By Tony Attwood
Arsenal ended January in 10th but as noted before they also had two games in hand over the middle clutch of teams in the upper part of the table, which gave hope for February.
Arsenal’s first match of three consecutive home games (in which Arsenal were catching up on their games in hand) was a midweek match against last season’s runners’ up, who had fought Arsenal for the title right up to the last match of the season.
They were now having a significantly more successful season than Arsenal, for having had only two wins in the first 12 league games, from 5 November they had gone on a 10 game unbeaten run, of which eight matches were victories. Indeed since a slip up on New Years Eve to Blackpool they had returned to form winning both their two league games and their two cup games in January.
Collett came in for Copping, amidst rumours that the long serving half back was soon to move away from Arsenal, but otherwise the team remained that which ended January. A goalless draw satisfied Arsenal more than Wolverhampton.
The games in London on 4 February were however utterly overwhelmed by the news that came in through the day that the Irish Republican Army had bombed the London Underground stations at Tottenham Court Road and Leicester Square. As Britain was contemplating war against Germany, it seemed there was another enemy on the doorstep.
Nevertheless Arsenal’s game against Sunderland went ahead with 45,875 present. Sunderland had three draws and two victories in the last five games, and were now sitting 11th,
Three players came in for the game: Bastin, Bremner and Pryde. Neither Copping nor Crayston were playing, nor were Drake or Bryn Jones.
David Pryde had signed in May 1935, and was now making his first appearance in the first team. He played four games this season and probably did enough to have secured himself a long term relationship with the club were it not for the fact that football was suspended very soon after the start of the next season.
Bastin and Lewis got the goals in the rearranged team and Arsenal moved up to 7th. Lewis’ goal tally was now at six.
Arsenal now had a blank weekend, following their defeat by Chelsea in the FA Cup 3rd round. Chelsea had got through to the 5th round and there they drew 1-1 with Sheffield Wednesday, drew again in the replay and finally won through on 20 February. However their league form had suffered of late as they seemed more interested in the FA Cup; they had lost their last match 6-1 to Stoke.
Two days before their FA Cup victory however they faced Arsenal at Highbury, where Arsenal won 1-0 in front of 54,510. Bastin was out of the team again, but Bremner kept his place at inside right, and it was he who scored the goal.
Arsenal now had another catch up game – this against Grimsby Town who had won two and lost six of their last eight, and were sitting 15th in the league. Hardly the strongest opposition either historically or at this moment.
After all the changes in previous games it was a relief to see George Allison put the same team out for two games running, but the ploy didn’t work and Arsenal lost 2-1. Kirchen got the Arsenal goal in front of just 10,845 – below the club’s average attendance for the season.
On the same day the fear of war was brought a little closer as the government announced that the first Anderson air raid shelter had been built and put on display in London.
This left one game in the month on 25 February and it was a sad moment as it was the last match for Wilf Copping as after this game he returned to Leeds from whom Arsenal had bought him. He played the last 12 league games of the season for them.
He had made 166 league appearances for Arsenal, won the league twice and the FA Cup with Arsenal all under Allison and with Crayston had made an utterly formidable half back pairing, protecting the defence at all times.
Reg Lewis scored but it was a sad occasion all round as Preston beat Arsenal 2-1 and Arsenal sank back to 9th.
In his run Lewis had now played 12 games and scored seven. A remarkable achievement for a young lad playing in a team where the crowd had such high expectations.
|Date||Opponent||Venue||Op pos||Result||Pos||Pts||Crowd||Av crowd|
Here are the abbreviations as always…
- 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.
The end of month league table looked like this…
Everton, Wolverhampton and surprisingly Bolton, were now very much the teams in form, each with five wins in the last six games. Derby (just one win in six) were fading fast, as were Liverpool who had in January looked as if they might put in a serious challenge.
Arsenal’s goal average was slightly better than a couple of teams above them and they had one game in hand on three of the teams above, but they were 11 points off the lead. Clearly no one imagined Arsenal would reach the top of the table, and true, to sink from champions one season to 9th the next, was not as bad as Manchester City last season going from champions to division 2, but even so, this was not what the crowd had come to expect.
As for Man City they were now fifth in the second division, although they had won none of their games in February, while Tottenham, having won one but lost two in the month, were two points behind them in 8th. Both clubs had gone out of the cup in round four.
Arsenal in the 30s
- 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
- 55: November 1935; Drake starts scoring again.
- 56: December 1935: beating the record, and record confusions. Ted Drake before and after the magnificent seven.
- 57: January 1936: the league won’t be won, but what about the FA Cup…
- 58: February 1936: an early example of rotational selection
- 59: March 1936: Wembley again but player rotation starts affecting the crowds
- 60: April/May 1936; Arsenal win the Cup. A match report and season’s end
- 61: Arsenal in the Summer of 1936
- 62: Arsenal players 1934/5 and 1935/36: the fundamental problem with the team
- 63: August / Sept 1936: 20 different players used in the first seven league games
- 64: October 1936: Arsenal in free fall
- 65: November 1936: Arsenal reborn, TV starts, the king demands, the palace burns down.
- 66: December 1936: Top of the league as the king steps down.
- 67: January 1937: Arsenal unbeaten as the goalkeepers change (again).
- 68: February 1937: Seven in the cup, and all to play for in the league
- 69: March 1937: Arsenal top but Man City close in
- 70: April / May 1937: Arsenal slip back and Man City triumph – for the moment
- 71: Arsenal players 1936/7, Arsenal crowds in the 30s, and comparisons with earlier years
- 72: Arsenal in the summer: the overseas tour of 1937
- 73: Arsenal in August and September 1937: a brilliant start and a TV first.
- 74: Arsenal in October 1937: Allison decides it is time for a total change.
- 75: Arsenal in Nov 1937; a tactical signing changes the game
- 76: Arsenal in December 1937; a settled team and a revival
- 77: Arsenal in January 1938: two steps backwards but a new genius emerges.
- 78: Arsenal in February 1938: a true resurgence takes us top of the league.
- 79: March 1938: Arsenal at the top and a fifth title looks possible
- 80: April/May 1938: from no titles to five in one decade – and the most amazing title of them all.
- 81: Arsenal in the summer: the Nazi salute, Bastin as the symbol, Whittaker for England, the world record signing.
- 82: August/September 1938. The start of the end.
- 83: Arsenal in October 1938: the champions stagnating in mid-table
- 84: November 1938: facing relegation?
- 85: December 1938: the manager makes changes and a new hero is found
- 86: Arsenal in January 1939: some signs of recovery.