1886–87 Royal Arsenal F.C. season

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Dial Square / Royal Arsenal
1886–87 season
Top goalscorerLeague: None
All: Unknown
Highest home attendanceNone
Lowest home attendanceUnknown
Home colours

This was the first season of the club that was to become Arsenal F.C.

The club was formed by David Danskin and other workers from the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich. Early games were played under the name Dial Square.

Home games were played on an area of Plumstead Common that is now bordered by Heavitree Road, Waverley Crescent and St John's Terrace. Players used The Star Inn public house in Jago Close as a dressing room.[1]

The club's first match was against Eastern Wanderers on 11 December 1886. The match was played on a piece of scrap land in what is now Tiller Road on the Isle of Dogs.

In his book "Forward, Arsenal!", Bernard Joy gave the team line-up for first match as: Beardsley, Danskin, Porteous, Gregory, Bee, Wolfe, Smith, Moy, Whitehead, Morris, Duggan. However, in 1953 Robert Thompson claimed that he played in the first game (along with Wells in place of Morris and Duggan) and scored the first goal. Further, it has been found that Fred Beardsley played for Nottingham Forest in the F.A. Cup that day.[2]

Thompson also claimed to have suggested the name Royal Arsenal. From Thompson's account, it appears that the first game played as Royal Arsenal was against Millwall Rovers on 5 February 1887.

Club officials[edit]

Committee members

Jack Humble was probably involved with the club during the season.


Players that were reported as having played for Dial Square / Royal Arsenal during the 1886–87 season include:

  • David Danskin (captain)
  • Fred Beardsley (vice-captain)
  • Joseph Bee
  • James Crichton
  • Robert Crichton
  • Charles Duggan
  • John Gellatly
  • Thomas Gregory
  • Alfred Morris
  • James Moy
  • Richard Pearce
  • Duncan Porteous
  • Richard Price
  • George Smith
  • Robert Thompson
  • Thomas Wells
  • G Whitehead
  • Frank Wolfe


All matches that Dial Square / Royal Arsenal played during the 1886–87 season were friendlies. Significant matches were:

  • 11 Dec 1886 v Eastern Wanderers (A) – the club's first ever game
  • 8 Jan 1887 v Erith (H) – the club's first home game and the club's first game under the name Royal Arsenal
  • 5 Feb 1887 v Millwall Rovers (A)


Date Ground Opponent Score[note 1]
11 Dec A Eastern Wanderers 6–0
8 Jan H Erith 6–1
15 Jan H Alexandra United 11–0
22 Jan H Eastern Wanderers 1–0
29 Jan A Erith 3–2
5 Feb A Millwall Rovers 0–4
12 Feb A Alexandra United 6–0
26 Feb H 2nd Rifle Brigade 0–0
12 Mar H Millwall Rovers 3–0
26 Jan H 2nd Rifle Brigade 0–1
  1. ^ Arsenal goals come first


  1. ^ Grant, Scott; White, Colin (1988). Arsenal History And Full Record 1886 – 1988. London: Lingfield Sport Publications. p. 11.
  2. ^ "Arsenal's first game". The History of ArsenalFC by Tony Attwood. Archived from the original on 30 October 2010. Retrieved 13 December 2010.

External links[edit]