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GCR Books

Arsenal players 1934/5 and 1935/36 the fundamental problem with the team

By Tony Attwood

We last looked at the players Arsenal used in the 1930s in the article in 1933/34 season so this piece aims to bring this up to date with the coverage on Arsenal in the 30s thus far.  If you want to go back further there is the complete analysis of 1929 to 1933 players here.   At the end of the series (ie the outbreak of war) I will combine all the figures, but for now here we have 1934/35 and 1935/36

Player Position 1934/5 Games 1934/5 Goals 1935/6 Games 1935/6 Goals
Cliff Bastin Outside Left 40 21 38 17
Pat Beasley Wing half 22 6 30 5
Ralph Birkett Outside right 5 2
Ray Bowden Inside right  26 14 29 11
Sidney Cartwright Half back 5
Les Compton Centre half 5  1 12 1
Wilf Copping Left half 35 40
George Cox Centre forward 5 1
Jack Crayston Right half 40 3 43 5
Robert Davidson Inside forward 12  2 14
Peter Dougall Inside left 8  1 8 3
Ted Drake (also here) Centre forward 45  43 29 27
Jimmy Dunne Centre forward 1 6 1
EddieHapgood (& here) Left back 37 1 40
Frank Hill Wing half 16 13 10
Joe Hulme Outside right 18 10 28 8
Alex James Inside left 33  4 23 2
Bob John Half Back 11 6
Bernard Joy Centre half 2
Alfred John Kirchen Winger 7  2 6 3
George Male Full back 43 42
James Marshall Inside forward 4
John Vance Milne Winger 14 6
Frank Moss Goalkeeper 37 1 7
Raymond Parkin Inside forward 1 1
Herbie Roberts Centre half 40 31 1
Tim Rogers Outside right 5  2 11 3
Norman Sidey Centre half 6 13
Reg Trim Full back 1
Ernest Tuckett Inside forward 2
Ronald Westcott Centre forward 2 1
Alex Wilson Goalkeeper 9 42

It is clear to see where the problem lay in the season.  Ted Drake kept up his remarkable scoring record: 27 goals out of 29 games, as opposed to 43 goals out of 45 games, but the problem was that there was no one to take up the slack when Drake was injured. Bastin and Bowden also scored fewer goals and so the team lost out in all situations.

What is also particularly interesting here is that although much was made of Allison’s experiments with unknown and untried players in 1935/6, and the fact that the club was fined for putting out “weakened teams,” in fact when it comes down to it only seven new players were introduced in the season: Cartwright, Cox, Joy, Milne, Parkin, Tuckett, Westcott.

Clearly Allison was trying to look for alternatives with his team – most particularly because of the loss of the dominant Ted Drake for much of the latter part of the season.  But he was also looking for players of the future.

So it is worth looking forward to see exactly what happened to these players

Sid Cartwright continued as a bit part player until the cessation of football in 1939, playing in all 16 games for the club.

George Cox left the club at the end of the season.

Bernard Joy played 86 games for Arsenal, and would have played many, many more had he not lost seven years of his career to the war.

John Milne stayed with the club until December 1937 playing 49 games in all but never more than 19 games in one season.

Ray Parkin had been with the club since 1928 and never got into double figures in terms of appearances.  In all he played 25 times before leaving in January 1936 for Middlesbrough.

Enrie Tuckett got his two games and left for Bradford early in 1937.

Ronnie Westcott was the unluckiest player of them all, with two games and one goal, but he got injured in his second game, and had to leave football because of that injury.

Looked at in this way, it is clear that Allison had thus far only discovered one player for the future – Bernard Joy.  The other player slowly coming through was the ever patient Les Compton, who would obviously have played more games had he not come to a club with such a dominant defence already in place.

The problem looked even more severe when the squad is considered in a different light: by looking at the players who could be considered “senior” or “experienced”.  There were in fact just 12 of these and two of them, Alex James and Herbie Roberts, were at the end of their careers – a fact that would leave Arsenal with just 10 senior professionals to take a full part in the new season.

Here is the list of players who could be called senior pros in 1935/6…

Player Position 1934/5 Games 1934/5 Goals 1935/6 Games 1935/6 Goals
Cliff Bastin Outside Left 40 21 38 17
Pat Beasley Wing half 22 6 30 5
Ray Bowden Inside right  26 14 29 11
Wilf Copping Left half 35 40
Jack Crayston Right half 40 3 43 5
Ted Drake Centre forward 45  43 29 27
Eddie Hapgood Left back 37 1 40
Joe Hulme Outside right 18 10 28 8
Alex James Inside left 33  4 23 2
George Male Full back 43 42
Herbie Roberts Centre half 40 31 1
Alex Wilson Goalkeeper 9 42

Looked at from this point of view it did not auger well for the Cup holders in 1936/7 unless the club could find new recruits either from the reserves or from transfers.   Given that Allison had tried just about everyone he could while protecting the first team squad ahead of the cup final, the former option did not look viable – except in the case of Bernard Joy.

But aside from Joy, Arsenal did not seem to be able to bring in the players they needed.  Of course there was no transfer window to focus their minds, so they could do the transfers as and when arrangements could be made, but there was still a concern.  Arsenal was now, with Sunderland (at least temporarily) one of the giants of English football, with Derby and Huddersfield snapping at their heels.

But in the 1930s the mighty had a habit of falling very quickly.  Sheffield Wednesday who were third in 1934/5 missed relegation by just one place in 1935/6.  Aston Villa, Arsenal’s main challengers at the start of Arsenal’s rise and who came second in 1932/3 were now relegated.  WBA who were fourth in 1932/33, like Sheffield Wednesday, missed relegation by just three points.   In the 1930s past glories counted for nothing at all, and Arsenal seriously looked in danger without some new blood.

The series thus far…

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