away from historical books about the Arsenal over the years, simply because they have always seemed to be rehashes of what is generally accepted to be the timeline of how our wonderful club came to be in existence.

But the revelatory pages of ‘Royal Arsenal – Champions of the South’ tell a different story to what has already been written — and how! In this treasure, no stone has been left unturned to shed light on various anomalies and the major findings unearthed well and truly set this book apart from what has been gone before.

Examples of the exhaustive research baring fruit include the correction to the hitherto acceptance of the circumstances surrounding the notion that Nottingham Forest gave Arsenal their first set of red shirts; a significant update of how the club turned professional in 1891, and how the name Royal Gun Factory FC may have been more apposite than Royal Arsenal FC (the latter being chosen to “represent the whole factory on the football field”). The location of the initial Dial Square FC game is also revealed, while my favourite link (tenuous though it is) to the club in the book concerns a certain Isambard Kingdom Brunel!

I suspect, like I did, readers will find the chapter entitled ‘Success’ particularly interesting, especially the details of an historical 10-1 massacre of Tottenham in 1889 that “so traumatised” the lily-livered opponents that the teams did not meet again until 1896!

The writers (Arsenal historians, Mark Andrews and Andy Kelly, along with editor Tim Stillman) have succeeded in presenting enlightening historical information (borne out of an almost forensic examination of mothballed facts) in an engaging style; a happy balance between statistics and narrative can be difficult to attain but, hats off, they have the measure spot on.

If you were ever in doubt about the majesty of the mighty Gunners, those uncertainties will be banished good and proper once you have read ‘Royal Arsenal – Champions of the South’. For anyone with more than a passing interest in the Arsenal this is a fascinating tome.

Patrick Barclay, the chairman of The Football Writers’ Association, argues that “historians are the lifeblood of football” and, thanks to the diligent work in this Arsenal archive, the club’s magnificent history may well live forever.

Far be it for me to tell you how to please friends or family of the Arsenal faith at Christmas, but I can at least suggest you don’t look too far beyond this blockbuster.

Up the Gunners!


Arsenal Historians, Mark Andrews and Andy Kelly, along with editor Tim Stillman, uncover how Royal Arsenal grew to become the Champions of the South – encapsulating the football lives of the founders, players, administrators and supporters of the forerunners of The Arsenal Football Club.

Along the way, this hard back book chronicles how the football club emerged as an offshoot of the Dial Square cricket club, which was established after the 1886 cricket season had ended to keep the men occupied. The location of the initial Dial Square game is revealed, how the supporters responded to their team, and we reveal the club’s first programme writer – a very well-known late Victorian era poet.

The real story of how Royal Arsenal became professional is a fascinating tale of how working men repelled the rapacious landlord of their ground, and at the same time, put one over the old boys’ network who ran the local Football Associations. A history of intrigue, underhand dealings, drunkenness  and sham-ateurism in Victorian era Plumstead.

Their book Royal Arsenal: Champions of the South is available to buy from Legends Publishing.

CARL ELDRIDGE