Thomas Mitchell (football manager)

Thomas Brown Mitchell (c. 1843 in Dumfries – August 1921) was a two-time FA Cup winning Scottish football manager.

Thomas Mitchell
Personal information
Full name Thomas Brown Mitchell
Date of birth c. 1843
Place of birth Dumfries, Scotland
Date of death August 1921
Teams managed
Years Team
1887–1896 Blackburn Rovers
1897–1898 Woolwich Arsenal

Early yearsEdit

Thomas Mitchell was born in Dumfries but moved south of the border c.1867.[1]

Blackburn RoversEdit

Mitchell became secretary-manager of Blackburn Rovers in 1887.[2] The club then went on to win two FA Cups in 1890 and 1891. The final win in 1891 was against the Notts County side featuring David Calderhead.[1][3]

Mitchell left Blackburn after 9 years as manager in 1896.[1]


Mitchell joined Woolwich Arsenal,[1] after the club decided to appoint a professional manager following their defeat at the hands of Millwall in the FA Cup. There is some doubt over whether he was Arsenal's first- or second-ever manager; Sam Hollis is credited on the club's official website as being the club's first manager,[4] other historical sources claim Hollis was only the club's trainer[5] and thus Mitchell was the club's first manager – a view reinforced by the club's own official history, amongst other sources.[6][7][8]

Regardless of whether Hollis was properly in charge of the club during his time there, Mitchell is nevertheless credited as being Arsenal's first professional manager.[4] However, he only lasted less than a season in the job,[1] and although the club would reach fifth in the Second Division in 1897–98, neither he nor most of his signings stayed long with the club. Mitchell resigned as Arsenal manager on 10 March 1898.

Later yearsEdit

Mitchell returned to Blackburn Rovers. He died in Blackburn in 1921, aged 78.[1]


Blackburn Rovers


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Thomas Mitchell" full career profile on
  2. ^ Kelly, Andy (4 October 2017). "ARSENAL MANAGER HASN'T WON AS MANY FA CUPS AS BELIEVED". The Arsenal History. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  3. ^ Connections between Dumfries and Blackburn Rovers in the Queen of the South profile on Jackie Oakes
  4. ^ a b "Arsenal Managers".
  5. ^ Joy, Bernard (1952). Forward Arsenal!. Phoenix House. p. 11. Arsenal's trainer, Hollis, however, was true to the nineteenth century pattern.
  6. ^ Soar, Phil & Tyler, Martin (2005). The Official Illustrated History of Arsenal. Hamlyn. p. 30. ISBN 0-600-61344-5. A disastrous FA Cup defeat by non-League Millwall (2–4 away) on 16 January 1896 proved one turning point for the committee. They decided to appoint a secretary-manager, one T.B. Mitchell from Blackburn,...
  7. ^ Roper, Alan (2004). The Real Arsenal Story: In the Days of Gog. Wherry. p. 120. ISBN 0-9546259-1-9. After their humiliating defeat the Arsenal FC directors decided to appoint their first professional manager, and the first to be signed was Thomas Brown Mitchell, a Scot.
  8. ^ Joy (1952). Forward Arsenal!. p. 12. The first manager was T.B. Mitchell, from Blackburn Rovers and he was succeeded after a few months by G. Elcoat of Stockton.