I don’t think I’ve posted this one before. The pre-Highbury Arsenal in an unusually well-shot sequence: right at the end, there’s an interesting piece of what might actually be skill.
In most respects, given that this stadium was gone before the outbreak of World War One, this match is entirely recognisable as the sort of thing you’d expect to see right up to the 1960s. That’s in contrast to the often gimcrack appearance of games and grounds on film even ten years before this, and testimony to the speed with which the domestic game was developing.
The game seems to have ceased developing post-War, save for what Herbert Chapman was up to. Part of me wonders if there isn’t some kind of unconscious rejection of Modernism involved, in which professional football is an emergent phenomenon of specifically Victorian forms of urban industrialization, one which is then left stranded alongside Georgian Poetry, Post-Impressionist Art and tonal classical music as the world changes. I’ll be discussing these and other footballing issues with Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson after this: