1929

Good bye and good luck, Peter. - Paul Gilham

That was a long time ago. How long? Let's look at it, shall we? I promise, it relates to Arsenal.

In 1929, my dad was six years old. My dad is no longer living.

In 1929, in Seattle, Seafirst Bank was founded. It lasted until the late 1990's, when Bank of America, who purchased Seafirst in the early 1980's, finally insisted Seafirst take on the Bank of America name.

In 1929, Decca Records, the label that popularized he vinyl LP and one of the first to record music in stereo, was founded. Decca would become the home of the Rolling Stones, Adam & The Ants, and more. It is still around, mostly doing classical music and Broadway scores.

In 1929, a Hill-Wood, Samuel, was appointed to the board of Arsenal Football Club. He would be the chairman of the board until 1962, when his son Denis became chairman. Denis served until 1982, when his son Peter, who was already on the board, took over as chairman; Peter has served as chairman ever since, providing what I believe is the longest unbroken family control of any English First Division team (at least that I could find in my several seconds of research for this piece).

But now, that's all about to end. Peter Hill-Wood is expected to announce this summer that he is stepping down from his role as chairman of the board, although he will probably still have a role at the club. While on a daily basis this probably won't make much of a difference, because Hill-Wood sold his stake in Arsenal to Kroenke some time ago and has had no significant function at the club for years outside running the AGM, it's still a pretty significant milestone in the history of Arsenal; Arsenal without a Hill-Wood on the board is something none of us have ever known. The Hill-Wood family helped make Arsenal what it is today, and I hope that Gazidis and the rest of the current board understand and respect their role and allow any other Hill-Woods, in whatever capacity they wish, to be a part of the club.

One of the things I like most about Arsenal is its long sense of continuity and tradition, and a big part of that continuity and protector of that tradition is about to go away. This makes me sad. He's stepping down for health reasons - he had a heart attack last year, and has battled pneumonia a few times recently - and I hope he can enjoy his retirement fully now, and that he still wants to show up on Saturdays and be a fan.

And on the bright side, as much of a loss as this will be to the club, at least Arsenal still have a director named Sir Chips Keswick. That's gotta count for something, because wow that is an awesome name.

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