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

June 6, 2014

 

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.

GunnerN5

 


A Blast from the Past No. 11 The birth of the FA and International Football

April 26, 2014

The early years 1872 – 1900

C. W. Alcock, one of the founder members of The Football Association in 1863, was one of football’s visionaries. He was the inspiration for both the FA Cup and the annual fixture between England and Scotland, these two events sparked a huge interest in the game and it spread quickly, firstly through Britain, followed by Europe, Africa and then to South America and beyond. Due to his imagination football quickly became a national obsession and by the early 1900’s numerous clubs had been formed in the heart of the country’s industrial communities. Prior to Alcock’s vision, football played outside of the country’s top public schools was considered to be no more than a loose and disorganised riot.

The England – Scotland fixture was drawing crowds of 100,000 and spawned debates over team selection and tactics both before and after the games. His idea for the annual fixture came after he witnessed the enormous interest aroused by rugby’s first international between the two countries in 1872 and he saw the publicity potential in a Football Association equivalent. However his announcement of the fixture, in the FA minutes of October 3rd 1872, did not indicate any real excitement – it read;

“In order to further the interests of the Association in Scotland, it was decided that a team should be sent to Glasgow to represent England”

England Scotland scrum 1878 001

Following the first international game football boomed in Scotland and many new clubs came into existence. The associations intention was for them to teach and for Scotland to learn but in the first ten matches England were humiliated by Scotland only winning twice in the first ten games including losing 6-1 in 1881 and 5-1 in 1882 – and to compound their dismay they only won four of the first twenty fixtures. The Scottish Football association secretary Robert Livingstone did not like the English dribbling game, he thought it was suicidal and instead he adopted the tactic of kicking the ball up the field and running after it and it proved to be very successful. The popularity of the annual fixture was encapsulated in an article which appeared in Bells Life prior to the 1878 match.

“All available conveyances were picked up long before two o’clock and a continuous stream of hansoms, dog carts and buses kept pouring their living freight to the foot of Hamden Hill…every inch of the locality was covered by spectators, In some places, it was packed like herrings in a barrel, but the majority bore it with Christian resignation”

English team -1890 001

The English Football Association Team, 1890

1900 – 1914

The dawn of the twentieth century did nothing to change England’s fortunes Scotland subjected them to a 4-1 pounding at Parkhead. The Football Sun reported;

“As soon as the gates were swung open people flocked in and the long wait was enlivened by patriotic songs, not to mention the whisky”

Two years later football suffered its first major crowd disaster during the England- Scotland game at Ibrox when a stand collapsed. It left 25 dead and hundreds injured but most of the crowd were unaware of the catastrophe in their midst. Early reports indicated that there were only a few injuries so the decision was made to continue with the game to avoid widespread panic. The stand was new and Ibrox had an official capacity of 80,000 but it was estimated that over 100,000 were in the ground – which led to the disaster. The original game ended in a 1-1 tie and was later downgraded to a “friendly”. It was replayed at Birmingham a month later and ended 2-2 with the gate proceeds going towards the disaster fund.

Between the turn of the century and the start of WW1 Scotland continued to be England’s only real competition of the 53 official internationals England lost just 7 games, 5 to Scotland and 2 to Ireland.  The 1909 Home Championship came within a whisker of being cancelled due to industrial unrest across England. The Players Union affiliated itself to the General Federation of Trade Unions and strike action in support of the miners threatened to bring the country to a standstill.

With just days left before the matches were due to begin the Players Union issued a statement announcing that “England would play and do their utmost to win” This was interpreted to mean that the team contemplated deliberately losing. The FA insisted that the players sign a statement declaring their determination to win. England went on to win the Championship without conceding a goal.

England players in 1911 001

England players conferring during a match in 1911

1919 – 1939

The 1920’s were an unsuccessful decade in England’s history. Following WW1 England, and other allied football associations, made the decision not to play against Germany, Austria or Hungary or any other country that agreed to play against their former enemies. This decision was shelved, two years later, when it became apparent that there was no reasonable opposition left to play against. But despite this change of heart England’s only foreign opponents were Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Sweden.

The 1930,s began promisingly with a triumph in the Victory International over Scotland; the game was played in appalling conditions and England’s team, nine of whom had seen service in WW1, found themselves 4-2 down at half time.  But in the second half, despite the continuous downpour, they turned the game around and won 5-4. Andrew Ducat, a member of the English team, died while batting at Lord’s during WW2. The win proved to be only a brief respite for England as they only won 6 of the next 17 games against Scotland during this period and had to wait until 1930 to win their first Home Championship since 1913.

Everton’s Dixie Dean played his first game for England against Wales on February 12th, 1927.  In the 1927/28 season he scored an astonishing 60 league goals, including a hat trick against Arsenal in the last match of the season, a record that is unlikely ever to be broken

Dixie Dean 001

England had a habit of stepping up their performances in important games and this showed in games against Italy and Germany. The match against Italy in 1934 was dubbed “The Battle of Highbury” it proved to be so violent that The FA seriously considered ending its participation in international football. Italy were the reigning World Champions and Italian newspapers called it the most important football game played anywhere in the World since the Great War.

An ankle injury to Italy’s Monti after just 3 minutes sparked a match of unrelenting violence. Centre- forward Ted Drake one of 7 Arsenal players in the line up, was punched on the chin early on and Captain Eddie Hapgood suffered a broken nose after a deliberate elbow flattened him. England went up 3-0 and after the game Hapgood recalled that the Italians started to hit everything in sight and fought back to 3-2. Arsenal’s Wilf Copping was in his element, he was considered to be the “hardest” man to ever pull on an England Shirt. His specialty was the, then legal, two footed lunge and he shoulder charged and tackled with ferocious enthusiasm. He more than any other player saved the day for England when their goal was under siege and they hung on for a famous, but ugly, victory.

England vs Italy 001

England’s Captain Eddie Hapgood wasn’t smiling after his nose was broken.

England faced Germany on May 15th, 1938 amidst a growing tension between the two nations, like Mussolini, Hitler’s Nazi re3gime understood the symbolic power of sport and the game against Engald provided an ideal arena for their propaganda machine.

110,000 spectators greeted the players in Berlin’s Olympic stadium amid a mass of red swastika flags with just the odd Union Jack.

Amid a storm of controversy back home English diplomats had agreed that the English team would give the Nazi raised arm salute. Captain Eddie Hapgood later reflected;

“I’ve been in a shipwreck, a train crash and inches short of a plane crash but the worst day of my life was giving the Nazi salute in Berlin”

Hitler was desperate for a symbolic victory over the mother country of football but the German team proved to be no match for Stanley Matthews and company and England ran out 6-3 winners.

England vs Germany 001

Action from the game in Olympic stadium May 15th, 1938

More to come………..

GunnerN5

 


Vote for your favourite defenders from Arsenal’s early era.

June 15, 2013

Today you get to pick defenders from our first era of defenders. The articles published on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week provided in depth profiles on our best defenders spanning from Percy Sands in 1902 to Bob McNab who played up to 1975.

To provide a broader picture of readers’ preferences, you can vote for up to 3 players in this poll.

As others have commented through the week these players have all served the club well, okay Peter Storey may have had a bit of a dubious post playing career but you cannot deny that had you been lucky enough to pull on the red and white that you would have loved to have him alongside you.

Or what about Eddie Hapgood, quite possibly the original Mr Arsenal or was that Joe Shaw who served the club for so many years so loyally and by all accounts successfully.

Hapgood could be seen as the prototype for what players today have become, supplementing his then maximum wage with advertising deals etc.

My personal favourite Walley Barnes, to come back from serious injury which many believed he would not return from he managed to forge a successful career with the club lifting a trophy along the way.

This is the first era of defenders from which you have to vote, the more recent players come next week.

Written by GunnerN5, compiled by Gooner in Exile


Arsenal’s Greatest Defenders – Day 2

June 12, 2013

Day 2 of this week where we look at the defenders in our Summer series of articles in search of Arsenal’s greatest ever team. Don’t forget to take the opportunity to choose your personal favourite defender by voting in the poll at the end of the week.

4. Bob John: 1922 – 1937

Bob appeared in 470 games over a 15 year period.

gun__1341823148_john_bobBorn 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 made his debut for Wales against Scotland on 17 March 1923; going on to gain fifteen caps.

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.

In all he played in 470 games for Arsenal, the most of any of Arsenal’s pre-WW11 players which places him eighth on the all time list.

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

He passed away in 1982 aged 83 years.

5. Herbie Roberts: 1926-1937

Herbie played in 335 games over an 11 year period.

Born in Oswestry, Shropshire, he first played as an amateur for his local club Oswestry, while also working in the police force.  He played as a right half, and was signed by Herbert Chapman in 1926 for £200, then turning professional. He made his debut against Aston Villa in April 1927, but only played in a handful of games during his first two seasons.

gun__1340799849_roberts_herbieChapman converted him to a centre half replacing Jack Butler in that position. In the revolutionary new “WM” formation pioneered by Chapman and Arsenal captain Charlie Buchan, he became the tall “stopper” centre half in the middle of defence; at that time this was a new tactic, created in response to the relaxation of the offside law in 1925. Herbie was often abused and pilloried by opposition fans for what they saw as his overly negative play.

He now started to feature more regularly for Arsenal but he missed out on the FA Cup Final in 1930 due to an injury. However, from the next season on he was the undisputed first-choice centre-half at the club, making over 30 appearances for each season up until 1936-37, winning four First Division titles, and finally, an FA Cup medal in 1935-36, after also playing in the side that lost the final in 1931-32. In 1931 he also won a cap for England, against Scotland.

He was forced to retire early on in the 1937-38 season, when he broke his leg in a match against Middlesbrough. Arsenal won the First Division title for a fifth time, in 1937-38, but Herbie had only played 13 matches that season, one short of the minimum required for a medal at the time. In all he played 335 matches for Arsenal, scoring 5 goals.

Upon retiring he worked as a trainer for Arsenal’s reserve side. When WW11 broke out, he served as a lieutenant in the Royal Fusiliers; he died from erysipelas, while on duty at the age of 39. Herbie was the most famous of the nine Arsenal players who died during WW11.

6. Eddie Hapgood: 1927-1945.

Eddie appeared in 440 games over an 18 year period, including WW11.

Eddie Hapgood Highbury web007He 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. During the war he fell out of favour with the Arsenal management and he was loaned out to Chelsea, eventually leaving under a dark cloud.

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 tenth on the all time list.

He passed away on Good Friday 1973 aged 64 years.

Witten by GunnerN5, compiled by Gooner In Exile