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Grave tributes to man with an Arsenal vision

Headstone finally marks last resting place of founder

03 May, 2019 — By Richard Osley

David Danskin

FORMER Arsenal captain and club legend Pat Rice joined supp­orters at a cemetery in Coventry this week for a ceremony honouring one of the club’s founders.

David Danskin’s unmarked grave was discovered last year by a researcher – seven decades after his death.

Hearing of the discovery, Arsenal commissioned a stonemason to mark his final resting place.

Mr Danskin’s grandson Richard, who now lives in Canada, said: “Today sees the culmination of almost 20 years’ work to research, validate and recognise the determin­ation, dedication and vision of David Danskin.

“Little did he know that his love of the game and those early football games with his workmates at the Royal Arsenal ordnance complex in Woolwich would eventually result in what we know today as Arsenal.”

Mr Danskin helped set up the club with colleagues in Wool­wich before its move to north London in 1913 and subsequent rise to become one of world football’s biggest names.

Pat Rice, centre, at the grave

His grave was discovered by Lionel Bird, a historian in the Midlands city, and Ian Woolley, chairman of the cemetery’s friends group, who traced the link to Unai Emery’s Europa League-chasing Gunners.

Four generations of the Danskin family, some of whom travelled from Australia and Canada, were joined by senior officials from Arsenal and members of the Arsenal Scotland Supporters’ Club to formally unveil a new gravestone for the recognised founder of the club.

Mr Danskin, born in Fife, Scotland, in 1863, moved to work at the Royal Arsenal in south-east London. A keen footballer, he set up Dial Square FC with work­mates, the club becoming Royal Arsenal in 1886.

As Arsenal, the club has been champions of England 13 times and has won the FA Cup more times than any other team. Mr Danskin’s name features on the wraparound mural of players outside the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal Scotland Supporters Club chairman Mike Buchanan said “Our fellow Scotsman, David Danskin, had the vision to create our football club all those years ago from a sense of bringing people together around their common passion for football. We’re delighted to have played a part in formally restoring and recognising his grave.”

Arsenal managing director Vinai Venkatesham said: “Millions of Arsenal fans around the world will always be indebted to David Danskin’s vision to create a football club. We’re pleased that at last his final resting place has been properly recognised.”

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