Custodianship At Arsenal
The Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST) produced the book 'Custodianship at Arsenal' for distribution to our members and shareholders at the 2008 Arsenal AGM. Selected images from the book and the foreword are set out below.
The Arsenal Supporters' Trust would like to thank Arsenal Football Club for giving permission for the reproduction of various articles and for its support in producing this book.
The idea for the publication was conceived, researched and collated by Nigel Phillips and images used come from his personal collection of Arsenal memorabilia. The Trust is also grateful for the support of Kevin Whitcher, Kate Phillips, Tim Payton, Richard Cooper and Ken Friar with this project.
Over many decades, Arsenal Football Club has benefited greatly from having stability in both its ownership structure and boardroom membership. It is not by accident that Arsenal is respected for its sense of tradition, values and 'doing the right thing'.
Two families' lives have been inextricably linked with ownership and custodianship at Arsenal since early last century.
Season 2008/09 represents the 90th year of the Hill-Wood family and the 70th year of the Bracewell-Smith / Carr family involvement at Arsenal. This is a remarkable milestone and one that is celebrated in this book presented to you by the Arsenal Supporters' Trust.
Major Sir Samuel Hill Hill-Wood became a director at Arsenal in 1918/19 and took over as chairman from Henry Norris in 1929. His chairmanship spanned the glorious 1930s and his wise counsel saw Arsenal through the very difficult years immediately after the Second World War. On his death in 1949 he his son Denis joined the board of directors. Denis was chairman for 20 years from 1962 - 1982 and was succeeded by his son Peter who has been chairman for the past 26 years. The Hill-Wood family chairmanship spans over half a century.
Sir Bracewell Smith joined the Arsenal board in 1938 and was chairman from 1949 until he stood down in 1962. His son, Sir George Bracewell-Smith was a director from 1953 - 1976. His son Sir Charles is the third generation of the family with Arsenal involvement and his wife, Lady Nina, is a current director.
The family connection with Arsenal was maintained by Sir Bracewell's grandsons Clive and Richard who have both served as directors. Clive Carr became a director in 1981 and is now Life President of Arsenal. His younger brother Richard Carr became a director in 1981 and has been responsible for overseeing Arsenal's successful youth development and academy.
Custodianship should not be confused with conservatism. In this period, Arsenal have been at the forefront of football. From the introduction of floodlit football and renaming of Gillespie Road tube station through to the building of the Emirates stadium and transformation of the game in England through the introduction of the incomparable Arsene Wenger.
The philosophy that the club will strive to better itself and attain success, but always by acting with a long term sustainable vision and living within its means, is a shining beacon to the wider football community.
We hope this wonderful custodianship comes through in the pages of this book.