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GCR Books

Joey Williams: the Arsenal man who won the league and got relegated at the same moment.

By Tony Attwood

Joseph Williams was born in Rotherham on 4 June 1902, and started playing for Rotherham County (the club that merged with others to form Rotherham Utd in 1925).

In 1924 he moved to Huddersfield Town, then managed by Herbert Chapman, and was part of Chapman’s league winning team of 1924/5.  He stayed at the club after Chapman left and won a second league winners’ medal in 1925/6 – the year Arsenal came second in the league.

However in March 1926 he moved to Stoke City and when they were relegated at the end of the season he found himself winning a league winners’ medal for his games for Huddersfield, and being relegated to the Third Division North at the same time.

He then went on to play 31 times in the following season and helped Stoke win the league and return to the second division.

Then in September 1929 with Chapman finally putting together a team that could win trophies, Joey moved to Arsenal making his Arsenal debut in the 5–2 defeat by Aston Villa on 25 September 1929.

He was a part of the FA Cup squad and played in four of the Cup games, but missed the final through injury, and by the time the 1930/31 season began Chapman had his team sorted out with Joe Hulme playing on one wing and the Boy Bastin on the other.  He left Arsenal in March 1932 having played 26 league games for Arsenal, scoring five goals, and signed for Middlesbrough for whom he played for four seasons, finally putting in one season with Carlisle Utd.

Here are his figures across the years

Years Team Games Goals
1921–1924 Rotherham County 95 7
1924–1926 Huddersfield Town 58 6
1926–1929 Stoke City 82 17
1929–1932 Arsenal 22 5
1932–1935 Middlesbrough 78 11
1935–1936 Carlisle United 20 2
Total 355 48
For Arsenal Joey did gain a run of games in late 1930 as the table below shows…
Date Match Result
18 Oct 1930 Manchester United v Arsenal W 1-2
25 Oct 1930 Arsenal v West Ham United D 1-1
01 Nov 1930 Huddersfield Town v Arsenal D 1-1
08 Nov 1930 Arsenal v Aston Villa W 5-2
15 Nov 1930 Sheffield Wednesday v Arsenal W 1-2
22 Nov 1930 Arsenal v Middlesbrough W 5-3
29 Nov 1930 Chelsea v Arsenal W 1-5
13 Dec 1930 Liverpool v Arsenal D 1-1
20 Dec 1930 Arsenal v Newcastle United L 1-2

His final game was on 26 December 1931 as Arsenal lost 0-2 at home to Sheffield United.

He also played twice in an “unofficial” FA tour of South Africa – the type of tour Tom Whittaker went on in 1925 which used players below the level of the England team to travel to the Empire to encourage the playing of football.  Whittaker went to Australia (where an injury finished his career).   Joey got just two games in South Africa – one on 15 June 1929 and one on 13 July 1929.  As with Tom Whittaker, they don’t count as England caps.

There is a picture of Eddie Hapgood and Joey Williams playing for opposing teams here.

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1 comment to Joey Williams: the Arsenal man who won the league and got relegated at the same moment.

  • mark

    According to my records Joey, or ‘J-J’ as he was nicknamed, passed away in 1978 but I don’t know where

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