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  • Kentish Maid Kentish Maid Jan 14, 2010 04:54 Flag

    Spurs - Arsenal 1919 Scandal (Summary)

    Very interesting reading Harri - thanks for posting.

    I have a book given to me by a family friend who recently died - he was a lifelong Gooner (made for some interesting arguments I can tell you!) and season ticket holder at Highbury/The Emirates. A quick read of the introduction shows that the Gooners' chairman (and Fulham MP) Henry Norris was clearly determined to have a football club in the top flight - he was also heavily involved with Fulham and wanted to merge them with Arsenal but realised they'd primarily be a second division club so decided that moving the then Woolwich Arsenal out of Plumstead to North London was the answer.

    So even before the "fixed" vote that secured the Gooners election to the First Division, he'd done his homework and used his influence to secure their home at Highbury. Despite widespread opposition from local residents, Spurs, local London rivals Chelsea and Clapton Orient (don't ask - maybe Leyton Orient in an earlier incarnation?) plus Islington Council, the stadium was built - unfortunately it didn't need planning permission. Ironically the League rules were changed a few months later to stop this happening again. I shall read the rest of the book with interest when I get the chance. If anyone's interested in the title it's "The Pride of North London - The definitive history of Arsenal-Totteham 'derby' matches" by Bob Goodwin.

    Anyway, to get back to the point - nowadays it's nothing unusual for a club in 6th place in the Championship to gain promotion to the Premier League because of the dreadful (and purely money-spinning) play-off system. It's not fair but them's the rules - and the Clubs voted for it so have no grounds for complaint.

    The same happens in Rugby's Premiership - Wasps were 2nd in the table 3 years running but won the title via the play-offs.