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GCR Books

November 1935; Drake starts scoring again.

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.

Date Opposition Op Pos H/A Res Pos Pts Crowd AC
02.11.1935 Brentford  18 away L1-2 5 14 26,330 25,287
09.11.1935 Derby County  1 home D1-1 4 15 54,027 41,960
11.11.1935 Racing Club Paris away D2-2 40,000
16.11.1935 Everton 19 away W2-0 4 17 46,990 29,118
23.11.1935 Wolverhampton 12 home W4-0 4 19 39,860 41,960
30.11.1935 Huddersfield T 2 away D0-0 4 20 35,816 15,097

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…

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