Arsenal’s Century Club – Reg Lewis

Nineteen players have achieved the feat of scoring 100 goals for the Club over the past 96 years. The players are sorted by the number of games taken to reach the 100 goal mark. Reg Lewis sits at number 5.

Reginald (Reg) Lewis was born in Bilston on 7th March 1920. He played local football for Nunhead and Dulwich Hamlet Juniors before joining Arsenal as a professional in March 1937.

Lewis scored on his debut against Everton on 1st January 1938. He joined a team that included Cliff Bastin, Eddie Hapgood, George Male, Ted Drake, Leslie Jones, George Swindin, George Hunt, Bernard Joy, Alf Kirchen, Leslie Compton and Dennis Compton.

However, as Lewis was only 18 and Ted Drake was the first-team centre-forward, and so he was only given four games in the 1937-38 season. The following season he created a club record by scoring 43 goals in 31 games for the reserves. He also scored 7 goals in 15 first-team appearances.

In 1945 Lewis was a member of the British Army of the Rhine in Occupied Germany; he continued to play for Arsenal and shone as a natural goal scorer; although wartime appearances and goals are not officially counted, he scored 143 goals in 130 games, including four in the 1943 War Cup Southern Final, in a 7-1 demolition of Charlton Athletic.

Towards the end of the war he served in the British Army of the Rhine in Occupied Germany, but returned to play for Arsenal once first-class football resumed in 1946. Although most of the Arsenal side of the 1930s were past their best by this time, Reg was still only 26 and he continued to be a regular in the first team throughout the remainder of the 1940s.

He was the club’s top scorer in 1946-47 with 29 goals this included a hat-trick against Preston North End and four against Grimsby Town. Jeff Harris, the author of Arsenal Who’s Who, argues: “His ability and knack of scoring goals were attributed to his fine positional sense when finding space in the box as well as being cool, calm and collected.”

The following season (1947-48), he partnered new signing Ronnie Rooke and between them they scored 47 goals as Arsenal won the First Division title; however, Lewis suffered from a series of injuries that year but still scored 14 goals in 28 games.

In the first game I watched at Highbury on November 22nd 1947 – GN5 was fortunate to see Reg Lewis play. Also playing that day were – Jimmy Logie, Wally Barnes, Les Compton, Ronnie Rooke, Don Roper and Doug Lishman. Rooke and Logie both scored in a 2-0 win over Huddersfield)

Despite only playing 25 games in the 1948-49 season he still ended up as top scorer with 16 goals. In the 1949-50 season Lewis scored 19 goals in 31 games. He also scored both goals in Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Liverpool in the 1950 FA Cup Final.

During the early 1950s, Lewis became constantly afflicted with injuries, and he made only 12 appearances in 1951-52 and none at all in 1952-53. In the close season of 1953, he retired from the game at the age of 33. After retiring he first ran a pub and then worked in insurance.

His tally of 118 in 176 first-team games puts him 13th in the all-time list but his total figure from 1935 to 1953 was a staggering 392 in 451 matches (an incredible .87 goals per game. His finest hour came in the 1950 FA Cup final, when he scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Liverpool.

Reg scored his 100th goal for Arsenal against Huddersfield, at their Leeds Road ground, on January 20, 1951.

click to see expanded image

Reg passed away in his 77th year in1997.

GunnerN5

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40 Responses to Arsenal’s Century Club – Reg Lewis

  1. chas says:

    Many thanks, GN5.

    We really are getting into the territory of strikers who hit the ground running when they came into the first team. a hundred goals in a 150 games – simply stunning.

  2. LBG says:

    Thanks GN5
    Reg Lewis was certainly one of our Dad’s favourite players after he was demobbed. A classic striker.

  3. Sue says:

    👍 GN5… delighted to see that we beat Liverpool in the FA Cup final!! What a player Reg was, by the sound of it..

    Ooh this time next week… will we be waking up with the mother of all hangovers (after celebrating victory) or will we be inconsolable?? Or heck (or hic 😂) we might even still be on that all night bender 🍻 😆

  4. Big Raddy says:

    Marvellous read.

    392 in 451 is astonishing. Had the war not affected the records of Mr. Lewis he would be considered one of football’s best ever strikers alongside Dixie Dean and Jimmy Greaves.

  5. GoonerB says:

    Thanks GN5. I really feel your posts have improved my Arsenalisation as a fan. I never realised we had so many top strikers go through the club from the bygone eras.

    GN5, you will know better than most when comparing the modern era to the bygone era (not sure where that dividing line should fall). It is never easy to compare great sports people from different eras, however, would it be fair to say that at some point defence in football became a greater priority, and that after that point it was more difficult to find the space and time to get shots on goal than before. Maybe teams made defending more of an art form and placed increasing importance on it to win games and a championship?

    I ask this because there seems to be a trend developing between the different eras. For me, the fellow at 11 still remains the greatest we have had, but he is at 11. However, in the GPG stat he would currently be 3rd, but all those above him or close to him in that stat never had any European endeavors to speak of, where I would say it is probably a bit tougher to score at a prolific rate.

    I’ve just done a quick check (may have got it wrong) but if you remove the European factor and only look at domestic Arsenal games then I believe the chap at 11 jumps to the top of the GPG stat.

    Would be interested in your thoughts.

  6. RA says:

    It goes without saying GN5 that you have scored another winner with this Post.

    I have to admit to my ignorance of Reg Lewis, but clearly he was a terrific goal scorer, and even tho GB has pointed out that the skill standards were different in each era, so were the support teams of pyhsios, doctors, technologies etc, and these records for the olden days still have merit in their own right.

    I understand many players, pre-the 1970s turned out to play carrying injuries as they needed the pretty miserly wages they were paid, and the FA Laws were more laxly applied by the referees, as ‘men – were supposed to be men – and were just expected to get on with it.

    For me these records were a fair record of football prowess, and a goal was a goal in each era – and the table does not lie.

    (Where have I heard that before?) 🥺

  7. Sue says:

    A whole year ago today, UE became our head coach!! Doesn’t time fly, I would say when you’re having fun.. but I’m not sure you can call high blood pressure, palpitations & 90 minutes of a nervous disposition every week, fun!! 😂😂

  8. Big Raddy says:

    Sue. It has certainly been a bumpy ride so far but I feel we have advanced. Whether the cost of that advance has been worth it is a moot point

  9. Sue says:

    BR… yes, in all honesty, I’m quite happy with the job he’s done.. and I’m certainly excited about next season!
    Maybe I over-exaggerated a little, I just blow into a paper bag in the first half, then watch through the crack in the door in the 2nd half 🤣

  10. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning all,

    This was the period when I became a regular at Highbury, and having no money that was quite a challenge.

    My thoughts on the differences between then and now are extensive and difficult to summarize in a comment,.

  11. GunnerN5 says:

    RA,

    I’ve only seen 13 of the 19 players but through family discussions I was fully aware of them all.

    Back in the day injuries were simply an inconvenience and with no substitutes allowed you got your arse up and continued to play.

  12. GunnerN5 says:

    GB,

    Later on today I’ll post a listing showing only goals per league games.

    I’ve checked the league stats for Reg Lewis and TH14

    Lewis

  13. GoonerB says:

    In a post then GN5 🙂

    I am sure there are many differences in many senses, some good some bad. I was quite interested in your take, at some point, and others who watched from further back as to whether there was a shift in the attention to the defensive side of the game. I honestly wouldn’t have a clue.

  14. GunnerN5 says:

    Oops..

    Reg Lewis – 103 goals in 154 games .67GPG
    Thierry Henry

  15. GunnerN5 says:

    Oh boy I keep hitting the wrong key………………..

    Thierry Henry – 175 goals in 288 games .61GPG

  16. GunnerN5 says:

    Chas it was great watching the video of the 1950 FA Cup, we never had a TV back then so the family were crowded around the (crackling) wireless listening to the game – it turned into a very happy party.

  17. allezkev says:

    Great post again GN5, that 1947/48 team was the oldest to win the English Championship.
    Reg was one of my Dads favourite players, he was certain that he smiled for the cameras as he scored a goal.
    He met him at Liverpool St Stn back in the 1980’s and spent a delightful hour on the train with him recalling the football of the 40’s&50’s.

  18. GunnerN5 says:

    I would have liked to have been on that train ride allezkev, it must have been a very entertaining conversation.

  19. allezkev says:

    I’m afraid I can’t recall what was said GN5, but my Dad said all the great memories came flooding back and that Reg was a gentleman.

  20. LBG says:

    GN5 2.09
    Having sold the majority of our Fathers’ hundreds of programmes, I have retained one or two specials to hand on to my son and grandson.
    Probably the most valuable is the 1950 Cup Final, with Dad’s ticket for the game inside.

  21. GunnerN5 says:

    LBG.

    That’s interesting, I just love looking through old programmes.

    I have the entire set for our 1970-71 double winning season – I wonder how much they are worth?

  22. LBG says:

    Given the difficulty with selling programmes that are post Second World War in origin, even to the real specialists, I would feel you might achieve £1000, GN5.

  23. Big Raddy says:

    Gn5. I had the same – all the programmes for ’70-71 plus a ticket for the final and my season ticket. Tried to sell it on Ebay and was surprised how little people would bid for them.

    In the end I sold my entire collection of over 500 programmes (almost all AFC) to a dealer for about 600 USD. I had the ’66 WC programme, many Cup Finals and Internationals and quite a few were signed by the players.

    I don’t regret the sale, I no longer read them and they were sitting in the attic. Perhaps they would fetch more today but I doubt it.

  24. Big Raddy says:

    €1000 !! I got stiffed …

  25. LBG says:

    The problem is Raddy, the specialists have all the post 1945 programmes already because so many were produced.
    The most valuable in Dad’s collection were single sheet, very fragile, pre War ones and they are much sort after.
    Our Dad had all the used Season ticket booklets from 1958 to end of Highbury era. The specialists who visited me bought them all because he had one missing 1961, and told me afterwards he would have doubled what he gave me to get that one. Thanks!
    GN5’s collection would need to be sold to a fanatic of that double season, possibly connected to the Club, and not a specialist collector as you probably sold to.
    Your experience is I’m afraid the norm.

  26. RA says:

    In case some have not read the following rumour/report, here it is;

    —– “Many Arsenal fans were expecting/hoping that the club would move Shkodran Mustafi on this summer and they might still. He’s under contract until 2021 so they will either sell him or give him a new deal.

    We can but hope it is the former.

    Until the club decide what to do, the player has made it clear he’s going nowhere.

    In an interview with Kicker, the German said, “I do not know where these messages come from. It’s funny, I’ve been here for almost three years, and after half a year, it was speculated that I would change soon.”

    His contract runs until 2021. Oh, great.

  27. GunnerN5 says:

    Oh dear, that’s bad news RA.

    My issue with him is his inconsistency and his awful habit of gifting goals to our opponents. I would prefer to see him traded or at least become a substitute.

  28. Sue says:

    Great! Cheers RA… going to need 2 years worth of valium then 😄

  29. GunnerN5 says:

    LBG/Raddy,

    I feel the same as you did Raddy – why keep them – just some nostalgia really.

    LBG,

    The oldest programme I have is of Arsenal v Derby County at Highbury on December 25th 1948. It is on 3 pages of plain paper, but unfortunately it is a photo copy of the original and I only have 2 of the 3 pages.

  30. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Excellent GN5

    Reg Lewis is an absolute legend. Goal scorer, war hero, and a gentleman. If Hitler had known that war with Britain meant taking on great era Arsenal players, he wouldn’t have bothered.

    I don’t particularly like the idea of manifesting an other worldly entity, I still sleep with my teddy bear and a two foot long crucifix, but if I were to be haunted it would be someone like Reg. A visitation by the likes of Oliver Cromwell, Richard the Third or David Pleat would terrify, but somehow the name Reg doesn’t hold the same fears.

    I particularly fear a visitation from a still alive Pleat.

    The story of Reg and many others of his era is what epitomises Arsenal and the main reason why I am proud to follow this great club.

  31. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    I know Mustafi is a bit crap but I have a bit of a soft spot for him. Any one who plays like he’s capable of head butting himself is alright with me.

  32. RA says:

    Terry, darling, you are still incorrigible, and as far sleeping with your teddy bear, it is the height of ill manners not to ask the poor bear first!

    Le Coq has his eye on you!! 🤪

  33. Sue says:

    Watching the final of the premier league darts (on tv) who do they show in the crowd? Robin bloody Van Persie 😬😬 my night is ruined

  34. Sue says:

    GN5.. not sure if you saw it or not, but MVG won the premier league, beating Rob Cross 11-5… What a player!!

  35. Sue says:

    We were supposed to be playing a friendly today against LASK Linz, at London Colney…

  36. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Sue,

    I watched it while I was playing scrabble with my wife, it was too one sided and not the least bit exciting. I was rooting for James Wade but he got out played by Rob Cross.

  37. Sue says:

    MVG is the player to beat right now & I can’t see that changing anytime soon, hey GN5!

  38. chas says:

    NEW POST

  39. LB says:

    You guys do a first class job

  40. Jomki says:

    Nice article.. well informed.

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