Fred Beardsley

Fred Beardsley was one of the 'founding fathers' of what we know today as Arsenal Football Club.

A keen goalkeeper, Beardsley grew up in Nottingham, playing for Forest and working at a local government munitions factory. But he was sacked by his employer for taking time off without permission and moved to London to work at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich.

Beardsley, together with colleagues like David Danskin and Jack Humble, formed a works team called Dial Square. He was between the posts for their first-ever game against Eastern Wanderers on December 11, 1886.

Beardsley continued to guest for Forest in some matches and his enduring connections with his home city benefited Arsenal too. On one trip back to the East Midlands in 1886, Beardsley used his contacts to obtain a ball and some Forest kits.

He took the donations back to London for his new club, now called Royal Arsenal. They adopted the kit and the tradition of red shirts and white shorts at Arsenal was born.

Beardsley played for Royal Arsenal up until the 1890/91 season, when he was replaced in goal by Edmund Bee. He had played 67 times in regional competitions and twice in the FA Cup, including Arsenal's first-ever tie in that competition.

After his retirement from playing in 1891, Beardsley was elected to the post of vice-vhairman. He served on Woolwich Arsenal's board of directors for the next two decades, and also worked for the side as a scout. His association with the club ended in 1910.

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