Arsenal Football Club was founded in 1886 as a munition workers’ team in Woolwich, Kent, present day South-East London. The club became professional in 1891 and later joined the Football League after 2 years. By 1904 they were added to the First Division but owing to some financial problems they were to go bankrupt by 1910. Sir Henry Norris saved them from it helping their financial standing and later moved them to Arsenal Stadium, Highbury, North London in 1913.
The club is reputed to be the only club not to relegated from the A division after moving up from the 2nd Division.
Arsenal FC started having their major success in 1925 under the leadership of Herbert Chapman who transformed the club through improved tactics and practices. This was also continued under George Allison who took over after Herbert’s death in January 1934. The club won five First Division Titles and two FA cups in the 1930s.
This trend was continued after the Second World War by Tom Whitaker who won two First Division titles and an FA cup. Their fortunes declined after Whitaker’s death and by 1966 they were low in the tables without winning a title for thirteen years.
This led to the sack of Billy Wright as the manager in 1966 and the appointment of Bertie Mee who later brought in good fortunes for the club.
Arsenal history is told in two parts; those between the founding year of 1886 and 1966. The above covers the first part of it. The football community Arsenal inclusive was affected by the Second World War (1939-1945). The Football League in England was annulled between 1939 and 1940. Arsenal stadium Highbury was closed and their matches were now played in White Hart Lane of Tottenham Hotspurs. The matches in war time were not counted in the official statistics; many of the players served in the armed forces and were mostly guest players in at other clubs.
During this period Arsenal still won some titles for themselves which included; Football League War Cup South in 1942–43 and the London or Southern league titles in 1939–40, 1941–42 and 1942–43. Their participation in the London resulted in a suspension from the Football League in 1941 with 14 other clubs. They were later readmitted in 1942 after expressing regrets and paying a fine of 10 pounds.
Post-war period had Arsenal struggling to cope financially especially in reconstruction efforts of Highbury and the death of nine first team players including Bastin and Drake.
The second of Arsenal’s history (1966-present day) characterized the third, fourth and fifth periods of their successes which covers Three Doubles, a cup double and success in the European football. With the appointment of Bertie Mee as manager, the club won the Inter-Cities Fair Cup, their maiden European trophy 1969-70, their first league and FA Cup double 1970-71. They however experienced a break in their winning with many near misses; this was the losing of three FA cup finals in 1970-71, 1977-78, and 1979-80. They also lost the 1979-80 Cup Winners’ Cup final on penalties. The only major success they had during this time was an FA Cup win against Manchester United in 1978-79.
With the decline and losses of the 1980s and the returning of former player George Graham as manager in 1986 a third period of glory was restored. Arsenal to win the League Cup in 1986-87, two league title wins in 1988-89 and 1990-91, the FA Cup and the League Cup double in 1992-93, a second European trophy, the Cup Winners’Cup in 1993-94. Coach Graham had his reputation tarnished after it was discovered that he had taken kickbacks for signing some players and was eventually sacked in 1995.
Arsenal’s fifth period of glory came with the appointment of Arsene Wenger as manager in 1996. Under Aresene the club won a second league and cup double in 1997-98 and then a third in 2001-02. They came out victorious in the 2002-03 and 2004-05 FA Cups and won the Premier League in 2003-04 without losing a single match.
In 2005-06 Arsena FC became the first London Club to reach the finals of the UEFA Champions League Final but lost 2-1 to Barcelona FC. During the close of the season, they left their longstanding home of Higbury to the Emirates Stadium that was nearby.