The Arsenal Stadium Mystery: When Highbury hit the silver screen


On 6 May 1939 Arsenal faced Brentford at Highbury for their last league fixture before the outbreak of World War II. In this match the Brentford players  wore a special striped kit that was designed only for this match. The match ended as a 2-0 win for the hosts.

Why the Brentford players wore the special kit that day was revealed later.

Footages from this match were used in the movie The Arsenal Stadium Mystery to portray a match between Arsenal and a fictitious team called The Trojans. The Brentford players in their striped kit were playing the body doubles for The Trojans in the film.

The Arsenal Stadium Mystery, directed by influential English filmmaker of the time Thorold Dickinson, was one of the first to include football in a prominent role.

The story follows Inspector Anthony Slade (played by Leslie Banks) as he attempts to solve the murder of a football player who died from poisoning while his amateur side, the fictitious Trojans, were playing a friendly against Arsenal at Highbury. Several Arsenal players, including forward Cliff Bastin and full back Eddie Hapgood, appeared in the film. However, of all the Gunners players and staff to appear in the film, only manager George Allison (pictured) had a speaking role.

On 17th February 1940, this film came to the theaters across Britain, making Arsenal the first football club to have a prominent role in a movie.