Alf Kirchen was born 26 August 1913 in Shouldham in Norfolk and died 18 August 1999. In 1934 he was signed by Tom Parker manager of Norwich City (then of the second division – and the man who holds the record for consecutive games for Arsenal). With the club’s connection with Arsenal it was not surprising that the early talent Kirchen showed made Arsenal make a bid of £6000 in March 1935, and he made seven appearances in the rest of that season for Arsenal in the League.
He scored in his first match against Tottenham in the 6-0 win. However Joe Hulme was the regular right wing for Arsenal, and Hulme kept Kirchen out of the side for the next season.
However from then on until the war broke out Kirchen was the regular right wing for Arsenal, and also got two caps for England – the first on 14 May 1937
He got a league winner’s medal in 1937/8. In the war he joined the RAF as a physical training instructor, and played 116 war time games for Arsenal scoring 81 goals. However he was injured in a game in 1943 which meant he was unable to return to playing professionally after the war.
The table below shows his league appearances. If we include FA Cup games he played 101 official first-class matches for Arsenal, scoring 45 goals.
After the war Alf returned to Norwich as a trainer, and then became a farmer, returning to Norwich as a director of the club and as Honorary President of the Norfolk Arsenal Supporters Club. He died just before his 86th birthday.
Other anniversaries for 14 May
- 14 May 1910 The Times reports that the new share issue in Woolwich Arsenal had failed.
- 14 May 1935: Mel Charles born
- 14 May 1960: Bill Dodgin last senior appearance
- 14 May 1964: Don Howe’s first game for Arsenal
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal – crowd behaviour at the early matches
- Coming soon: Royal Arsenal