Arsenals Top Seasons 1933-34 – Our 6th Best

March 18, 2018

This was a season that was over-shadowed by the death of  Arsenal’s manager Herbert Chapman – he passed away of pneumonia on January 6, 1934. He was 55 at the time of his untimely death.

This is a short exert from GN5’s posts on Arsenal’s best managers.

Arsenal Football Club is open to receive applications for the position of Team Manager. He must possess the highest qualifications for the post, both as to ability and personal character. Gentlemen whose sole ability to build up a good side depends on the payment of heavy and exorbitant transfer fees need not apply.”

 Herbert Chapman moved to Arsenal soon after, attracted both by Arsenal’s larger crowds and a salary of £2,000, double what he earned at Huddersfield Town. Arsenal’s league form was indifferent but in 1927 they reached the FA Cup Final losing 1–0 to Cardiff City. That same year, Arsenal became embroiled in a scandal over illegal footballers’ pay. Sir Henry Norris was indicted for his part and banned from football, but Chapman escaped punishment.

 He showed his cunning during negotiations held in a hotel when looking to buy David Jack from Bolton. Chapman met with the barman and gave him two pounds and then said “This is my assistant Mr Wall; he will drink whiskey and dry ginger, I will drink gin and tonic. Our guests will drink whatever they choose but you will give them double of everything while Mr. Wall’s drinks and mine will contain no liquor.” His cunning worked as Arsenal paid 3,000 pounds less than Bolton had first asked.

 He went on to establish Arsenal as English footballs dominate force and his football concepts and ideas served as a template for teams and managers all over the globe. He won the first trophy for the club winning the FA Cup in 1930. His 1930/31 team scored an incredible 127 goals – still a club record. He championed innovations such as floodlighting, European competitions and numbered shirts.

 Herbert Chapman’s league record –

Games 336, Won 157, Drawn 84, Lost 95,

Goals for 736, Goals against 541,

Goals for per game 2.19, Goals against per game 1.61

Points won 59.3%

Average League Position 6.25

Total # of trophies won – 2 League titles, 1 FA Cup, 3 Charity Shields.

A bronze bust of Herbert Chapman was crafted by Sir Jacob Epstein and was commissioned and paid for by 12 of Chapman’s friends shortly before he died in 1934.

In June 2006 the bust was temporarily removed and two exact replicas were made by Morris Singer Art Founders in Braintree, Essex. One of the replicas now resides in the Diamond Club entrance at Emirates Stadium, and the other was presented to Chapman’s former team, Huddersfield Town in 2008 to commemorate their centennial. This bust is housed in the entrance to the Galpharm Stadium.

The original bust was returned to Highbury and forms part of the concierge entrance in the Grade II-Listed East Stand to the Highbury Square development.

courtesy Tessa Heywood

On the same day as Chapman’s death Arsenal played Sheffield Wednesday in a top of the table battle. As word filtered around the crowd of 34, 000 inside Highbury they became increasingly subdued. The players wore black armbands and 4 trumperters played “The Last Post” as the crowd stood to attention. Six of Chapman’s favourite players – Jack, Hulme, Hapgood, Lambert, Bastin and James carried his cofffin at the funeral. The card on the teams’ wreath read “To the boss from the players. Our hearts are sad and our hopes are well-nigh shattered, but your inspiration, memory, and affection remain ours forever”

Reserve manager Joe Shaw was given temporary control of the team for the rest of the season and they  managed a 1-1 draw against Sheffied Wednesday – but proceeded to lose the following 3 games after which they recovered and won nine of the following 11 league matches.

With David Jack moving on, Arsenal had signed a replacement for the talented forward in Ted Drake, who joined the club from Southampton in the latter stages of 1933-34 for  £ 6,500. Other new faces such as Jack Crayston and Wilf Copping also arrived. Cliff Bastin, George Male, James and Roberts were still there, as was goalkeeper Frank Moss, although Alex James had started to become injury prone.

The title was wrapped up with a game to spare,  for the second consecutive season Arsenal clinched the title at Stamford Bridge. Alex James and Cliff Bastin netted to give Arsenal the single point they needed in a 2-2 draw with Chelsea on April 28, 1934.

Bastin and Ray Bowden shared the top goalscorer honours that season, with just 13 league goals each. George Male was the only ever-present throughout the campaign, having been successfully converted to a right back by Chapman.

Some trivia.

The Dionne sisters, the first quintuplets to survive beyond infancy, were born in Canada. Two of the quints Annette and Cecile are still alive today at the age of 84.

Drake, a legend at Arsenal for his 1930s goal scoring feats, was also the first Chelsea manager to win the Championship. His 1955 triumph was the only time the Blues won the League before they became steeped in oil money.

Written by GunnerN5


Arsenal – England’s Longest Top Flight Team

February 6, 2018

By 1919 the Football League was gearing up for the return of the national game after the trials and tribulations of the First World War. It was proposed that the First Division be extended to include 22 teams rather than the 20 which had competed 4 years previously. On previous League expansions, teams who had sat in the relegation positions stayed up and two were added from Divison Two. With such a large gap between the cessation of League football because of the Great War and its resumption in 1919, normal rules did not apply.

The 1914/5 season had ended in dubious circumstances. There had been allegations that Manchester United and Liverpool had colluded to ensure that the red Mancs would not be relegated. Their final game was allegedly fixed, United winning 2-0 and thus condemning 19th placed Chelsea to the second relegation spot.

Liverpool chairman John McKenna, wracked with guilt at the League’s resumption, gave a speech at the League’s AGM insisting that the West London club remain in the top flight.  Preston and Derby had finished first and second in the promotion places at the end of the 1914/5 season. It was unanimously agreed that Chelsea, Preston and Derby would be in the new First Division.

This left one position in the new 22 team First Division up for grabs. Seven contenders emerged, the five teams who had finished 3rd to 7th in the 1915 League Division Two table, Barnsley, Wolves, Birmingham, Arsenal and Hull , Nottingham Forest (for some bizarre reason) who had finished 18th in Division Two and finally and by every means least, Tottenham Hotspurs, who had ignominiously finished bottom in Division One behind Chelsea.

A formal vote was held at the League meeting of March 10th 1919 and the results, as documented in the minutes, were as follows;

Arsenal 18, Tottenham Hotspur 8, Barnsley 5, Wolves 4, Nottingham Forest 3, Birmingham 2, Hull 1

Arsenal Football Club’s inherent glamour and prestige appeared to be major overriding factors in the result, most seeing how beneficial it would be to the top flight to include such attractive opposition.  Accusations of vote-influencing bribery are, of course, preposterous; Sir Henry Norris was of far too upstanding a character to stoop to such levels. Judging by how unpopular Spurs were at the time, it is remarkable that they even managed to gather 8 votes. For years there had been a festering of resentment against Tottenham Hotspur because of their delayed entry to the Football League right up until 1908, favouring the Southern League previously. There were even allegations that they had had to bribe their way into the Football League by offering financial inducements to Stoke City to resign.

Perhaps teams in the First Divison had just become tired of trudging across Tottenham Marshes to get to White Hart Lane?

Perhaps it was recognised that a proper London Club, rather than one from the swamps of South Middlesex would be more fitting in the top flight in the new period of post-war optimism?

Middlesex in green, Essex in blue, the County of London in white

Thus began Arsenal’s glorious and long-enduring run in the top flight of English football.

Long may it continue.

Arsenals Top Seasons 1988-1989 Our (last gasp) 11th Best

November 10, 2017

Eighteen years we waited for this to happen – eighteen very, very long and difficult years and we fans were wondering if it would ever happen again. Our last First Division Championship win had been in 1970-71 when, under Bertie Mee, we won the First Division and FA Cup double. However Arsenal being Arsenal they made winning this First Division Championship as difficult as they possibly could by waiting until the players had the last gasps of air in their lungs.

Following, is a game by game accounting of our 1988-89 season alongside Liverpool games. The GD Total column is accumulated goal difference, the Point’s Total column is accumulated points and the Arsenal Diff column is accumulated points difference between the two teams.

The season started off brightly with a 5-1 away win at Wimbledon and we won six of the first ten games, drew two and lost two games – one to a very poor Aston Villa at Highbury. This left us five points ahead of Liverpool and with a superior goal difference of seven.

The next ten games saw us win seven, draw two and lose just one to Derby, while Liverpool won four, drew four and lost two, so after 20 games we had a lead of twelve points and a better goal difference of sixteen.

We faltered badly in the next ten games winning only four, drawing four and losing two.

Liverpool went unbeaten winning eight and drawing two. Now they were only two points behind us and trailed by one on goal difference, setting up a tight race over the final eight games.

Arsenal drew the next game against Manchester United at Old Trafford while Liverpool beat Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 this left us tied on points and Liverpool three ahead on goal difference. We then won the next four games putting us ahead by three points and three goals with just three games to play. Little did we know how important our 5-0 home win against Norwich on May 1st would become? We only got one point from our next two games losing again to Derby and scraping a point against Wimbledon, while Liverpool won both games taking the Division one lead over us by three points and three goals for the first time since game six. Liverpool beating West Ham 5-1 in their penultimate game was a rapier-like riposte to our caning of Norwich.

Liverpool had only lost two home games all season with the last occasion being on December 17th 1988 and Arsenal had the unenviable task of having to go to Anfield and beat them by two clear goals.

A peak British television audience of over 12 million saw a first half of few chances as Arsenal successfully nullified Liverpool. Striker Alan Smith scored from a header as play resumed in the second half, but as the game drew to a close with the score 1–0, Arsenal needed a second goal to be crowned champions. In stoppage time, Arsenal’s Thomas made a run through the Liverpool midfield and scored a last-minute goal, in the process denying Liverpool the chance of a second League and Cup double.

The season ended with Liverpool and Arsenal tied on Wins, Draws, Losses, Points and Goal Difference so the First Division winner had to be decided on goals for and Arsenal had outscored Liverpool by 8 goals – 73 to 65.

1988-89 – Season trivia

Chelsea won the Second Division and Manchester City were runners up.

Twelve of the twenty teams in the First Division in 1988-89 namely – Nottingham Forest 3rd, Norwich City 4th, Derby County 5th, Coventry City 7th, Queens Park Rangers 9th, Millwall 10th, Wimbledon 12th, Charlton Athletic 14th, Sheffield Wednesday 15th, Luton Town 16th, Aston Villa 17th and Middlesbrough 18th – are not in the current Premier League.

May 6th 1989  Liverpool v Arsenal  0-2 (att: 41,783)

Scorers:  Smith (52), Thomas (90+1)
Arsenal Team: Lukic, Dixon, Winterburn, Thomas, O’Leary, Adams, Rocastle, Richardson, AM Smith, Bould (P Groves), Merson (Hayes)

Written by GunnerN5