056 – War…

With the outbreak of World War II the Football League was suspended. Official records ignore the various regionalised competitions that were played but it would be a mistake to ignore them completely as the fans certainly didn’t. Despite all that was going on crowds were good and the football was taken very seriously although the number of players moved around due to war duties and serving in the forces meant that rules on registrations were relaxed and teams were allowed to use players stationed locally as guests. Amongst others Stanley Matthews and Stan Mortensen (who is listed as scoring 25 goals in 19 appearances) turned out in the Arsenal colours.

Highbury was closed to football to be used as an ARP stronghold and shelters, and the club played it’s home games at White Hart Lane. As a mark of gratitude our Directors presented our hosts with a plaque after the war, although whether they held an open top bus parade to celebrate this trophy is unknown.

Today’s scans are all from the war period. Rather than the official programmes for the two Cup Finals we played in I thought I’d scan tickets from the matches as they seem to be far rarer – indeed if you look at the second it asks for the ticket to be placed in a paper salvage receptacles after the match. Despite this, and other hardships, people still took any chance to make a few bob as can be seen by the pirate version of a programme shown. For our regular home games a single sheet programme was produced and that often featured, as this one does, updates on our players abroad. Interestingly, although the sheets were red, this was not because of our colours but was actually the colour they used for their programmes pre-war.

Finally, a clip featuring us in War Cup Finals.


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