Arsenal F.C. is one of the most successful British football clubs in history, having won 13 league championships, 3 of which are Premier League titles. They have also won the FA Cup on nine occasions. They are considered one of the Big Four of British football, along with Chelsea, Manchester United, and Liverpool. They currently play at the Emirates Stadium, having moved from Highbury after the end of the 2005-06 season.
Arsenal was founded in 1886 as Dial Square F.C., changing their name to Woolwich Arsenal, then Royal Arsenal, before reverting back to Woolwich Arsenal. They played in the second division from 1893-1904, when they were promoted to the first division. They were relegated and remained down from 1913 to 1919, but they have remained in England's top division since then. They changed their name to The Arsenal during that last stint in the second division. Managed by Herbert Chapman, they won three FA cups and dropped the "The" from their name, becoming just "Arsenal F.C.".
Following Chapman's unexpected death, George Allison came in and guided them to three consecutive League titles. After World War II, several players had their careers cut short by either death or injury. Allison resigned and was replaced by Tom Whitaker. Whitaker enjoyed instant success, winning two league titles and an FA cup. After the second league title, the team went through a sixteen year drought, which covered three coaches.
In the 1970s, the club was led through a difficult period of obscurity. However, under Terry Neill, they went to three straight FA Cup finals, winning the 1979 Cup over Manchester United. However, another poor period led them through the first half of the 1980s.
In the 1985-86 season, George Graham, a former Arsenal player and Millwall manager, took over the helm. Under his leadership, of which fans still talk about with total fondness, they secured the 1988-89 English League championship at the last moment against Liverpool. In 1993, the team doubled up, winning the FA Cup and League Cup, both over Sheffield Wednesday. After his retirement, however, several new coaches came and failed to meet expectations, even with such players as Goalkeeper David Seaman and famed Dutch striker Dennis Bergkamp.
Now, under Arsene Wenger, the team won their three Premiership titles. Wenger is now considered one of the best managers that the team has ever had. Arsenal continues to look for success, even after the departure for star striker Thierry Henry to FC Barcelona. Currently, their sponsor is Fly Emirates, the national airline of the UAE.
At present, Arsenal has a reputation of buying in players with a lot of potential when they are young, before they are fully recognised as great players. Arsene Wenger and his scouts have 'made' a lot of great players. A good example is Thierry Henry, who before he came to Arsenal, played as a winger with mixed success. Wenger, however, identified his potential as a striker and Thierry Henry is now considered one of the greatest strikers in the world.
Recently, Arsenal have been criticised for relying so heavily on young, inexperienced players; with their rivals claiming they are unable to cope throughout the whole season.
Current starting lineup (2011-2012 season)
|Arsenal F.C. Roster|
Notable Former Players
League Champions - 13 : 1930-31 1932-33 1933-34 1934-35 1937-38 1947-48 1952-53 1970-71 1988-89 1990-91 1997-98 2001-02 2003-04
Football Association Cup Winners - 9 : 1930 1936 1950 1971 1979 1993 1998 2002 2003
League Cup Winners - 2 : 1987 1993
UEFA Cup Winners - 1 : 1970
European Cup Winners' Cup - 1 : 1994