Arsenal Betting

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To describe Arsenal’s beginnings as a football club as “modest” or “humble” would be an overstatement. During the 1880s, a Scotsman from Kirkcaldy in Fife named David Danskin was working at the Arsenal munitions factory in Woolwich. In October of 1886, he put up three shillings and convinced fifteen local workers to chip in sixpence apiece to purchase a football as “a means of exercise and … social activity.”

They had no field. They had no kit. They didn’t even have a name, so they were referred to as “Dial Square” after one of Arsenal’s workshops. They did, however, have an opponent on the other side of the Thames—the Eastern Wanderers. A match was arranged in December on the Isle of Dogs, and the lads from Dial Square prevailed 6-0.

On Christmas Day, the victors met to celebrate at the Royal Oak pub next to Woolwich Arsenal station. Friends at Nottingham Forest F.C. had sent them a complete set of red shirts to use as their uniform, and it was decided that a proper club name was needed. By combining the pub’s name with that of their employer, they arrived at “Royal Arsenal.”

That name would serve the “Reds” well through 1891, when the team turned professional and became the Woolwich Arsenal Gunners. An attempt to form a Southern League failed, so in 1893 application was made and accepted to join the Football League’s Second Division. Eleven years later, they would move up to the top flight of British football.

Ironically, Arsenal’s success on the pitch did not translate into box office riches. Attendance was low; finances were tight. By 1910, the Club was all but bankrupt. Relegation in 1913 could have been the final nail in their coffin, but for the foresight of two London businessmen, Henry Norris and William Hall.

When Norris and Hall took over the Club, they provided a long-term solution: Move to Highbury, north of the Thames, where a nearby underground station would increase the Club’s chances of attracting large crowds. With £20,000, they were able to secure a 21-year lease for the new Arsenal Stadium.

Following the move, “Woolwich” was dropped from the Club’s name. In 1919, Norris worked some “magic” and got the Club promoted back to the First Division, despite having finished only fifth in the second tier the previous season. As it turned out, they would never be relegated again—the only club with continuous top-flight membership since the Football League resumed after World War I.

Another turning point came in 1925, when Norris convinced Herbert Chapman to come on board as manager. His mission: To get Arsenal’s trophy case some hardware. Under Chapman’s guidance, the Club won its first FA Cup in 1930. Next came the League title in 1930-31, followed by a repeat performance in 1932-33. Chapman even convinced the London Underground to rename its Gillespie Road tube stop after the team, “Arsenal.”

Sadly, the Gunners’ great manager died of pneumonia in January 1934. He was just 55 years old. It was up to Chapman’s successors, Joe Shaw and George Allison, to build on his success, and that they did, winning three more titles (1933–34, 1934–35 and 1937–38) as well as the 1936 FA Cup.

In the latter half of the 20th century, Arsenal proved the equal of Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool as one the powerhouses of British football. Six more league titles, two League Cups and four additional FA Cup trophies would be claimed before the turn of the new millennium.

And the Gunners have shown no sign of fatigue in the first decade of the 21st century. They were the League Champions in 2001-02 and 2003-04. They won the FA Cup in 2002, 2003 and 2005. And in 2005-06 they became the first club from London in the competition’s 50-year history to reach the UEFA Champions League finals, coming runner-up to Barcelona.

In 2006, after 93 years playing on the grounds at Highbury, Arsenal F.C. moved into a new home—the 60,361-seat Emirates Stadium in nearby Holloway. Although the past five years have seen no new silverware, the Gunners should never be counted out. In 2010-11, they reached the Carling Cup (League Cup) finals, only grudgingly yielding in the 89th minute to Birmingham City by a score of 2-1.

Handicappers who know the Club well recommend betting on scored goals, because Arsenal typically finds the net with greater regularity than other teams. And of course, ante-post wagering on the Gunners to finish in Premiership’s top four each season is virtually a sure thing.