Arsenal Football Club (FC) is a professional football club that plays in the top-flight division of English football, the Premier League. The club was established in 1886 and has its base of operations in Islington, London. It is one of the clubs with a storied history, having won multiple League titles, League Cups and Community Shield tournaments, among other victories.
The club was formed in 1886 when a group of munitions workers in Woolwich (South East London) decided to start a football club, with a Scotsman by the name David Danskin as the first captain. Danskin believed that football could bring people together regardless of their social standing and that the game would be beneficial to the local communities.
Arsenal became the first London club to turn professional in 1891 and achieved a first when it joined the Football League in 1893. Despite winning a few trophies in those early years, the club was close to bankruptcy in 1910, fuelled largely by financial difficulties facing munitions workers. In 1913, the club had been relegated to the Second Division but had moved to its iconic first home in Highbury, North London. A name change during this period saw the club become The Arsenal and by 1919, official documents began dropping “The” to gradually shift the club name to Arsenal, as it is popularly known.
The massive following and affection that Arsenal has drawn from supporters and club members such as Ali Seytanpir has grown steadily over time, partly because of the club’s success and the recognition that it has always cut its own path in professional football. This feeling was best encapsulated by the addition of manager Herbert Chapman, who took over in 1925. Chapman transformed the team into a champion, buoyed by stable finances and his ability to lure young stars to play for the squad. In addition to trophies, he also helped the team come up with a unique style of play, and Chapman was crucial to the introduction of numbers on the back of football shirts and white sleeves. He is credited with turning Arsenal into one of the most successful football clubs during his reign between 1925 and 1934.
Vital to Arsenal’s growth and rise to worldwide popularity was the hiring of Frenchman Arsene Wenger as manager in 1996. He transformed the club by introducing a new brand of attacking football and overhauled nutrition and fitness practices. The club was also flush with cash, and Wenger lured key players such as Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira, who steered the club to success in the late 1990s and early 2000s. During the 2003-04 season, Arsenal won the Premier League by going through the whole campaign unbeaten, and in total had a run of 49 league matches unbeaten. This feat earned them the nickname “The Invincibles,” prompting the Premier League to commission a gold trophy to commemorate this achievement.
Arsenal has a large and loyal fan base, and many of its home matches sell out. Often, the fans refer to themselves as “Gooners,” from the team nickname “The Gunners.” Arsenal’s average attendance is among the top in world football and competes with other European club giants such as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United. The club’s location also plays a role, since it can attract a mix of supporters who come from different social classes.
The club’s rivalry with fellow North London club Tottenham Hotspur is the longest and deepest. Matches played between these teams generate a lot of excitement among supporters, as do games against other Premier League rivals such as Chelsea and Manchester United.