Blast from the Past No. 17 … Arsenal’s Exclusive 10,000th game club


Joined Left Years Games Goals
1 David O’Leary 1973 1993 20 722 14
2 Tony Adams 1983 2002 19 669 48
3 George Armstrong 1961 1977 16 621 68
4 Lee Dixon 1988 2002 14 619 28
5 Nigel Winterburn 1987 2000 13 584 12
6 David Seaman 1990 2003 13 564 0
7 Pat Rice 1964 1980 16 528 13
8 Peter Storey 1961 1977 16 501 17
9 John Radford 1962 1976 14 481 149
10 Peter Simpson 1960 1978 18 477 15
11 Bob John 1922 1937 15 470 13
12 Ray Parlour 1988 2004 16 466 32
13 Graham Rix 1974 1988 14 464 51
14 Martin Keown 1981 2004 23 449 8
15 Paul Davis 1978 1995 17 447 37
16 Eddie Hapgood 1927 1945 18 440 2
17 Paul Merson 1982 1997 15 425 99
18 Dennis Bergkamp 1995 2006 11 423 120
19 Patrick Vieira 1996 2005 9 406 33
20 Frank Mclintock 1964 1973 9 403 32
Total: 306 10159 791

These are the players who have each played in over 400 games for Arsenal, between them they played in an incredible 10,159 games, an average of 508 games per player. Many of us will be familiar with 18 of them as they played in the past 41years but I doubt that any of us would have been around when the final 2 played.

Bob John 1922-1937 – 470 games

Bob John 2

Bob John

Born in Barry, Wales, Bob played for Barry Town and Caerphilly, before joining Arsenal, who signed him despite stiff competition for his signature. He made his Arsenal first-team debut on 28 October 1922 in a 2-1 home defeat to Newcastle United, and soon became a regular, succeeding Tom Whittaker at left half.

He lost his place from the Arsenal side in the 1923-24 season due to stiff competition from Billy Blyth and Andy Young, but after switching to left back, he once again became a first team player. Eventually he was put back to left half, and this time he remained a first-team regular. A prodigious ball-winner and noted passer of the ball, Bob reached (but lost) in the 1926-27 FA Cup Final, after an error by his compatriot and close friend, goalkeeper Dan Lewis whose one mistake led to Arsenal’s loss. It was Bob who consoled Lewis after the final whistle, assuring him he would get another chance to a win a medal, but Lewis never did get the opportunity.

Despite some very strong competition he remained a first team regular, finally winning some silverware in the 1929-30, FA Cup Final. This was followed by three First Division titles in 1930-31, 1932-33, and 1933-34. He also scored Arsenal’s only goal in the 1932 FA Cup Final when Arsenal were controversially beaten by Newcastle United. Newcastle benefited from scoring a goal that was later determined to have been out of play just before the goal was scored. By this time he was one of the senior members of the Arsenal squad, and mentored many of the club’s younger new arrivals, such as Alex James. He played for Arsenal until he retired in 1938, playing for the final three years of his career mainly as a reserve player, missing out on a medal in the League win of 1934-35.

After his retirement he had a largely unsuccessful career as a coach, finishing his football career as a scout for Cardiff City.

His 470 games place him 11th on the all time list.

He passed away in 1982 aged 83 years.

Eddie Hapgood 1927-1945 – 440 games

eddie hapgood 2

Eddie Hapgood Highbury006

He was born in Bristol. Eddie started his football career in the mid-1920s as an amateur playing in local football (while still employed as a milkman), after which he played for Kettering Town in the Southern League. In 1927 Herbert Chapman signed him for Arsenal at a fee of £950. He was so thin and fragile that Arsenal’s trainer Tom Whittaker forced him to take up weight training and to start eating meat, as he was a vegetarian. This turned to Eddie’s advantage outside of football as his new found muscular physique allowed him to supplement his minimum wage, as a footballer, by fashion modelling and advertising confectionary.

He made his Arsenal debut on 19 November 1927 against Birmingham City; initially he was used as backup for left back Horace Cope. Eddie had to wait until 1929 before he became a first team regular, after that he made the position his own, right up until the outbreak of WW11 in 1939. He played 35 or more matches in every season in that period and went on to succeed Alex James as Arsenal’s captain and he led the side to the League title in 1937-38, while personally winning five League titles and two FA Cups.

He was capped by England on 30 occasions making his debut in1930, and was England’s captain for 21 games including his first match which was the infamous “Battle of Highbury” against Italy in November 1934. Italy was the reigning World Champions at the time and England had declined to take part in the World Cup, so the match was billed as the “true” World Championship match. The match was notoriously dirty, with many players sustaining injuries, including Hapgood who had his nose broken. England beat the Italians (who were reduced to ten men for most of the match) 3-2. He was also captain when the English team played Germany, in Berlin and were forced (under pressure from British diplomats) to give the Nazi salute before the match, England won 6-3.

When WW11 started, Eddie who was only 30 served in the Royal Air Force, while also playing for Arsenal and England in unofficial matches. In 1945, he wrote one of the first football autobiographies, entitled “Football Ambassador”. After that he left football completely; he fell on hard times and wrote back to his old club Arsenal asking for financial assistance (as he had never been given a testimonial match) but the club only sent him £30. He spent his later years running YMCA hostels.

His 440 games place him 16th on the all time list.

He passed away on Good Friday 1973 aged 64 years.

Two of the other members of the 10,000 game club are John Radford and Dennis (God) Bergkamp and they are also among only 16 players to have scored 100 or more goals for Arsenal, Paul Merson fell one goal short at 99.



33 Responses to Blast from the Past No. 17 … Arsenal’s Exclusive 10,000th game club

  1. stevepalmer1 says:

    Very good post GN5, don’t know where you got this info, all i know is i reckon i have read this all before, a long long time ago.

    What i liked N5 was in your last picture of the the bucket and sponge, I remember playing, when all we had on the touchlines was the dreaded bucket and sponge, Middle of winter and your down, and you see that bucket and sponge, and knowing how cold that water was, used to get me back up as fast as a Greyhound. Thanks for those memories 🙂

  2. mickydidit89 says:

    Two in two days. I’m guessing you are about to ask Peaches a massive favour 😉 great work. Thank you.

    First up, i’ll be fascinated three see the answer to yesterday’s quizz.

    Next, there are some names in this list that really surprise me. For np particular reason, I’d be interested to see this list, say top 20 compared to our voted greatest ever players

    I hate typing on mobiles

  3. mickydidit89 says:

    I saw Eddie’s Izzard at the Eden Project last summer
    He did a brilliant sketch about injuries and the bucket water sponge treatment
    Sprain…sponge. Concussion…sponge. Broken leg…sponge.

  4. GunnerN5 says:

    Answers to Football Trivia Quiz No. 2

    1. George Graham
    2. .90
    3. Thomas Brown Mitchell
    4. 2.30
    5. Arsene Wenger
    6. 57.99%
    7. Arsene Wenger
    8. 66.27%
    9. 7
    10. 19
    11. 12
    12. George Morrell
    13. 7
    14. 9
    15. 2

  5. arnie says:

    Brilliant stuff, GN5. 🙂 🙂 Two in a row as well. Twice. This must be a record. 🙂 🙂

    I can now confirm that you got all the answers to your quiz right. Well done GN5. 🙂

    Just a bit irritated that all my comments from earlier this morning were eaten up by WordPress. I tried the Chas “dot” thing, but no success. Nothing important, just some responses to GN5’s quiz, and the Shard-Evonne discussion on England in the WC. But a bit irritating nevertheless.

    Busy day, but will digest the post and back in a while. 🙂

  6. Big Raddy says:

    I am proud to say I saw 18 out of the 20 play.

    Will any of the current squad get into the Top 20 and displace Frank Mc

  7. RA says:

    Another exquisite Post, GN5. 🙂

    The comments are lacking it seems, but the quality of the work will have attracted many readers.

  8. GoonerB says:

    Thanks GN5. Can I echo RA’s thoughts that your posts are always an excellent read. Yours are always informative rather than debate starters so i would concur that many have read and enjoyed them but not felt the need to comment. I enjoyed this one but haven’t really got anything to add, and just enjoyed it as a read. Long may they continue. It makes a nice change sometimes from the ones that start furious debate and split opinions regarding players, transfers and tactics e.t.c (which you know I hate!!!). Thank-you again GN5.

    I also notice, like Arnie, that you got all the questions to yesterdays quiz right GN5. I gave up when I came up with Ossie Ardilles as one of my answers and had one stats answer as 1,125%. I’m bloody awful at maths, stats and history.

  9. RockyLives says:

    Great read as always Gn5

    I enjoyed reading about both John and Hapgood in your series last summer and their stories are well worth revisiting.

    Now, as to that quiz…

    I managed a score of 5 out of 15.

    Well, really it was 4 out of 15 but I generously gave myself a point for Q8 (% points won). The real answer was 66.3% and I put 63%…

    Actually, I only got 4 out of 15, didn’t I?

  10. Big Raddy says:

    I am afraid I only got …. well, I am too embarrassed to say but Rocky beat me.

  11. RockyLives says:

    Haha BR
    You must have been really pants 🙂

  12. Shard says:

    I got 10 correct in yesterday’s quiz 🙂

    I’m also going to dispute the answer to the last question on the basis that Mee spent 10 seasons as Arsenal manager, if not 10 calendar years. 🙂

    As for questions 3 and 4, I ask for clarifications. While I checked the league table for the season that Mitchell was in charge (1897-98), he apparently did not complete the season as he resigned in March. So while Arsenal’s league record for the season reads 69 goals in 30 games, which is equal to 2.3 goals per game, I would like to know whether that is entirely accurate for the manager himself.

  13. RockyLives says:

    I do not believe you scored 10 without cheating !

  14. RockyLives says:

    I don’t care as long as I beat Redders 🙂

  15. Shard says:


    Oh, I absolutely cheated (although the correct term is research 🙂 ).. Without cheating I would have probably got 3, maybe 4 correct, but even that’s stretching it.

  16. Shard says:

    A brilliant article GN5. As I was reading the list, I was happy about how many of the players I had seen play. Then suddenly went “WHO?” (no I didn’t turn into an owl) when I came across the name Bob John.

    I would have asked in the comments, but then realised his story had already been told. Amazing that a player that was so instrumental in the glory years of the 30s is relatively unheard of. Thank you for that piece of information.

    I didn’t ever think Vieira would be among our top 20 appearance lists. I’ve seen 8 of the top 20 play for Arsenal, and saw Merson play for Aston Villa late in his career. He was portly and seemed barely able to move but the commentators told me he used to be an important player for Arsenal. I think he was partnering Dion Dublin that day.

    I think I know Eddie Hapgood from the movie ‘The Arsenal Stadium Mystery’. Was he in it? The timing would fit. I saw that film a few years ago and while the movie itself is quite cheesy, it was still fun viewing. The Marble Halls make an appearance in that film. How could anyone not want to watch it?

  17. Edddie says:

    GN5 – a beautiful post, Eddie Hapgood’s story had me in tears. I think I need to honour him and will call myself Eddie from now on

    Thank you GN5, you are a true star

  18. Big Raddy says:

    Poldi playing well for Germany. Goal and a couple osassists

  19. neamman says:

    Great read GN5

  20. arnie says:

    What a brilliant contribution, GN5. 🙂 🙂 Such brilliant education.

    Unashamedly pilfered from the web (cheating/ research 😛 ) here are some bits and pieces.

    Bob John’s descendants loaned his shirts from the 1927, 1930 and 1932 FA Cup Finals to the Arsenal FC Museum.

    Bob played 15 times for the Wales National team, between 1223 and 1936

    Bob John (left), Herbert Chapman (centre), Alex James (right)

    Bob John 1927 Vintage pre-WW2 British tobacco card.

  21. arnie says:

    oh dear, my comment is in moderation!

    Bl**dy London City airport. Reached 3 hours before my flight to tray and spend some time on AA. But could not get wifi connection. 😦

  22. arnie says:

    OK, I know possibly why comment went into moderation. Revised now.

    It would be fair to say Eddie Hapgood lived and died football. He collapsed and died during a sports forum on Good Friday, 1973.

    Eddie Hapgood’s resting place in Brunswick Street Cemetery, Leamington.

    There is an page on Eddie Hapgood. Unfortunately I could not watch the video because I do not have a subscription 😦

    Eddie Hapgood and Herbert Roberts playing against Sheffield United.

    Eddie Hapgood acted as himself in the film “The Arsenal Stadium Mystery”.

    Eddie Hapgood has a portrait in the National Portrait Gallery, London.
    by Fred Daniels
    vintage bromide print, 1939

  23. arnie says:

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  24. arnie says:

    Not great quality, but ……

  25. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Since chas started going to the sauna and Didit bought Downton Abbey the mornings have been quiet.

    arnie. thanks for the vids and hope you got home safely

  26. Morning all

    Fantastic post GN5, I love your Arsenal history lessons, we’re very lucky to have you.

    Not much news about, I have to say I’m feeling very sad about Cesc going to Chelsea 😦 😦 😦 and poor Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 😦 😦 😦

    But it was nice to see our German contingent kicking the ball about last night 🙂

  27. chas says:

    I went to see Derby v Notts 20/20 cricket yesterday evening.
    Flippin heck, those cricket fans can drink.

  28. chas says:

    Thanks for the great post, GN5.
    If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t even have heard of Bob John, but now think of him as a brother in arms.
    I had heard of Edris before because of his book.
    True Arsenal greats.

  29. chas says:

    Bob, Eddie and the lads and some magnificent shorts…

  30. We have a New Post ………………….

  31. Edddie says:

    nicje lads,great side partings, nice names, awful pants – they could sail with those

  32. I like the valuable info you provide in your articles.

    I will bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently.
    I am quite certain I will learn lots of new stuff right here!
    Good luck for the next!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: