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Woolwich Arsenal play their first game

Story Highlights
  • Woolwich Arsenal's professionalization
  • Inaugural league game against Newcastle United
  • Spion Kop at the Manor Ground
  • Joseph Heath's hat-trick in the first league win
  • High-scoring victories against Middlesbrough Ironopolis and Northwich Victoria
  • Woolwich Arsenal's impressive 12-0 FA Cup win over Ashford United

In 1891, Woolwich Arsenal turned professional and later changed its name to Woolwich Arsenal. The club applied to join the Football League in 1893. It was elected to the Second Division, becoming London’s only professional club at the time—the first club south of Birmingham City to be selected.

Their inaugural league game occurred on September 2, 1893, against Newcastle United, another newly-elected club, at the Manor Ground. The match ended in a 2-2 draw, with Shaw and Elliott scoring for Woolwich Arsenal.

Arsenal’s first match!

That same year, the club returned to the Manor Ground, the site of the first steeply-banked terrace known as Spion Kop. The name “Spion Kop” was given by soldiers returning from the Boer War, and the original Kop belonged to Woolwich Arsenal.

First League Win: Joseph Heath’s Hat-Trick Secures Victory for Woolwich Arsenal.

Woolwich Arsenal play their first game
Woolwich Arsenal play their first game

While Newcastle United and Burton Swifts scored six goals against Woolwich Arsenal in their inaugural league season, the club also achieved high-scoring victories. They scored six goals against Middlesbrough Ironopolis and repeated the tally in a home game against Northwich Victoria. Additionally, Woolwich Arsenal recorded a remarkable 12-0 victory over Ashford United in the FA Cup on October 14, 1893, which remains the club’s biggest win in the historic competition.

Commendable Performance: Arsenal’s Ninth Place Finish in First Season!

At the end of their milestone campaign, Arsenal finished ninth out of 15 teams in the Second Division, accumulating 28 points from 28 games, a commendable performance for their first season in the league.

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