Arthur “Pop” ArnoldBUILDER CATEGORY

    Arthur “Pop” Arnold, was one of the most important men in Hamilton soccer history. He was born In Dudley, Worcestershire, England in 1882 and died in Burlington on February 16, 1969.

    He made a long and enormous contribution to Canadian and Hamilton soccer. For six very turbulent years he was president of the old National Soccer League (NSL) and the Ontario Football Association (OSA today) at the same time. This often found him in conflict between the two organizations. His administrative career, which started in 1929 when he became the secretary of Hamilton City Football Club of the NSL, spanned 30 years. From 1934 to 1941 he was either President or Vice President of the NSL.  He would be President of the Western Section and Len Peto would be President of the East.

    When World War Two ended it was “Pop” Arnold who picked up the pieces of soccer in Ontario as Chairman of the Ontario Football Commission from 1948 to 1951.  Then when the Ontario Football Association was reformed, after a 10 year hiatus, he was elected president, a position he held until 1958.  Those were very difficult years for soccer in Ontario as immigration, following the war, brought thousands of new soccer playing and loving people to Ontario from all over Europe.  They soon formed their own teams and the job of integrating those teams into the Ontario soccer system fell to Arthur and his officials. The sometimes bitter battles took their toll on him. In declining the nomination for president at the 1958 OSA annual meeting he told the delegates “no man was more attacked or belittled than I was and I just couldn’t go on for another 12 months.”

    He, however, also played a role in the running of the national association and served five years as vice president of The Dominion of Canada Football Association before being elected president in 1957.  It was fully expected that he would become president before that, but national politics got in the way of what was thought to be an obvious and well deserved choice.  Somewhere along the way he was made a Life Member of all three organizations and in 2008 he was inducted into The Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum as winner of the Pioneer Award.

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