Hello to Highbury

First game at Highbury - September 6, 1913

September 6, 1913 is a significant date in Arsenal history - the Club's first game at Highbury.

The Gunners - then known as Woolwich Arsenal - beat Leicester Fosse 2-1 shortly after moving to their new home in north London. As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of that fixture, read on for a report of what unfolded at Highbury.

Woolwich Arsenal 2-1 Leicester Fosse

Woolwich Arsenal began their second spell in Division Two at a new ground and Leicester Fosse had the distinction of being the first league visitors to Highbury.

The Gunners had dropped out of Division One after finishing bottom, five points adrift of also relegated Notts County. Leicester had ended the previous season 15th in Division Two.

 Match details

Woolwich Arsenal 2-1 Leicester Fosse
Saturday, September 6, 1913.
Division Two. Highbury.

Goals - Woolwich Arsenal:
Jobey 45, Devine 78 (pen)

Goal - Leicester Fosse:
Benfield 20

Attendance: 20,000

Referee: J.H. Pearson

The Arsenal playing staff which had served the club at Plumstead was supplemented by the signings of Lievesley and Hardinge from Sheffield United and Jobey from Newcastle United as the Gunners set about trying to regain their First Division place.

Despite Arsenal's relegation and the move across London, a large crowd submitted cheerfully to the discomforts of a Highbury ground which was still incomplete. The Gunners rewarded their supporters with a 2-1 win, though the victory was marred by an injury to Jobey.

Arsenal's new centre forward had scored the equalising goal but, midway through the second half, he received a kick in the middle of the back. The injury looked serious and Jobey was carried off on a stretcher and attended by ambulance men and a doctor.

Apparently the facilities were so poor in those days that Jobey was transported to his nearby lodgings on a cart borrowed from a local milkman. The injury was certainly bad enough for him to miss the next four matches.

The game itself was a spirited, well-contested affair and, although they most of the early attacking, Arsenal were perhaps a trifle lucky to be on level terms at the end of the first half.

The Teams

Woolwich Arsenal: Lievesley, Shaw, Fidler, Grant, Sands, McKinnon, Greenaway, Hardinge, Jobey, Devine, Winship.

Leicester Fosse: R.G. Brebner, Clay, Currie, D.S. McWhirter, Harrold, Burton, Douglas, Mills, Sparrow, Benfield, Waterall. 

The Fosse, showing better combination play, scored after 20 minutes, Benfield beating Lievesley with an excellent shot following a move by Douglas and Mills. The equaliser came on the stroke of half-time, Jobey heading home from a well-directed corner by Winsip.

In the second half, with the left winger coming more into the picture, Arsenal played much better football and held their opponents, even when they were down to 10 men.

The winner came with about 12 minutes to go. There seemed no danger when a Fosse defender handled just inside his penalty area and Devine, to the delight of the crowd, made no mistake with the spot-kick.

Arsenal maintained that form for much of the season and almost returned to Division One at the first attempt. Ultimately the issue was decided on goal average and the Gunners had to be content with third place, four points behind champions Notts County and on the same points as runners-up Bradford.


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