In 1891 the Club turned professional and, a couple of years later, changed its name to Woolwich Arsenal.
The London FA tried to persuade other leading London clubs such as Tottenham, Queen's Park Rangers and Millwall to form a southern league but this proposal was rejected so Woolwich Arsenal applied to the Football League and in 1893 were elected to the Second Division.
At the time, they were London's only professional club and the first club south of Birmingham City to be elected to the League.
The very first game of their League career came on Saturday, September 2, 1893 against another newly-elected club, Newcastle United. It took place at the Manor Ground and ended 2-2.
That same year Woolwich Arsenal moved back to the Manor Ground, the first ground where the large steeply-banked terrace became known as Spion Kop, a name later given by soldiers returning from the Boer War. The original Kop therefore belonged to Woolwich Arsenal.
The very first game of their League career came on Saturday, September 2 of that year against another newly-elected club, Newcastle United. It took place at the Manor Ground and ended 2-2 with Shaw and Elliott on target for the Gunners.
A week later Woolwich Arsenal suffered their first League defeat, going down 3-2 at Notts County. The Club's first League win arrived two days later when Joseph Heath scored a hat-trick - the Club's first in League football - as Walsall Town Swifts were beaten 4-0.
Newcastle and Burton Swifts both put six goals past Woolwich Arsenal in that first League season but the 'Reds' handed out a couple of thrashings themselves, scoring six at Middlesbrough Ironopolis and repeating that tally in a home game against Northwich Victoria.
Woolwich Arsenal managed an even more emphatic victory on October 14, 1893, beating Ashford United 12-0 in the FA Cup. It remains the Club's biggest ever win in the famous old competition.
Arsenal finished ninth out of 15 teams in their first season with 28 points from 28 games - a creditable return for their milestone campaign.
Next11 Feb 2009