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GCR Books

Chapman’s first seven

By Tony Attwood

In the season 1904/5 Arsenal won promotion from the second division, and did so in some style.  There were eight straight wins at the start of the season including, quite  amazingly, two 8-0 wins.  In fact Arsenal scored 35 in those eight games,and let in three.

It was a great moment in the club’s development but sadly it was not to be repeated for a very long time.  The first division proved to be a much tougher place to play, and indeed Arsenal slipped back to the second in 1913, before being elected  back in 1919 where once again the first division proved to be a difficult hunting ground.

In fact the next time Arsenal scored more than six in a league game was not until 30 March 1929 when Arsenal beat Bury 7-1.

Bury had in fact already suffered once at the hand of Arsenal on 14 November 1925. with Arsenal 6 Bury 1, a game that meant Arsenal had scored 15 in the last 3 games.

However back to the seven.  Whereas those 8-0s came in a championship winning season (albeit in the second division) the 7-1 came in Chaman’s fourth season came when we finished ninth in the first division.  We could have come higher, but this was the last game in an 11 match unbeaten run, and after the beating of Bury we slipped away.

However for the moment the result left Arsenal in sixth with hope of more to come if the momentum could be maintained…

League table after results on 30 March 1929

P W D L F A
Sheffield Wednesday 36 20 8 8 75 52 48
Sunderland 37 18 7 12 85 61 43
Leicester City 34 17 7 10 76 56 41
Derby County 36 17 7 12 74 58 41
Aston Villa 34 18 4 12 79 65 40
Arsenal 35 14 11 10 66 58 39
Blackburn Rovers 35 15 8 12 65 54 38
Everton 34 16 4 14 58 54 36
Newcastle United 36 15 6 15 62 67 36
Leeds United 33 15 6 12 63 73 36
Manchester City 36 14 7 15 82 81 35
Liverpool 34 12 10 12 70 53 34
Huddersfield Town 32 13 7 12 61 44 33
West Ham United 36 13 7 16 75 83 33
Birmingham City 36 12 9 15 61 68 33
Bolton Wanderers 34 11 10 13 60 61 32
Sheffield United 35 11 10 14 73 75 32
Manchester United 36 9 12 15 51 73 30
Burnley 35 12 5 18 65 92 29
Bury 35 11 6 18 50 84 28
Portsmouth 34 12 3 19 48 74 27
Cardiff City 37 8 10 19 39 52 26

Clearly Arsenal were not going to win the league but a continuation of their recent form might have seen a top four finish.

But the match was a turning point for both clubs.  Bury sank from here on and were relegated and Arsenal only won two of their last seven.

However  this was the last season of Arsenal not winning anything.  For the following season, 36 years after Arsenal joined the league, the club finally won one of the two major trophies: the FA Cup.

Newspaper reports of the game (all of which consistently refer to the club as The Arsenal, despite that not having been their name since April 1914) are factual reports of the play, telling us nothing of tactics or anything around the game except that the ground was very hard.

But the papers were united in predicting that Bury were on the slippery slope (true, they did go down) while “there is no reason why they should not go on winning” as one paper said.

Having broken their 6+ goal drought Arsenal took matters even further the next season with a 8-1 hammering of Sheffield United on 12 April 1930.

As for the defeat of Bury, it was four for Jack two for Parkin and one for Thompson.  David Jack finally reached 25 goals in just 31 games.  The side was certainly coming together.

The Arsenal team for the first ever first division match in which Arsenal scored seven was…

Lewis

Parker                                                        Hapgood

Baker         Rogers        John

Parkin                                 Thompson

Hume                           Jack                          Jones

 The index to the various series on the site and to the anniversary files are on the home page.

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