The club turned professional in 1891, and were elected to the Football League in 1893 after the top London clubs rejected the London FA’s proposal of forming a Southern League. As the only London team elected at the time, Arsenal were also the only team south of Birmingham City to play in the Football League. They were to join the Second Division.
Their very first match, of their very first league campaign, was on Saturday 2nd September. Against Newcastle United, on our home pitch – Manor Ground. The result was 2-2 against fellow league-newcomers and represented the start of an average yet credible first season.
We then suffered our first defeat a week later, losing 3-2 to Notts County, before winning our first game two days later, beating Walsall Town Swifts 4-0. Needless to say the start of a string of inconsistent results, though this was a time where the league was relatively new still and lacked the depth in quality that it was to grow over the coming seasons and decades and even a century gone now.
We conceded six goals on two occasions in this first season, the victors of these matches were Newcastle and Burton Swifts. However we dished out a few routings ourselves, scoring six against Middlesbrough and Northwich Victoria.
Woolwich Arsenal achieved an even more emphatic win on October 14, 1893, thrashing Ashford United 12-0 in the FA Cup. To this day it remains the Arsenal’s biggest ever win the competition.
Come the end of our first season we managed to finish 9th out of 15, tallying up a very respectable 28 points from 28 games.