New book delves into 101 ‘most interesting’ characters of Arsenal FC

Anton Rippon. Pictures: Nicola Rippon

Anton Rippon. Pictures: Nicola Rippon - Credit: Archant

A new book which documents how Arsenal FC developed from workers playing for fun to a multi-million pound business has been released.

Arsenal: The Story of a Football Club in 101 Lives by Anton Rippon charts the history of the Gunners using a compilation of people’s stories and biographies.

It starts with the man who founded the club and travels through the decades to the present day.

READ MORE: Arsenal legend challenges Islington to beat her keepy-uppy score for charity“The idea is to tell the story through the eyes of the people,” Anton said. “It’s not just about one or two managers, it’s the story of people, how even the most famous players made their debut as a youngster nobody had ever heard of playing in some windswept park somewhere.”

Anton, a journalist, award-winning newspaper columnist, publisher and “great football fan”, said this is the second book he has dedicated to the subject, as in 1981 he published The Story of Arsenal Football Club.

Although he “can’t say” he is an Arsenal fan, Anton has “a terrific admiration” for the Gunners.

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“In fact, I did a book about 40 years ago, and I came down to see a few people, including Jack Kelsey, the goalkeeper, and they were so welcoming.

“Also, the old ground in Highbury was always one of my favourite football grounds to visit. I think it had such a grandeur, you know the marble halls, the architecture, the area.”

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He described Arsenal as the “first truly world-famous club”: “I always find it interesting that in the past the players would be going to the game on the same bus as the supporters. A supporter could be going to the game and find out one of the stars had just gotten on and was paying the conductor. It was a totally different world.”

Anton hopes readers will “take away that it is the people that make a football club”.

He added: “The book won’t have everybody’s favourite players in it, it is not meant to be a book about all the great players.

“It’s not the hundred great players, it’s the hundred most interesting players, or characters, people who have made the most contribution one way or the other.”

Anton’s other titles include Hitler’s Olympics: The Story of the 1936 Nazi Games - which he says was one of the “most challenging but interesting” pieces he has penned.

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