The 1952-53 season started well for Arsenal as we won the opening two fixtures but then only managed to win two of the next eight matches. A 5-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield on November 15 helped to inspire the team and the goals continued to flow throughout that winter. We beat Bolton 6-4 (away from home on Christmas Day), Wolves 5-3, Spurs 4-0 and Derby 6-2 in the next couple of months.
April proved to be the decisive month; the Gunners played eight league matches during the month, including a run of five straight wins. The last game of the month though, was away to title rivals Preston. Arsenal was two points ahead with two games remaining and could seal a league title with a victory at Deepdale. However Arsenal suffered a 2-0 defeat and both sides were level with one match left. Preston played first, beating bottom side Derby 1-0 on Wednesday. Two days later Arsenal knew that only a home victory over Burnley would give them the title. Burnley took an early lead but Alex Forbes, Doug Lishman and Jimmy Logie all found the net to make it 3-1. Burnley made in 3-2 in the second half but Arsenal held on for the crucial two points and we won our 7th League Division 1 Championship. It was two points for a win in 1952-53 so we ended the season tied with Preston on 54 points each; we won based on goal average (Arsenal 1.516 – Preston 1.417) – goal average being the rule back then, not goal difference as it is today. (goal difference, Arsenal 33 – Preston 25)
We had reached the FA Cup Final in two of the previous three years, but in 1952-53 we lost to eventual winners Blackpool in the quarter-final.
Arsenal 1952-53 appearances: Daniel 41, Roper 41, Wade 40, Lishman 39, Forbes 33, Logie 32, L Smith 31, Goring 29, Mercer 28, Kelsey 25, Milton 25, Shaw 25, Holton 21, Swindin 14, Chenhall 13, Cox 9, Marden 8, Platt 3, Oakes 2, Bowen 2, Dodgin 1.
Arsenal 1952-53 goalscorers: Lishman 22, Holton 19, Roper 14, Goring 10, Logie 10, Milton 7, Daniel 5, Marden 4, Mercer 2, Cox 1, Forbes 1, Oakes 1, own goal 1.
Also that season… Stan Mortensen scored a hat-trick for Blackpool in the FA Cup final but the game was remembered for the contribution of his team mate, 38 year old Stanley Matthews. Blackpool beat Bolton 4-3 in the (Matthews) final, and Mortensen’s hat-trick remains the only one in a Wembley FA Cup final.
Tom Whittaker became the Arsenal club’s new manager in 1947.
During WW2 he was an Royal Air Force pilot and achieved the rank of Squadron Leader.
For his service in missions on D-Day, he was awarded an MBE.
Tom Whittaker’s league record –
Games 378, Won 171, Drawn 101, Lost 106,
Goals for 677, Goals against 509,
Goals for per game 1.79, Goals against per game 1.35
Points won 58.6%.
Average League Position 5.22
Total # of trophies won – 2 League titles, 1 FA Cup, 2 Charity Shields.
Sadly Tom passed away far too early from a heart attack in 1956, aged 58.
Written by GunnerN5