Joseph Joshua "Joe" Powell (1870 – 29 November 1896) was an English footballer who was captain of Woolwich Arsenal in their first season of League football. He is also notable for being one of the few footballers to die as a result of an injury incurred whilst playing.
Born in Bristol, Powell had joined the Army as a young man, and served in the South Staffordshire Regiment. He played football for the regimental team, and impressed enough in a match against Woolwich Arsenal in October 1892 that Arsenal bought him out of his army contract and signed him as a professional that December. Having turned professional, Arsenal had been shunned by many other clubs and county associations, and only competed in FA Cup matches and friendlies. A strong and purposeful right back, Powell immediately became a regular in the Arsenal side.
In 1893 Royal Arsenal were accepted into the Football League and joined the Second Division. Powell captained the side in its inaugural match against Newcastle United on 2 September 1893. Powell went on to play in all but two of the Gunners' League matches that season, and was a near ever-present for the next two seasons as well (missing three and five games respectively). He scored his one and only League goal for Arsenal in a 5-0 victory over Loughborough on 4 January 1896.
In a match against Kettering Town in November 1896, he broke his arm. He soon contracted blood poisoning and tetanus, and despite having the arm amputated he died a week later at the age of 26. He had played 92 League and FA Cup matches for the club.Close