By Tony Attwood
The month opened with Tottenham top of the league and Arsenal one point behind:
|9||West Bromwich Albion||12||5||2||5||18||17||1.06||12|
Tottenham came into November with four wins and a draw in the their last five games while Arsenal had just won three in a row. There was also interest in the position of Wolverhampton who last season had finished just one above the relegation places and had now suddenly risen up the ranks.
Arsenal started with a home game against 6th position Portsmouth and gained a 1-1 draw, Bastin getting the goal. The team at least had stabilised, it was the same XI as had played the week before with a forward line of Hill, Bowden, Dunne, James, Bastin. Tottenham meanwhile gained an away win at West Brom, to take themselves two points ahead of Arsenal.
On 11 November Arsenal went to Wolverhampton currently in 8th place (slipping from their position at the start of the month) and gained a 1-0 away win. Alex James dropped out and Bowden returned, and scored the goal – otherwise the team was the same. But Tottenham once again edged beyond Arsenal not only winning but also pushing their goal average further ahead with a 4-0 home win against Newcastle.
On 18 November Arsenal had lowly Stoke City at home and won 3-0 (Hulme, Dunne and John getting the goals) while Tottenham could only manage a goalless draw with Leeds away, thus reducing the gap back to one point once more. For Hulme who played at outside right it was only his second game of the season, Hill dropping out. Hulme had in fact played in the first match of the campaign – before being injured.
There was then a pause from the league games as Arsenal, very oddly it seems to me, went to France on the Sunday – the day after the Stoke game and played Racing Club de Paris.
The games against Racing Club were set up to commemorate Armistice Day and raise money for injured soldiers and their families, but the date of the games varied year by year and it was mostly not played on Armistice Day – 11 November. So quite why the club agreed to fly to France for the game on the Sunday I don’t know, and I can find no explanation.
However we must remember that playing two games in two days and indeed three games in four days, with the same team, was a normal event at this time over Christmas and Easter periods, so it is possible that no one thought much of it, particularly as the game in Paris was a friendly.
The team was mostly the same as the team that played the day before except for Hill and Dougal replacing Coleman and Dunne. Beasley came on as a substitute for Hulme. The result was a 1-0 win with Bowden scoring.
This now left one game to be played in November – on Saturday 25th. Arsenal had a tricky looking fixture away to title chasing Huddersfield, but used the same team as for the last league game except that inside left and inside right (Bowden and Coleman) swapped positions. Arsenal won 1-0 with a first half goal from Dunne.
At last the team was getting a more settled look:
Male Sidey Hapgood
Hulme Bowden Donne James Bastin
It was an important victory over the team in third, but made all the more important by the news coming through that Tottenham had faltered. They had had a run of six wins and two draws in the last eight games, conceding just three goals in those eight games, and scoring 17. It was a run that raised expectations and fuelled the “London against the north” debate, but now they lost – to Derby County who as a result rose to fourth.
That combination of results saw Tottenham drop to second, and started a run of 15 games in which they lost seven – a total reversal of form. Throughout the rest of the season they were never again rivals to Arsenal for the championship – that honour passing instead to Huddersfield.
But again looking at Huddersfield’s crowd average for the season we can see why Chapman wanted to move away from Huddersfield to Arsenal when he did. Gate receipts were the income of clubs by and large in the 1930s and as we can see from the chart below, Huddersfield’s average gate – even in a season in which they came second, was under 12,000. Arsenal’s was over 40,000.
Even though the game was second against third, and involving the current league champions and the club now managed by Huddersfield’s previous manager the crowd was still only 29,407, in a ground that could hold 60,000.
Here’s the regular summary of the month’s games.
|19.11.1933||Racing Club de Paris||—||A||W1-0||—||25,000||—|
- 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 (in the previous column) and the norm expected by the home side.
By the end of the month it was clear that Arsenal were the team in form with five wins and a draw in the last six. Tottenham and Huddersfield had identical runs to each other: three wins, two draws one defeat.
It might be noted that at the start of the month Wolverhampton were surprisingly in fourth, but it didn’t last as they faded dramatically and dropped out of the top ten.
|10||West Bromwich Albion||16||6||4||6||25||23||1.09||16|
Arsenal in the 1930s…
- 1: Life in 1930 and winning the first major trophy.
- 2: 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.
- 5: October 1930: A stumble, Villa are close behind, Man U have 12 defeats in a row.
- 6: November 1930: Scoring 5 in three games in one month.
- 7: December 1930: 3 games in 3 days and 14 goals scored.
- 8: January 1931: the biggest league win ever at Highbury
- 9: February 1931: the goals just won’t stop coming.
- 10: March 1931: hope, defeat, hope
- 11: April 1931: Arsenal win the league for the very first time.
- 12: Arsenal in the summer of 1931, the records and the Scandinavian tour
- 13: Arsenal in shock – July and August 1931
- 14: September 1931; the champions recover from a poor start.
- 15: October 1931: Arsenal lose to Grimsby
- 16: November 1931: Chapman’s exasperation with goal keepers
- 17: December 1931: A scoring sensation but a dreadful month
- 18: January 1932: A return to form and a record score
- 19: February 1932: From a faltering start to nine wins in a row
- 20: March 1932: Huge crowds, an emergency signing, better results, another semi-final
- 21: April 1932: Film of Arsenal in the Cup Final, and attempts to win the league.
- 22: Arsenal in the summer of 1932. Arsenal runners up in league and cup, Man U’s average gate drops below Plymouth’s, Stanley Matthews first game, and the greatest run in Arsenal’s entire history is about to begin.
- 23: August 1932 – preparing for the ultimate greatness.
- 24: September 1932: Arsenal’s first steps into immortality
- 25: October 1932: The rise to the stars
- 26: November 1932: Records fall, greatness beckons.
- 27: December 1932: Greatness and supremacy
- 28: January 1933: Top of the league and defeated by Walsall.
- 29: February 1933: New shirts, awful weather, a record score
- 30: March 1933: Top of the league but a month to forget
- 31: April/May 1933: Champions for the second time
- 32: 1929/33: All the men who played in the League for Arsenal.
- 33: Arsenal in the summer 1993: Champions and water shortages
- 34: August/September 1933 – the start of the new season.
- 35: October 1933 – a return to progress