On this day in 1897, Arsenal sold their most prolific goalscorer of all time to Newton Heath.

Born in 1868, Boyd originally played for Sunderland Albion, a team which folded in 1892. Before signing for Arsenal in 1894, the striker played for Burnley, where he scored once in four appearances, and then West Brom, where he scored one in seven.

During his first game for Arsenal, a 4-0 friendly win against Fleetwood Rangers, Boyd scored. Then, during Arsenal’s 3-1 loss against Grimsby in the league, he scored again – the Gunners’ only goal.

Once he’d started scoring, he couldn’t stop.

Between 10 September and 13 October, Boyd scored nine goals, including a hat-trick at home against Manchester City.

Unfortunately on 15 October, he broke his ankle during a friendly against Sunderland. Although, he returned two months later.

Henry Boyd
Henry Boyd

Interestingly, Boyd then returned to his home, Glasgow, after getting homesick, more or less just disappearing before writing to the Arsenal directors, asking them to take him back, which they didn’t do until October 1895.

Boyd returned and scored against Burton Swifts, which Arsenal won 5-0.

He went on to score an outrageous amount of goals while in London: 14 goals in 11 appearances during the 1894/95 season; 43 in 40 the next season and 16 in 23 after that. In total, he scored 73 goals in 74 appearances in the league and friendlies.

Between September 1894 and December 1896, he scored 32 goals in 41 games League and FA Cup.

This puts his goal to minute ratio (0.780) above Ted Drake’s (0.755), who scored 139 in 184.

For reasons unknown, Boyd was transferred to Newton Heath (who later became Manchester United) in 1897.