Arsenal Football Club

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Arsenal Football Club is an association football club based in London which competes in the English FA Premier League. It is one of the most successful clubs in English football. The team plays in red shirts with white sleeves and white shorts and is nicknamed the "Gunners".

Arsenal's home venue is the Emirates Stadium, formerly Ashburton Grove, which is in Holloway in the London Borough of Islington. The stadium opened in July 2006 and has an all-seated capacity of 60,355. Formerly, the club played at the Arsenal Stadium in Highbury, north London, from 6 September 1913 to 7 May 2006.

Arsenal was founded in 1886 as Dial Square by munitions workers from the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich in south east London. Dial Square was the name of one of their workshops. At the end of the year, the players held a pub meeting and changed the club’s name to Royal Arsenal. Soon afterwards, a pitch was found on nearby Plumstead Common. Two of the players contacted their old club Nottingham Forest to ask for help and Forest responded by donating a set of red shirts and a match ball.

In 1888, Royal Arsenal found a venue called the Manor Ground in Plumstead and was there for three years. In 1891, the name was changed to Woolwich Arsenal and there was a change of venue from the Manor Ground to the nearby Invicta Ground.

In 1893, Woolwich Arsenal was elected to the Second Division of the Football League as an expansion club and was the first London club to gain admittance. Because of increased rent at the Invicta Ground, the club purchased its former home, the Manor Ground, and began a development program.

It was not until the 1903–04 season that the team first earned promotion to the First Division. Little was achieved during this first spell in the top flight and Arsenal was eventually relegated after the 1912–13 season. Following this relegation, the club relocated to Highbury and adopted its present name in 1914.

League football was suspended in 1915 for the duration of the First World War and recommenced in 1919. Before the 1919–20 season, the Football League decided to increase the size of the First and Second Divisions from 20 to 22 clubs apiece. Arsenal's north London rival Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) was relegated, having finished bottom of the First Division in 1914–15 and, to effect the increase, 3 clubs were promoted. Two of these were Derby County and Preston North End, who had finished 1st and 2nd in 1914–15, but the other was Arsenal who had finished only 5th behind Barnsley and Wolves, who both remained in the Second Division. Accusations of bribery and corruption were rife and it caused bad feeling between neighbours Spurs and Arsenal that exists today and goes beyond mere local rivalry.

Whatever the circumstances, Arsenal made the most of their opportunity: the club has never since been relegated. This is the longest continuous period that a club has stayed in the top English division. The second best is 68 years by Sunderland from 1890 to 1958, while the next longest current runs are by Everton since 1954 and Liverpool since 1962.

Arsenal won the league championship 5 times in the 1930s and has won it 13 times in all, most recently in 2003–04 when the team was unbeaten in all league matches. Arsenal has won the FA Cup 9 times, most recently in 2005. The club has under-achieved in European competition and its only trophies have been in two now-defunct competitions: the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1970 and the European Cup-winners Cup in 1994. Arsenal reached the UEFA Cup final in 2000 but lost a penalty shoot-out against Galatasaray. In 2006, Arsenal reached the UEFA Champions League final but lost 2–1 to FC Barcelona after leading.

The club's greatest managers have been Herbert Chapman from 1925 to 1934, George Allison from 1934 to 1947, Bertie Mee from 1966 to 1976, George Graham from 1986 to 1995 and Arsene Wenger from 1996 to the present.

Famous players at the club have included Alex James, Cesc Fabregas, Charlie George, Cliff Bastin, Eddie Hapgood, Frank McLintock, Frank Stapleton, Joe Mercer, Liam Brady, Patrick Vieira, Ted Drake, Thierry Henry, Tony Adams and Wilf Copping.