is a football (soccer) club from England.
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Arsenal Football Club (also known as Arsenal, The Arsenal or The Gunners) are an English professional association football club based in Holloway, London, North London. They play in the Premier League and are one of the Football records in England Most successful clubs overall (1888 - present) in Football in England, having won thirteen Football League First Division and Premier League titles and ten FA Cups, and hold the record for the longest uninterrupted period in the English top flight.
Arsenal were founded in 1886 and were the first South of England club to join the Football League, in 1893. They won their first major trophies in the 1930s, with five League Championship titles and two FA Cups. After a lean period in the post-war years they became the second club of the 20th century to win the the Double in 1970-71 in English football, and during the past twenty years have recorded a series of successes – in this time Arsenal have won a The Double Domestic Cup Double, two further League and FA Cup Doubles, the Premier League title The Invincibles (football), and became the first Football in London to reach the UEFA Champions League UEFA Champions League Final 2006.
The club's colours have traditionally been red and white, although these have evolved through history. Similarly, the club have changed location over time; the team were initially founded in Woolwich, south-east London, but in 1913 they moved north across the city to Arsenal Stadium, Highbury. In 2006 they made a less drastic move to their current home, the Emirates Stadium in nearby Holloway, London.
Arsenal have a large fanbase, who hold a string of long-standing rivalries with several other clubs; the most notable of these is with neighbours Tottenham Hotspur F.C., with whom they regularly contest the North London derby. Arsenal are one of the richest clubs in English football (valued at over £600m as of 2008), and thanks to their stature, have regularly featured in portrayals of football in British culture. Arsenal L.F.C. are the most successful English club in women's football (soccer) and are also affiliated with the club.
Arsenal were founded as Dial Square in 1886 by workers at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, but were renamed Royal Arsenal shortly afterwards. They renamed themselves again to Woolwich Arsenal after turning professional in 1891. The club joined the Football League in 1893, starting out in the Football League Second Division, and won promotion to the Football League First Division in 1904. However, the club's geographic isolation resulted in lower attendances than those of other clubs, which led to the club becoming mired in financial problems and effectively bankrupt by 1910, when they were taken over by Henry Norris. Norris sought to move the club elsewhere, and in 1913, soon after relegation back to the Second Division, Arsenal moved to the new Arsenal Stadium in Highbury, North London; they dropped "Woolwich" from their name the following year. Arsenal only finished in fifth place in 1919, but nevertheless were elected to rejoin the First Division at the expense of local rivals Tottenham Hotspur F.C., by reportedly dubious means.
In 1925, Arsenal appointed Herbert Chapman as manager. Chapman had already won the league twice with Huddersfield Town F.C. in 1923-24 in English football and 1924-25 in English football, and he brought Arsenal their first period of major success. His revolutionary tactics and training, along with the signings of star players such as Alex James (footballer) and Cliff Bastin, laid the foundations of the club's domination of English football in the 1930s. Under his guidance Arsenal won their first major trophies – an FA Cup in 1929-30 in English football and two League Championships, in 1930-31 in English football and 1932-33 in English football. In addition, Chapman was reportedly behind the 1932 renaming of the local London Underground station from "Gillespie Road" to "Arsenal tube station", making it the only Tube station to be named specifically after a football club.
Chapman died suddenly of pneumonia in early 1934, but Joe Shaw (footballer born 1883) and George Allison carried on his successful work. Under their guidance, Arsenal won three more titles (1933-34 in English football, 1934-35 in English football and 1937-38 in English football) and an FA Cup (1935-36 in English football). However Arsenal had started to fade by the decade's end, when the intervention of World War II meant competitive professional football in England was suspended.
After the war, under Allison's successor Tom Whittaker (footballer), Arsenal enjoyed a second period of success, winning the league in 1947-48 in English football and 1952-53 in English football, and the FA Cup in 1949-50 in English football. However, after that their fortunes waned; unable to attract players of the same calibre as they had in the 1930s, the club spent most of the 1950s and 1960s in trophyless mediocrity. Even former England national football team captain Billy Wright (footballer) could not bring the club any success as manager, in a stint between 1962 and 1966.
Arsenal began winning silverware again with the surprise appointment of club physiotherapy Bertie Mee as manager in 1966. After losing two Football League Cup finals, they won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, their first European trophy, in Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 1969-70. This was followed by an even greater triumph: their first League and FA Cup the Double in 1970-71 in English football. However, the Double-winning side was soon broken up and the following decade was characterised by a series of near misses. Arsenal finished as First Division runners-up in 1972-73 in English football, lost three FA Cup finals (1971-72 in English football, 1977-78 in English football and 1979-80 in English football) and lost the 1979–80 Cup Winners' Cup final on penalty shootout (football). The club's only success during this time was an FA Cup win in 1978-79 in English football, with a last-minute 3–2 victory over Manchester United F.C. that is widely regarded as a classic.
The return of former player George Graham (footballer) as manager in 1986 brought a third period of glory. Arsenal won the League Cup in 1986-87 in English football, Graham's first season in charge. This was followed by a League title win in 1988-89 in English football, won with a last-minute goal in the final game of the season against fellow title challengers Liverpool F.C.. Graham's Arsenal won another title in 1990-91 in English football, losing only one match, the FA Cup and League Cup double in 1992-93 in English football and a second European trophy, the Cup Winners' Cup, in 1993-94 in English football. However, Graham's reputation was tarnished when it was revealed that he had taken kickbacks from agent Rune Hauge for signing certain players, and he was sacked in 1995. His replacement, Bruce Rioch, lasted for only one season, leaving the club after a dispute with the board of directors.
The club's success in the late 1990s and 2000s owes a great deal to the appointment of manager Arsène Wenger in 1996. Wenger brought new tactics, a new training regime and several foreign players who complemented the existing English talent. Arsenal won a second league and cup double in 1997-98 in English football and a third in 2001-02 in English football. In addition, the club reached the final of the UEFA Cup 1999-00 UEFA Cup (losing on penalties to Galatasaray S.K.), were victorious in the 2002-03 in English football and 2004-05 in English football FA Cups, and won the Premier League in 2003-04 in English football without losing a single match, which earned the side the nickname "The Invincibles (football)"; in all, the club went 49 league matches unbeaten, a Football records in England.
Arsenal have finished in either first or second place in the league in eight of Wenger's eleven seasons at the club. They are one of only four teams (along with Manchester United F.C., Blackburn Rovers F.C. and Chelsea F.C.) to have won the Premier League since its formation in 1993, although they have failed to retain the title each time they have been champions. Until UEFA Champions League 2005-06, Arsenal had never progressed beyond the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals; in that competition, however, they reached the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final, the first club from London to do so in the competition's fifty-year history, but were beaten 2–1 by FC Barcelona. This was dropped after the moved to Highbury in 1913, but in 1922, the club adopted their first single-cannon crest, featuring an eastward-pointing cannon, with the club's nickname, The Gunners
, inscribed alongside it; this crest only lasted until 1925, when the cannon was reversed to point westward and its barrel slimmed down. Arsenal eventually sought a more comprehensive legal protection. Therefore, in 2002 they introduced a new crest featuring more modern curved lines and a simplified style, which was copyrightable. The cannon once again faces east and the club's name is written in a sans-serif typeface above the cannon. Green was replaced by dark blue. The new crest received a critical response from some supporters; the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association claimed that the club had ignored much of Arsenal's history and tradition with such a radical modern design, and that fans had not been properly consulted on the issue.
For much of Arsenal's history, their home colours have been bright red shirts with white sleeves and white shorts, though this has not always been the case. The choice of red is in recognition of a charitable donation from Nottingham Forest F.C., soon after Arsenal's foundation in 1886. Two of Dial Square's founding members, Fred Beardsley and Morris Bates, were former Forest players who had moved to Woolwich for work. As they put together the first team in the area, no kit could be found, so Beardsley and Bates wrote home for help and received a set of kit and a ball.
In 1933 Herbert Chapman, wanting his players to be more distinctly dressed, updated the kit, adding white sleeves and changing the shade to a brighter pillar box red. The origin of the white sleeves is not conclusively known, but two possible inspirations have been put forward. One story reports that Chapman noticed a supporter in the stands wearing a red sleeveless sweater over a white shirt; another was that he was inspired by a similar outfit worn by the cartoonist Tom Webster (cartoonist), with whom Chapman played golf. Regardless of which story is true, the red and white shirts have come to define Arsenal and the team have worn the combination ever since, aside from two seasons. The first was 1966-67 in English football, when Arsenal wore all-red shirts; In the 1930s, S.C. Braga's coach returned from a game at Highbury and changed his team's green kit into a duplicate of Arsenal's red with white sleeves and shorts, giving rise to the team's nickname of Os Arsenalistas
. These teams still wear these designs to this day.
Arsenal's away colours are traditionally yellow and blue, although they wore a green and navy away kit between 1982 and 1984. Since the early 1990s and the advent of the lucrative replica kit market, the away colours have been changed regularly; the general rule currently is that they are changed every season with the outgoing away kit becoming the third choice kit for the following season. Generally, the away colours in this period have been either two-tone blue designs, or variations on the traditional yellow and blue, such as the metallic gold and navy strip used in the 2001-02 in English football season, and the yellow and dark grey used in 2005-06 in English football and 2006-07 in English football. Arsenal's current third kit for the 2008-09 in English football season, which is used for games where both the first and second choice colours clash with those of their opponents, consists of white shirts with redcurrant shorts and hooped white and redcurrant socks; it was previously the away kit for the 2007-08 in English football season.
For the majority of their time in south-east London, Arsenal played at the Manor Ground, Plumstead in Plumstead, a three-year period at the nearby Invicta Ground between 1890 and 1893 excepted. The Manor Ground was initially just a field, but the club installed stands and terracing in time for their first Football League match in September 1893. They played their home games there for the next twenty years (with two exceptions in 1894-95 in English football), until the move to north London in 1913.
Arsenal Stadium, widely referred to as Highbury, was Arsenal's home from September 1913 until May 2006. The original stadium was designed by the renowned football architect Archibald Leitch, and had a design common to many football grounds in the UK at the time, with a single covered stand and three open-air banks of stadium. In the 1930s, the entire stadium was given a massive overhaul, with new Art Deco West and East stands constructed, opening in 1932 and 1936 respectively; This capacity had to be reduced further during UEFA Champions League matches to accommodate additional advertising hoardings, so much so that for two seasons (1998-99 in English football and 1999-00 in English football) Arsenal played Champions League home matches at Wembley Stadium (1923), which could house more than 70,000 spectators.
Expansion of Highbury was restricted because the East Stand had been designated as a Grade II listed building and the other three stands were close to residential properties. After considering various options, in 2000 Arsenal proposed building a new 60,000-seater stadium at Ashburton Grove, since renamed the Emirates Stadium, about 500 metres south-west of Highbury. The project was initially delayed by red tape and rising costs, but construction was completed in July 2006, in time for the start of the 2006-07 in English football season. The stadium is named after its sponsors, the airline company Emirates Airline, with whom the club signed the largest sponsorship deal in English football history, worth approximately £100 million; however some fans refer to the ground as Ashburton Grove, or the Grove, as they do not agree with corporate sponsorship of stadium names. The stadium will be officially known as Emirates Stadium until at least 2012, and the airline will be the club's shirt sponsor until the end of the 2013–14 season. It is also where Arsenal's Arsenal F.C. Academy teams play their home matches, while the Arsenal F.C. Reserves play their games at Underhill Stadium, home of Barnet F.C..
Arsenal fans often refer to themselves as "Gooners", the name being derived from the team's nickname, "The Gunners". Arsenal have a large and generally loyal fanbase, with virtually all home matches selling out; in 2007–08 Arsenal had the second-highest average League attendance for an English club (60,070, which was 99.5% of available capacity), and as of 2006, the fourth-highest all-time average attendance. The club's location, adjoining both wealthy areas such as Canonbury and Barnsbury, mixed areas such as Islington, Holloway and Highbury, and the adjacent London Borough of Camden, and largely working class areas such as Finsbury Park and Stoke Newington has meant that Arsenal's supporters have come from across the usual class divides. In addition, Arsenal have the highest proportion (7.7%) of non-white attending supporters of any club in English football, according to a 2002 report.
Like all major English football clubs, Arsenal have a number of domestic supporters' clubs, including the Arsenal Football Supporters Club, which works closely with the club, and the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, which maintains a more independent line. There is also the Arsenal Supporters' Trust, which promotes greater participation in ownership of the club by fans. The club's supporters also publish fanzines such as The Gooner
, Highbury High
and the less cerebral Up The Arse!
. In addition to the usual English football chants, Arsenal's supporters sing "One-Nil to the Arsenal" (to the tune of "Go West (song)") and "Boring, Boring Arsenal", which used to be a common taunt from opposition fans but is now sung ironically by Arsenal supporters when the team is playing well.
There have always been Arsenal supporters outside of London, and in recent times with the advent of satellite television, a supporter's attachment to a football club has become less dependent on geography. Consequently, Arsenal now have a significant number of fans not just from London but all over the world; there are 24 UK, 37 Irish and 49 overseas supporters clubs affiliated with Arsenal, as of 2007. A 2005 report by Granada Ventures, which at the time owned a 9.9% stake in the club, estimated Arsenal's global fanbase at 27 million, the third largest in the world.
Arsenal's longest-running and deepest rivalry is with their nearest major neighbours, Tottenham Hotspur F.C., with matches between the two being referred to as North London derby. Other rivalries within London include those with Chelsea F.C. and West Ham United F.C.,. In addition, Arsenal and Manchester United F.C. have had a strong on-pitch rivalry since the late 1980s, which has intensified in recent years when both clubs have been competing for the Premier League title – so much so that in a 2003 online poll by the Football Fans Census listed Manchester United as Arsenal's biggest rivals, followed by Tottenham and Chelsea. A 2008 poll, however, lists the Tottenham rivalry as more important.
Ownership and finances
Arsenal's parent company, Arsenal Holdings plc, operates as a financial quote public limited company, whose ownership is considerably different from that of other football clubs. Only 62,217 shares in Arsenal have been issued, The club made an operating profit (excluding player transfers) of £36.7m in the year ending 31 May 2008, from a Revenue of £223.0m.
In April 2008, business magazine Forbes
ranked Arsenal as third most valuable football team in the world, after Manchester United F.C. and Real Madrid C.F., valuing the club at $1.2bn (£605m), excluding debt. Accountants Deloitte rate Arsenal fifth in the 2008 Deloitte Football Money League, a ranking of the world's football clubs in terms of revenue, with the club earning £177.6m in the 2006-07 in English football season, moving up from ninth the previous season.
Arsenal's board of directors hold 57% of the club's shares; the largest shareholders on the board are Danny Fiszman (a London diamond dealer) and Nina Bracewell-Smith (wife of the grandson of former chairman Bracewell Smith), who hold 24.1% and 15.9% respectively. initially treated with hostility, he is now regarded as an ally of the Arsenal board and was appointed a non-executive director of the club in September 2008.
A rival bid for the club has come from the firm Red & White Holdings, which is co-owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov and London-based financier Farhad Moshiri (businessman). Red & White bought the stake held by former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein, and as of February 2008 own about 24% of the club, the largest single stake owned by a non-board member. This has led to press speculation of a bidding war between Kroenke and Usmanov.
Arsenal in popular culture
As one of the most successful teams in the country, Arsenal have often featured when football is depicted in British culture and have appeared in a number of media "firsts". On 22 January 1927, their match at Highbury against Sheffield United F.C. was the first English League match to be broadcast live on radio. A decade later, on 16 September 1937, an exhibition match between Arsenal's first team and the reserves was the first ever football match to be television live. Arsenal also featured in the first edition of the BBC's Match of the Day
, which screened highlights of their match against Liverpool F.C. at Anfield on 22 August 1964.
Arsenal also formed the backdrop to one of the earliest football-related films, The Arsenal Stadium Mystery
(1939). The film is centred on a friendly match between Arsenal and an amateur side, one of whose players is poisoned whilst playing. Many Arsenal players appeared as themselves, although only manager George Allison was given a speaking part. The book was later adapted into two films – a Fever Pitch (1997 film), which centred on Arsenal's 1988-89 in English football title win, and an Fever Pitch (2005 film) about a fan of Major League Baseball's Boston Red Sox.
Arsenal have often been stereotyped as a defensive and "boring" side, especially during the 1970s and 1980s; many comedians, such as Eric Morecambe, made jokes about this at the team's expense. The theme was repeated in the 1997 film The Full Monty
, in a scene where the lead actors move in a line and raise their hands, deliberately mimicking the Arsenal defence's Offside law (football) trap, in an attempt to co-ordinate their stripping. Another film reference to the club's defence comes in the film Plunkett & Macleane
, in which there are two characters named Dixon and Winterburn, named after Arsenal's long serving full backs – the right-sided Lee Dixon and the left-sided Nigel Winterburn. Arsenal Ladies are the most successful team in Women's football in England; they are the current reigning champions of the FA Women's Premier League and holders of the FA Women's Cup; they are also the only English side to have won the UEFA Women's Cup, having done so in the UEFA Women's Cup 2006-07 season as part of a unique The Quadruple. Although the men's and women's clubs are formally separate entities they have quite close ties; Arsenal Ladies are entitled to play once a season at the Emirates Stadium, though they usually play their home matches at Boreham Wood F.C..
Arsenal in the Community
In 1985, Arsenal founded a corporate social responsibility, "Arsenal in the Community", which offers sporting, social inclusion, educational and charitable organization. The club support a number of charitable causes directly and in 1992 established The Arsenal Charitable trust, which has raised over £2 million for local causes. There is also an ex-professional and celebrity team to raise money for good causes.
Statistics and records
David O'Leary holds the record for Arsenal appearances, having played 722 first-team matches between 1975 and 1993. Fellow centre half and former captain (football) Tony Adams (footballer) comes second, having played 669 times. The record for a goalkeeper is held by David Seaman, with 563 appearances.
Thierry Henry is the club's top goalscorer with 226 goals in all competitions between 1999 and 2007 having surpassed Ian Wright's total of 185 in October 2005. Wright's record had stood since September 1997, a feat which overtook the longstanding total of 178 goals set by winger Cliff Bastin in 1939. Henry also holds the club record for goals scored in the League – 174
Arsenal have also set records in English football, most notably the most consecutive seasons spent in the top flight (82 as of 2008–09) and the longest run of unbeaten League matches (49 between May 2003 and October 2004).
Players out on loan
For recent transfers, see Arsenal_F.C._season_2008-09 Players_in_.2F_out.
Reserves and Academy
Current coaching staff
There have been eighteen permanent and five caretaker managers of Arsenal since the appointment of the club's first professional manager, Thomas Mitchell (football manager) in 1897. The longest-running manager in terms of time is George Allison (1934–1947) while the longest-running in terms of games is current manager Arsène Wenger (1996–). Two Arsenal managers have died in the job – Herbert Chapman and Tom Whittaker (footballer).
- Football League First Division or Premier League (English football champions)
- Football League Second Division
- UEFA Champions League
- Cup Winners' Cup
- Inter-Cities Fairs Cup
- UEFA Cup
- UEFA Super Cup
Arsenal's tally of thirteen League Championships is the third highest in English football, after Liverpool F.C. and Manchester United F.C., while the total of ten FA Cups is the second highest, after Manchester United. Arsenal have achieved three League and FA Cup "The Double" (in 1971, 1998 and 2002), a joint record shared with Manchester United, and were the first side in English football to complete the FA Cup and League Cup double in 1993. They were also the first London football club to reach the final of the UEFA Champions League in 2006.
Arsenal have one of the best top-flight records in history, having finished below fourteenth only seven times. Arsenal also have the highest average league finishing position for the period 1900–1999, with an average league placing of 8.5. In addition, they are one of only five clubs to have won the FA Cup twice in succession, in 2002 FA Cup Final and 2003 FA Cup Final.