Dartford, Kent born right back Archie Cross started his career at hometown junior club Dartford in 1898, before joining nearby Woolwich Arsenal in April 1900. Initially understudy to Duncan McNichol, Cross made his Football League debut in a 1-1 draw at Blackpool on 6th October 1900. After playing just three games in 1900-01, he played in fifteen of Arsenal’s first nineteen games of 1901-02, before losing his place again to McNichol. After another season as backup, he finally won a regular place in the side in 1903-04, during which Arsenal won promotion to the First Division for the first time in their history as Second Division runners up, making 30 appearances during the campaign, his career best.
However, after Arsenal were promoted they signed Archie Gray from Hibs, and Gray was included in the Arsenal side at the expense of Cross, who only played in just over a third of Arsenal’s matches in their first three seasons in the top flight. He was part of the losing 1906 FA Cup semi final team beaten 2-0 by Newcastle United at The Victoria Ground, Stoke. In 1907 he switched sides to left back but was mainly used in the position as cover for the first-choice left back, Joe Shaw.
Despite being only a reserve for much of his later career, he was picked for an England trial in 1906, but never made it to the senior side. Cross left Woolwich Arsenal in 1910, with 149 appearances in League and Cup to his name, although he never scored for The Gunners. He also won the West Kent League (1900-01, 1901-02) and South Eastern League (1907-08) with Arsenal Reserves. After leaving Arsenal, he saw out his career with a second spell at Dartford. He became director of the Kent club in 1921.
NB This photograph was taken on 8th January 1906 before an Amateurs v Professionals England trial match played at Craven Cottage, Fulham, which the Professionals XI won 1-0.
Amateurs (white shirts): Back Row – PH Farnfield, JG Witherington, CD McIver, HA Nulton
Middle Row – SH Day, Vivian Woodward, Herbert Smith, SS Harris (captain)
Front Row – EGD Wright, TS Rowlandson, GC Vassall
Professionals (striped shirts): Back Row – Jimmy Ashcroft, Joe Walton, Archie Cross, Peter Chambers
Middle Row – Walter Bull, Fred Blackburn, Riley, Fred Threlfall
Front Row – Arthur “Pat” Collins, Tim Coleman, Fred Harrison