Arsenal moved from Woolwich to Highbury 1913. A move necessary to enable Arsenal to grow into an ‘English Powerhouse’. A move that not only enabled that, but also for Arsenal to compete at European level. All of this would have been unachievable and perhaps resulted in Arsenal’s death had one Henry Norris not taken it upon himself to move the club.
Norris and William Hall deeply considered numerous options, but favoured a move north of the River Thames as it would create larger revenue especially due to the local tube station, despite his reservations with regard to Tottenham’s close proximity. Tottenham were soon to complain, along with other smaller local clubs and residents. The League Management Committee thankfully rejected all appeals. This event was to spark a very long, and anything but friendly rivalry with Tottenham. Something that was significantly worsened by another event which was out of their favour. Keep reading through to discover what.
Soon after the move, the name Woolwich Arsenal was to be officially changed to ‘Arsenal’ and it has remained that way ever since. Although they were still more commonly known at the time as The Arsenal. From hereforth Norris set about ploughing money into the Club’s new home, and after just four months the new pitch was levelled, a new grandstand partly built and terracing and turnstiles installed. Arsenal hosted Leicester Fosse in Highbury’s first match on the 6th September 1913 by which time Norris had funded an astonishing £125,000 into the club. An investment on such a huge scale, that otherwise Arsenal probably wouldn’t stand before us today. At least not in the way it does.
A 2-1 win in that first game, gave us a confident start and continual good performances made the efforts worthwhile. Norris’ wasn’t done there though, and his next target would be First Division football. The team at Arsenal were definitely capable of achieving this, but their attempts were cut to untimely halt. What was to become World War I had begun.
Norris would have to wait.