This article is part of the Arsenal in the 30s series. Details of all the articles in the series thus far can be found below.
By Tony Attwood
Arsenal entered November with a patchy record but they were still only three points behind the leaders.
On 2 November Arsenal played their first ever game in the league against Brentford, last season’s champions of division 2. The clubs had been drawn together in the FA Cup once in 1902 in the preliminary rounds. After a 1-1 draw Woolwich Arsenal won in Plymstead 5-0.
Until 1933 they had spent their entire league career in the 3rd division south but then having gained promotion to the 2nd division, they had risen up again to reach the first for the first time in this season.
When Arsenal met them for the first time, Brentford were currently 18th with a home record of just one home win, two draws and two defeats. Arsenal’s away record was, as with the season before, not impressive at this stage. One win, three draws, two defeats. Brentford had one win in their last nine.
The result Brentford 2 Arsenal 1 left the three times consecutive champions with just five wins in the first 15 games.
With Milne and Davidson now missing Arsenal called up Hulme and Parkin at outside and insight right. It was Parkin’s last game – he had played 25 and scored 11, including the goal in this game.
Elsewhere Villa’s decline was confirmed with a 2-6 home defeat to Grimsby. They were now bottom. Elsewhere Derby and Huddersfield won, while Sunderland drew. Arsenal thus slipped backwards once again.
On 9 November Arsenal played league leaders Derby at home. Derby had reached the pinnacle by virtue of one defeat in the last 11, but their away form was poor, with just one win and three goals so far.
Over 54,000 turned up and the 1-1 draw (with Drake scoring) was creditable enough against the league leaders, but the crowd had had three years of Arsenal winning the league and this sort of run (Arsenal had now won just one of the last five) was not what anyone was used to. The goal from Drake was however very welcome but it meant he had scored just two in the last seven games – a very un-Drake like run.
Elsewhere Huddersfield lost but Derby and Sunderland won meaning once again Arsenal were slipping behind.
For Armistice Day Arsenal, as was now their habit, went to Paris to play Racing Club, and as if to mark the discussions about Arsenal’s decline, for the first time Arsenal did not win, the result being a 2-2 draw. This was of course much to the delight of the 40,000 crowd, which again raised considerable funds for veterans. John, Sidey, Kirchen, Davidson and Dougall all stepped into the squad, which perhaps goes some way to explain the result. But more to the point Drake scored again which made it three goals in four games, after a run of four appearances in which he didn’t score a single goal.
On 14 November the UK had a General Election. Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin was returned to office at the head of a National Government led by the Conservative Party with a large but reduced majority.
Arsenal’s next match was away the following Saturday at Everton. Everton were 19th in the league – but they had a very positive home record having won four, drawn one and lost one. Against this Arsenal’s away record was poor – one win, three draws and three defeats. Also Everton had only had one defeat in the last four games.
But the result was a second Arsenal away win in the season, Drake and Bastin getting the goals. It was Drake’s third in four league games, (four in five if the Racing Club game is included.) Either way it was a real turnaround. Rogers came in for his first game on the left wing, with Bastin continuing in his secondary position of inside left.
It was a morale boosting away win, but with the news that Sunderland and Huddersfield won again it meant Arsenal were still not making progress to the top of the table.
On 23 November Arsenal came back to Highbury against 12th placed Wolverhampton who had in seven away games gained just one point. But they had won two games of the last three and in a rare move Arsenal retained the same team for two games running.
Arsenal had little difficulty dealing with the fixture and there was a return to the old style. Rogers scored, Drake got two, making it three games in a row in which he had scored, Hulme got the fourth. It was the first time since the opening game of the season that Drake had scored more than one goal in a game.
The final game of the month was on 30 November – away to Huddersfield who were just two points off the leaders. Huddersfield were undefeated at home (five wins, two draws) and they had won three of their last four. Parkin stood down and Beasley stepped in, but the result was a 0-0 draw. Derby and Sunderland won to take them further ahead.
Here is, as always, the summary of the games of the month in which Arsenal had two wins, two draws and a month.
|11.11.1935||Racing Club Paris||away||D2-2||40,000|
The abbreviations, as always mean…
- 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 in league matches 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.
Here’s the league table for the end of November 1935
Meanwhile in the 2nd division, Tottenham won three and drew one of their five games in November and were now top of the league. Second were Leicester – meaning the two relegated clubs from last season were now heading for promotion back to the first. Aston Villa and Grimsby were the two clubs currently looking to head downwards from the first.
Here is the list of articles thus far in this series…
- 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 1933: Champions and water shortages
- 34: August/September 1933 – the start of the new season.
- 35: October 1933 – a return to progress
- 36: November 1933 – displacing Tottenham.
- 37: December 1933: Chapman’s last month; Arsenal triumphant
- 38: January 1934: The death of Chapman
- 39: February 1934. Chapman is gone, but the club moves on.
- 40: March 1934. Chapman’s two teams fight for the title
- 41: April 1934. Joe Shaw wins the league for Chapman
- 42: 1933/34 League players, and how the goals declined but the crowds went up.
- 43: Arsenal in the summer 1934: Allison takes over from Shaw and Chapman.
- 44: August/Sep 1934: Allison starts with a bang
- 45: October 1934 – Arsenal finally blow away the north London curse
- 46: November 1934: vying for the top of the league, and the Battle of Highbury
- 47: Arsenal in December 1934: two steps forward, two steps back.
- 48: January 1935: Suddenly Arsenal’s form turns upside down
- 49: February 1935. Despite one slip, Arsenal remain top.
- 50: March 1935: Beating Tottenham by a record score
- 51: April/May 1935: Winning the league for the third time in succession.
- 52: Arsenal in the Summer – 1935. After three championships in a row.
- 53: September 1935: After three successive championships things get sticky
- 54: October 1935: Ok but not good enough