1932-33 turned out to be the final full season that our inspirational and creative manger Herbert Chapman would manage Arsenal; he passed away from pneumonia in January 1934. He had been instrumental in many innovations at Arsenal including getting the local underground station, Gillespie Road renamed to Arsenal, and he also introduced the now famous white sleeves in a match against Liverpool in March 1933.
Arsenal was the outstanding team in the Football League, early on in the 1932/33 season they battled with Leeds United for the leadership of the First Division. On Boxing Day 1932 Leeds travelled to Highbury, at the time they were six points adrift of Arsenal in the League standings and they shocked the Arsenal crowd by beating Arsenal by 2-1, Charlie Keetley scored both goals in front of a huge 55,876 crowd, Joe Hulme scored the only Arsenal goal. This set the scene for the very next day, when they played the return fixture at Elland Road where the crowd of the previous day was exceeded and a new record attendance for Elland Road was set at 56,796. For safety reasons the gates were locked causing hundreds who were locked out to climb up on nearby house roofs as well as the Peacock Public House and various vantage points along Beeston Hill in order to get a glimpse of the action. Victory would have strengthened Leeds United’s championship hopes but they were held to a goal-less draw by the star-studded Gunners after which they faded away and by the end of the season they were in eighth position, 14 points adrift of Arsenal.
Arsenal went on to take the Football League Championship and were so dominant and overwhelming that they went on to become only the second team in Football League history to complete a treble by winning the Championship again in 1933-34 and 1934-35, Huddersfield Town had been the first team to achieve the feat by winning Championships in 1923-4, 1924-25, 1925-26. The Arsenal squad included many famous names including Frank Moss; George Male, Eddie Hapgood, Frank Hill, Herbie Roberts, Bob John, Joe Hulme, David Jack, Tim Coleman, Jack Lambert, Alex James, Cliff Bastin, Wilf Copping, Ray Bowden and Ted Drake
The shock headline of the season was —
The Greatest FA Cup Shock In History: Arsenal Lose At Walsall On This Day, 14th January 1933
On the day Arsenal had fielded four reserve players two of whom had never played a First Division game and Arsenal ended up losing the game 2-0. One of the reserve players Tommy Black kicked a Walsall player and gave away a penalty when we were losing 1-0 the resulting goal made it 2-0. On the train back to London from the Midlands after the defeat, Herbert Chapman told Tommy Black that “he would never play for Arsenal again, as he had let our reputation down, and he need never come to the ground again, his boots would be sent round with the transfer forms”! Black was deputising on his first team debut for Eddie Hapgood he’d played 26 games for the reserves, but his Arsenal career was suddenly over.
Arsenal scored 118 goals in the season (2.8 per game) a total only exceeded by the 127 we scored in 1930-31 which included scores of 6-1 against Sunderland, 8-2 against Leicester, 9-2 against Sheffield United, 8-0 against Blackburn and on November 5th Arsenal travelled to play Wolves at Molineux Stadium and they lit up the skies by beating Wolves 7-1. Cliff Bastin scored 33 goals a record for a winger unlikely ever to be exceeded.