Born in 1856, Fred Beardsley was one of Arsenal’s founding fathers.
The goalkeeper helped form Arsenal, or, as it was known at the time, Dial Square FC after the place they worked, in 1886 and played for the club for five years.
Beardsley, along with David Danskin and Jack Humble, formed the club together while working at the Royal Arsenal ammunition factor. He already played for Nottingham, which is actually a pretty relevant part of Arsenal’s past.
The goalkeeper continued appearing as a guest goalkeeper for Nottingham and it’s widely believed that Beardsley is a huge part of why our kit is red and white to this day, making him a massive part of our history.
Apparently, due to lack of funds, Beardsley used his Nottingham contacts to obtain some kits for Royal Arsenal and the red and white stuck. However, there is a theory that manager at the time, Herbert Chapman, saw a man with a red shirt and white sleeves, thought it looked good so adopted it, so it’s worth taking these stories with a pinch of salt.
The club, and Beardsley’s, first ever match was against Eastern Wanderers on December 11, 1886. Arsenal won 6-0.
Beardsley appeared 67 times for Arsenal before he left in 1891 when he was replaced by Edmund Bee and became vice-chairman. He stayed at Arsenal until 1910 on the board of directors and as a scout.
Fred Beardsley passed away in 1939.