Arsenal’s Top Seasons – 1952-53, our 12th best

October 9, 2017

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)

Jimmy Logie sneaks in at the back post to score Arsenal’s third against Burnley 1st May 1953

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.

And – Marilyn Monroe graced the cover of first ever edition of Playboy magazine in December

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.

Arsenal Footballer (1931-52) Leslie Compton serving a pint to Tom Whittaker in Compton’s pub in Henley

Sadly Tom passed away far too early from a heart attack in 1956, aged 58.

Written by GunnerN5

 

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Arsenal’s Top 5 Managers

September 7, 2015

Throughout our history Arsenal has seen 19 different managers. I’m going to give a brief outline of my personal top five.

 

First up is Herbert Chapman (1925-1934)

 

Herbert Chapman

 

 

In the 1925 close season Sir Henry Norris placed the following advertisement in the Athletic News.

“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.”

He became our manager shortly after and remained as such for a short 8.5 seasons before his untimely death from pneumonia on January 6th 1934

He championed major innovations in football including floodlighting, numbered shirts and European competitions. He along with Charles Buchan created the famous WM formation which helped to transform Arsenal into one of the greats of English football.

Under his guidance we won our first major trophy, the 1930 FA Cup.

A bronze bust of Herbert Chapman is on proud display outside of the Emirates Stadium.

 

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.

 

Second we have George Allison (1934-1947)

 

George Allison

 

During WW1 he worked for the War Office and the Admiralty, producing propaganda, and later joined the Royal Fling Corps (later renamed the Royal air Force). After the war he moved into broadcasting, joining the BBC and becoming the first person to commentate on the radio on events such as The Derby and the Grand National, as well as the annual England v.Scotland international, and the 1927 FA Cup Final. By this time, he had already formed a strong association with Arsenal and he became the club’s programme editor, becoming a member of the board of directors soon after the end of the WW1; he was first club secretary and then managing director.

After the sudden death of Herbert Chapman in January 1934, he was appointed Chapman’s full-time successor, in the summer of that year. Arsenal had already won the League Championship twice in a row (1932-33 and 1933-34), and he made it a hat-trick, winning a third successive title in 1934-35.

He famously appeared in a 1939 movie that was set at Highbury, “The Arsenal Stadium Mystery”, where he had a speaking part as himself. Amongst his lines included one uttered at half time: “It’s one-nil to the Arsenal. That’s the way we like It.”, a line which had resonance with the team’s penchant for 1-0 score lines many decades later.

He passed away in 1957 after several years of illness.

George Allison’s league record –

Games 294, Won 137, Drawn 80, Lost 77,

Goals for 552, Goals against 345,

Goals for per game 1.88, Goals against per game 1.17

Points won 60.2%.

Average League Position 4.29

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

 

Thirdly we have Tom Whittaker (1947-1956)

 

Tom Whittaker

 

In 1919, after serving his country in World War I, he joined Arsenal, under manager Leslie Knighton. He first played as centre-forward then as wing-half, signing as a professional in January 1920 and making his debut in a 1–0 defeat away to West Bromwich Albion.

He toured Australia as part of the FA side in 1925, but during the tour, in a match in Wollongong he broke his knee cap and was forced to retire from playing. Following his injury he joined Arsenal’s coaching staff and also studied to become a physiotherapist. He became Arsenal’s first team trainer under Herbert Chapman in 1927, at the time, he was younger than many of the players. He assisted Chapman in transforming the training and physiotherapy regime at the club, and played a major part in the club’s successes during the 1930s.

After Herbert Chapman passed away in 1934, he continued to serve under his successor, George Allison while also becoming a trainer for the English National Team. With the advent of WW11 he began to work as an ARP warden, before becoming a pilot in the Royal Air Force where he achieved the rank of Squadron Leader. For his service in missions on D-Day, he was awarded an MBE.

When George Allison retired in 1947, he became the club’s new manager; after winning the League in 1947-48 and 1952-53 and the FA Cup in 1949-50, the club’s success waned. He tried, in vain, to attract major stars to the club, one being Stanley Matthews who said later – “I felt there was nothing to be gained by moving south, however I was very happy and politely turned down the offer”. “Such an approach was against the rules at the time and, consequently, I couldn’t tell anyone about it, and I never have until now.”

Sadly Tom passed away from a heart attack in 1956, aged 58.

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.

 

Our Fourth manager is George Graham (1986-1995)

 

GeorgeGraham_Double Trophy's

 

Arsenal, who had not won a trophy since the FA Cup in 1978–79, appointed him as their new manager in May 1986. Arsenal finished fourth in his first season in charge, and then went on to win the 1987 League Cup. His sides featured tight defensive discipline, embodied by Tony Adams, who along with Lee Dixon, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn, formed the basis of Arsenal’s famous defence for over a decade. However, his teams were not only about defence as he had more than capable midfielders such as David Rocastle, Michael Thomas and Paul Merson, plus striker Alan Smith, who regularly scored 20 plus goals per season. In (1988–89), Arsenal won their first League title since 1971.

In the final game of the season against Liverpool at Anfield; Arsenal needed to win by two goals to take the title; Alan Smith scored for Arsenal early in the second half to make it 1–0 and with only seconds to go Michael Thomas surging through the Liverpool defence and lifting the ball over Bruce Grobbelaar and into the net.

The 1994 Cup Winners’ Cup was his last trophy at the club; the following February he was sacked after nearly nine years in charge, after it was discovered he had accepted an illegal £425,000 payment from Norwegian agent Rune Hauge following Arsenal’s 1992 acquisition of John Jensen and Pål Lydersen, two of Hauge’s clients. George was eventually banned for a year by the Football Association for his involvement in the scandal, after he admitted he had received an “unsolicited gift” from Hauge.

George Graham’s league record –

Games 364, Won 167, Drawn 108, Lost 89,

Goals for 543, Goals against 327,

Goals for per game 1.49, Goals against per game .90

Points won = 55.6%.

Average League Position 5.11

Total # of trophies won – 2 League titles, 1 FA Cup, 2 League Cups, 1 Cup Winners Cup.

 

Finally we have our current manager Arsene Wenger (1996 – Present)

 

gun__1358326620_wenger_double1998

 

Arsene was born in Strasbourg, France and raised in Duttlenheim. He was introduced to football by his father, the manager of the local village team, however his playing career mostly as an amateur, was very modest.

In 1996, Arsene was appointed as the manager of Arsenal and two years later the club completed a league and FA Cup double. He led Arsenal to appearances in the 2000 UEFA Cup Final and 2001 FA Cup Final, and a second league and cup double in 2002. Arsenal retained the FA Cup in 2003 and a year later regained the league title, becoming the first club to go through an entire league season undefeated since Preston North End, 115 years previously. The team later eclipsed Nottingham Forest’s record of 42 league matches unbeaten and went seven more matches before losing in October 2004. Arsenal made their first appearance in a Champions League final in 2006, though they lost to Barcelona. During his tenure, Arsenal has moved to a new training centre and after 93 years at Highbury they relocated to the Emirates Stadium.

In February 1999, Arsene offered Sheffield United a replay of their FA Cup fifth round match immediately after the match had finished, due to the controversial circumstances in which it was won. The decisive goal was scored by Overmars after Kanu failed to return the ball to the opposition when it had been kicked into touch to allow Sheffield United’s Lee Morris to receive treatment for an injury, Arsenal went on to win the replay.

Under Arsene Wenger Arsenal hold the current British record for the most consecutive appearances in the Champions League with 2015-16 being their 20th consecutive, Man U held the previous record with 21 consecutive which stopped in 2013-14

In 2002 he was awarded France’s highest decoration, the Légion d’Honneur and was in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List of 2003. He has also received an honorary OBE for his service to football and was then inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2006. A commissioned bronze bust of Arsene was unveiled as a tribute to him at the club’s annual general meeting on 18 October 2007. An Arsenal fan and astronomer, Ian Griffin, named an asteroid, 33179 Arsènewenger. In January 2011, he was voted “World Coach of the Decade” by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics.

A bronze statue of Arsene Wenger is proudly displayed outside of the Emirates Stadium.

Arsene Wenger’s Premier league record –

Games 718, Won 416, Drawn 178, Lost 124,

Goals for 1348, Goals against 681,

Goals for per game 1.88, Goals against per game .95

Points won = 66.2%,

Average League Position 3.01,

Total # of trophies won – 3 League titles, 6 FA Cup, 6 Charity Shields.

Top 5 Managers

These are the records of my Top 5 Arsenal Mangers. If it were possible who would you choose to manage Arsenal today? (My choice will be a (well known) secret)

GunnerN5


An Arsenal Blast from the Past No.6 …… 1947/48 League Division 1 Championship

March 14, 2014

One night during WWII I was lying in bed when the room was suddenly lit up with a nearby searchlight coming on. Thinking it was a raid coming, I jumped out of bed and I started to get dressed. Looking out of the window, I saw dozens of searchlights sweeping the sky and waving backwards and forwards. I went into the front room where Mum and Dad had the radio on and they were just announcing the end of the war in Europe. Our next-door neighbour rushed in and everybody sat talking until the early hours of the morning. The next day nobody went to work and we had an impromptu party down at the corner of the road. People took cakes and sandwiches down to be shared out and a radiogram was fixed up to provide music for people to dance to.

Germany had officially surrendered and Londoners could now try to rebuild their damaged City and lives. Life was still very difficult, good jobs were scarce, food was still rationed, we still used Cow and Gate powered milk, and bomb sites were scattered all over town. But gradually life was returning to the streets and the daily fear of bombing raids, and having to dash to air raid shelters for safety, was now just a horrible memory.

The Arsenal ground in North London was not spared from war damage as the North Stand was extensively damaged by fire and the roof had collapsed, the South Stand terracing was also badly damaged and in need of repair. The debts from the construction of Highbury and the costs of repairing the war damage were a heavy financial burden, and Arsenal struggled when competitive football resumed. The war had cut short the careers of many of the club’s star players, including Bastin and Drake and nine of the pre-WW11 had been lost during the war.. They lost 6-1 on aggregate to West Ham United in the third round of the 1945-46 FA Cup, and upon the league’s resumption in 1946-47 the club finished a disappointing 13th.

allison_georgeAfter close to forty years with the Arsenal George Allison decided to retire from football at the end of that season, and was replaced by his assistant Tom Whittaker, who had been the clubs trainer under Herbert Chapman. So Tom Whittaker took over the reigns at Highbury with Joe Shaw joining him from Chelsea. Arsenal kicked off the1947/48 season with a 3-1 victory over Sunderland at Highbury, an ideal start for the new management team. Leslie Compton, the previous club Captain who had been playing cricket for Middlesex Cricket club, returned to Arsenal and they won the next six games. Joe Mercer had been Arsenal’s Captain in Compton’s absence but Whittaker felt that now Compton was back he should, once again, lead the team but Compton felt differently and persuaded him to keep Joe on as the clubs Captain.

1947 was a milestone year in the life of GunnerN5, I was nine years old and, for as long as I could remember I’d spent endless hour’s playing football on Avenell Road with my mates and kicking a rag football (made by my Mum) about and using the main gate into Highbury as our goal. We were in awe of all the grown ups as they streamed in and out of Highbury on Saturday afternoon’s and wished we had the few pennies it cost to get inside. The different noises coming from the ground always left us wondering what was happening inside but we always knew when the Gunners had scored as that caused the biggest roar of all.

My maternal Grandfather then changed my life and gave me the best present I have ever received, for my 10th birthday he took me to my very first Arsenal game it was November 22nd 1947 Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town and we won 2-0. My memories of the game are somewhat of a blur but we stood, in what was our family section under the Clock, (you see nobody ever told my Grandfather to move – he was a 6”5” local coalman and made of steel). I often feel that the young Paul Ashworth, in the movie “Fever Pitch”, was none other than a young GunnerN5 because after being inside Highbury for the first time there was nothing that was going to keep me out, lack of money, broken glass topped brick walls, turnstiles, stewards, were just mere obstacles to be overcome – I was hooked for life.

arsenal_champions_1947_1948

Tom Whittaker enjoyed immediate success with the club, winning the League in 1947-48; led by Captain Joe Mercer and with goals from the attacking front two of Reg Lewis and Ronnie Rooke, Arsenal topped the table from October and never looked back beating second place Manchester United by seven points. Given the age of the Arsenal side at the time (Rooke and Mercer were both over thirty, as were Denis and Leslie Compton), it was a remarkable achievement however long-term success was never on the cards. In response, Whittaker started to rebuild the team with younger players and brought in Doug Lishman, Alex Forbes and Cliff Holton.

In a remarkable family double Denis and Leslie Compton played alongside each other at football in Arsenal’s League Championship of 1947/48 and at cricket in Middlesex’s County Championship title in 1947.

The highest ever Football League attendance was on Saturday January 17th 1948 when a crowd of 83,260 watched Manchester United play Arsenal at Maine Road the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

gn5 table 2

gn5 table

GunnerN5


Arsenal’s Greatest Squad 1st Vote – Greatest Manager

June 1, 2013

This week GN5 has provided us with a review of our greatest ever managers, its been interesting reading and quite illuminating discovering things about our managers, I knew the names I knew some were physios becoming managers, but there was lots of info I had no clue about.

I have known five managers in my lifetime, Terry Neil, Don Howe, George Graham, Bruce Rioch and Arsene Wenger, only two feature in this poll, which makes voting difficult, but GN5 has given me much food for thought as to where my vote should go.

Below is a handy spreadsheet showing the statistical achievements of the candidates, numbers can’t show what the manager did for the club in other ways.

HC GA TW BM GG AW
# Games 336 294 378 420 364 638
Games Won 157 137 171 181 167 368
Games Drawn 84 80 101 115 108 161
Games Lost 95 77 106 124 89 109
Goals For 736 552 677 554 543 1206
Goals For per Game 2.19 1.88 1.79 1.32 1.49 1.89
Goals Against 541 345 509 444 327 601
Goals Against per Game 1.61 1.17 1.35 1.06 0.90 0.94
% of Points Won 59.3 60.2 58.6 56.8 55.6 66.1
League Titles 2 3 2 1 2 3
FA Cups 1 1 1 1 1 4
League Cups 0 0 0 0 2 0
European Cups 0 0 0 1 1 0
Charity Shields 3 3 2 0 0 4

Also have a look at the posts that have been written over the last week:

Chapman and Allison

Whittaker and Mee

Graham and Wenger

So now its over to you: