Football is of incredible importance to the English public and has an important place within Englishnational life. The sport is almost always referred to simply as football; it is unusual for it to be called soccer and it is only referred to as "association football" in very limited circumstances. Any unqualified reference to football in an English context should be read as a reference to association football rather than to any other member of the football family of sports.
Kicking ball games are described in England since at least 1280. England can boast the earliest ever documented use of the English word "football" (1409) and the earliest reference to football in French (1314). A description of an exclusively kicking ball game from Nottinghamshire in the fifteenth century bears similarity to football. There is good evidence for refereed, team "foteball" games being played in English public schools since at least 1581. The modern global game of football was first codified in 1863 in London by the English Football Association, the oldest football association in the world. The modern passing game is believed to have been innovated in London in the early 1870s. England is home to the oldest association football clubs in the world (dating from at least 1857), the world's oldest competition (the FA Cup founded in 1871) and the first ever football league (1888). For these reasons England is considered the home of the game of football.
Arsenal were founded in 1886, though they won their first major trophies in the 1930s, with five League Championship titles and two FA Cups. After a lean period in the post-war years they became only the second club of the 20th century to win the Double in 1970–71, and during the past twenty years they have been one of the most successful clubs in English football — in this time Arsenal won two further Doubles, the Premier League in 2003–04 unbeaten, and in 2005–06 became the first London club to reach the UEFA Champions League final.
The club have appeared in a number of media "firsts" including being part of the first ever English League match to be broadcast live on radio in 1927 and contesting the first ever game to be televised live in 1937.