Having already won schoolboy international honours, Watford born left or centre half Arthur Grimsdell started playing junior football with St Stephen’s in 1909 and then spent 1910-11 with St Alban’s City, winning England Schools honours, before joining home town Southern League club Watford initially as an amateur, signing professional in October 1911. He made his Watford debut against Queen’s Park Rangers in April 1911 soon after his 17th birthday and scored 4 goals in 41 appearances for The Hornets.
He transferred to Tottenham Hotspur in April 1912 along with Wally Tattersall for a total of £500, making his Football League debut the same month against Bolton Wanderers. The following two seasons he was a regular member of the side but when Tottenham were relegated in 1914-15 he only played 8 times (due to injury?). After the First World War he resumed with Spurs in 1919-20 and played 37 games as they won the Second Division Championship, scoring a career best 15 goals during the campaign. The following year he was Club Captain and Spurs won the 1921 FA Cup Final beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0, very much the highlight of his career, Jimmy Dimmock scoring the Final’s winning goal at Stamford Bridge. He also led them to the FA Cup semi final the following season, where they were beaten by Preston North End at Hillsborough. Despite his career being interrupted by The Great War he went on to play 360 times for Spurs scoring 27 goals during 18 years at White Hart Lane.
After the First World War he played in two of England’s Victory Internationals, both against Scotland, scoring twice in a 4-3 victory over Scotland at Hampden Park in May 1919. He played for England 6 times between March 1920, when he made his international debut against Wales at Highbury, and March 1923, also against Wales at Cardiff, being England’s captain on the latter 3 occasions. He also played once for The Football League in a 4-0 victory over The Scottish League at Celtic Park, Glasgow in March 1920.
He broke his leg in a match against Leicester City in October 1925, and missed a year and a half of football, returning to the Spurs side at the end of April 1927, although he was a regular in the Tottenham team relegated the following season. After playing his last game for Spurs against Port Vale in February 1929, he was released by Spurs in April 1929, and became player manager of Clapton Orient in May, for whom he played 17 times, scoring twice, but he left Orient in March 1930 and retired from playing.
He was later a director and also briefly manager of Watford. In the middle of the 1947-48 season, as a director of the club he took charge of team affairs between Jack Bray’s resignation as manager and the appointment of Eddie Hapgood, and was responsible with fellow directors for the simultaneous signing of five Leicester City players.
As a wicketkeeper Arthur Grimsdell played one match of first class cricket for East of England against New Zealand at Wisbech, Cambridgeshire in July 1927, making 3 and 40 in his two innings, and his Hertfordshire CCC career, which included a spell as captain, spanned 26 years from 1922 to 1947. In Minor Counties’ cricket he hit 3,458 runs, average 19.00, for Hertfordshire, his highest innings being 107 in 1934.
His elder brother Ernie also played for Watford as well as Reading and Queen’s Park Rangers.
NB in this image, most likely from the match between Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United at White Hart Lane on 18th November 1922, which finished in a 1-0 victory to Newcastle, Grimsdell is tackled by Newcastle right back Billy Hampson (note it could also be from the 1-1 draw at St James’ Park the following week).