The League resumed in 1919 after the end of World War I. Arsenal – who finished 5th in the Second Division during the previous season (1914/15) – were expected to remain in the Second Division. But to everyone’s great surprise, and Tottenham’s dismay, Arsenal were promoted to the First Division at Tottenham’s expense. This act was to resonate for eternity, and add to the growing rivalry in North London.
Never have we been relegated from the First Division, one of only two teams to achieve this, and we are the longest to remain in the Top Flight without being relegated. Not only that but it deepened Tottenham’s resentment of us and infuriated them. Even 100 years ago they were beneath of us. And despite a minor blip in the timeline around the 50’s – 60’s they are and will be forever in our shadow.
Anyway, Henry Norris who was the Chairman, and the man responsible for moving Arsenal to Highbury, is said to have engineered the promotion after allegedly ‘influencing’ the league chairman and Liverpool Owner, John McKenna.
McKenna made a speech to the election committee at the Football League’s Annual General Meeting recommending Arsenal’s promotion ahead of their arch rivals, concluding Arsenal deserved First Division football over Tottenham, having joined the Football League 15 years before Spurs. The Gunners won the election by 10 votes.
The allegations were never confirmed or denied by Norris and he passed away in 1934, so either way we shall never know and it will be a rumour forever a part of footballing folklore.
No matter what the case may be, Arsenal, 90 years on, are the only club with continuous top-flight membership since the Football League resumed – and the only club not to have been promoted on playing merit.