By Tony Attwood
Arsenal finished September top of the league but October brought the first little slip.
|25.10.1930||West Ham United||9||home||D1-1||1||19||51,918||37,106|
- Op pos, is the league position of the opposition before the game
- Pos is Arsenal’s position after the game
- AC is the average crowd for the home team through the season, providing a comparison between the crowd on that day and and the norm expected by the home side.
There was quite an anticipation for the Sheffield United game – hence the crowd – not just because Arsenal were top of the league, but also because of recent results between the two teams which had led to 30 goals in five games…
|07 Jan 1928||Sheffield United 6 Arsenal 4|
|10 Nov 1928||Arsenal 2 Sheffield United 0|
|23 Mar 1929||Sheffield United 2 Arsenal 2|
|16 Dec 1929||Sheffield United 4 Arsenal 1|
|12 Apr 1930||Arsenal 8 Sheffield United 1|
However this time the sides had to settle for a 1-1 draw, and there was recognition after the match that the next game could be quite a test for Arsenal. Derby had been unbeaten in September, although they had drawn half their games and the 4-2 away defeat led to the inevitable response from the press. Arsenal were not as good as they wanted us to believe. After all Derby had been runners’ up the previous season while Arsenal, although Cup winners for the first time, had been 14th in the league.
But at least respite was at hand for the following saturday as Arsenal were away to a Manchester Utd side which thus far had lost every single match they had played. It was hardly a convincing score but at least Arsenal won.
However that was to be the only win of the month, as the final game was a further draw, 1-1 with West Ham.
But there was great news in terms of the club’s finances. Every one of the four games had resulted in a huge upturn in the crowd numbers measured against the home team’s average, and under the system existing at the time (in which the away team received 40% of the gate receipts – a system that remained in place until the 1980s), as visitors Arsenal were getting a very positive reputation, and a very worthwhile income.
Given that there was no sponsorship at the time, and of course no TV money, and given also that footballers’ salaries were fixed with a maximum wage, this was wonderful news for the club.
Also tucked away in this month was the Charity Shield and on 8 October 1930: Arsenal won the Charity Shield (for first time, obviously, as they had won neither league nor cup before) beating Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 in a match played at Stamford Bridge in front of 25,000. (It is incidentally reported in some volumes, wrongly, as 1931). The team was Keyser, Parker, Hapgood, Seddon, Roberts, Hulme, Brain, Lambert, Jack, Bastin. Jack and Hulme got the goals.
The table below shows in the last two columns which players came in after not playing the previous game, and which players dropped out during October
|04.10.1930||Sheffield Utd||home||D 1-1||Lambert||–||–|
|11.10.1930||Derby Cty||away||L 2-4||Bastin, Roberts||Jack||Brain|
|18.10.1930||Man Utd||away||W 2-1||Williams, Lambert||Williams, Brain||Hulme, Jack|
By the end of the month the goals had come from
- Lambert 15
- Bastin 7
- Hulme 4
- Jack 3
- Johnstone 1
- Roberts 1
- Williams 1
The ever present players thus far were Keyser, Parker, Hapgood, Roberts, John, Lambert, Bastin. In all 15 players had been used across the opening 12 games.
What particularly aided Arsenal’s cause is that while they had a few slip ups in October (one win, two draws and a defeat) their nearest rival, Aston Villa, was also making heavy weather of the situation:
|Date||Aston Villa vs…||venue||Result||Lge pos||Pts|
The 3-1 away defeat to Middlesbrough came as a surprise as before that point Villa had won six and drawn one and as the league table below shows, Villa were close to matching Arsenal both in terms of goal scoring and defensive meanness.
|9||West Ham United||12||5||3||4||31||29||1.07||13|
Manchester Utd had been mid to lower table for several years but were not quite prepared for such a start to the season, losing 12 games in a row. Among some disastrous performances they managed, in the space of seven days in September, a 6-2 away defeat to Chelsea, a 0-6 home defeat to Huddersfield, and a 4-7 home defeat to Newcastle.
Indeed this was to be Man U’s last season in the first for a few years, and through the decade they only managed two more seasons in the first.
Thus October ended with Arsenal still top of the league. Up next was a match against Chapman’s old club – Huddersfield Town. We’ll come to that in the next post which takes in November 1930.
The Arsenal in the 30s series…
- 1: Life in 1930 and winning the first major trophy.
- 2: Arsenal in the 1930s. The cup winners who dropped out and the players who came in
- 3: How Chapman put his triumphant 1931 team together.
- 4: September 1930; played 8 won 7 drawn 1.
Arsenal History Society has published five books on Arsenal – all are available as paperback and three are now available on Kindle. The books are
- The Arsenal Yankee by Danny Karbassiyoon with a foreword by Arsene Wenger.
- Arsenal: the long sleep 1953 – 1970; a view from the terrace. By John Sowman with an introduction by Bob Wilson.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football. By Tony Attwood, Andy Kelly and Mark Andrews.
- Making the Arsenal: a novel by Tony Attwood.
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal by Mark Andrews.
You can find details of all five on our new Arsenal Books page
New and recent series on the Arsenal History Society Site
- Arsenal in the 1930s – the new series has begun
- Arsenal in the 1970s – the complete review of every game
- Arsenal in the summer – the transfers, the friendlies, year by year
- Arsenal anniversaries – nearly 5000 entries
- The full index to all the series is on home page