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GCR Books

November 1930: Arsenal announce to the world – we mean business

By Tony Attwood

The season 1930/1 was the first season in which Arsenal won the first division.  A totally amazing result considering that in the previous four seasons the club had come 11th, 10th, 9th and 14th.

The opening nine games of seven wins and two draws gave an indication of what was to come – and indeed the second defeat didn’t come until the 19th game of the season – a 1-2 home defeat to Newcastle.

But it was the November 1930 results that made the footballing world really sit up and take notice.

Date Venue Against Score Crowd
November 8 Home Aston Villa 5-2 56417
November 15 Away Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 43671
November 22 Home Middlesbrough 5-3 32517
November 29 Away Chelsea 5-1 74667

Not only were these exception goal scoring times, the attendance against Chelsea was a record for Highbury at the time.

And it is not surprising that the locals were getting excited.  The league table after the Chelsea game was something to behold.

 Table on 29.11.1930
Played Won Draw Loss For Ag Gl Av Pts
1 Arsenal 17 12 4 1 52 26 2.00 28
2 Sheffield Wednesday 17 10 5 2 43 23 1.87 25
3 Portsmouth 16 9 5 2 41 25 1.64 23
4 Derby County 17 8 6 3 40 29 1.38 22
5 West Ham United 17 8 5 4 41 32 1.28 21
6 Aston Villa 16 8 4 4 44 33 1.33 20
7 Huddersfield Town 17 6 7 4 39 32 1.22 19
8 Liverpool 16 8 2 6 39 35 1.11 18
9 Leicester City 17 8 2 7 39 42 0.93 18
10 Sheffield United 17 5 7 5 30 31 0.97 17
11 Chelsea 17 7 3 7 27 28 0.96 17
12 Manchester City 17 6 4 7 28 31 0.90 16
13 Middlesbrough 17 6 4 7 32 39 0.82 16
14 Blackburn Rovers 17 6 3 8 37 36 1.03 15
15 Birmingham City 17 4 7 6 28 28 1.00 15
16 Sunderland 17 4 6 7 33 41 0.81 14
17 Grimsby Town 17 6 1 10 30 29 1.03 13
18 Newcastle United 17 5 3 9 34 44 0.77 13
19 Bolton Wanderers 16 5 3 8 22 32 0.69 13
20 Blackpool 17 4 5 8 30 49 0.61 13
21 Leeds United 17 4 2 11 33 41 0.81 10
22 Manchester United 17 1 2 14 22 58 0.38 4

Interesting that in writing this in 2013 only four of the top ten clubs at the time are still in the top division.  In fact only nine (less than half) of the clubs in the first division that season are then in 2013/14.

So 17 goals in four consecutive league games.  And they were scored by

  • Bastin 3
  • Jack 5
  • Lambert 7
  • Williams

By any standards it was an exceptional performance.  By a club that had never won the league before it was extraordinary.  To average over three goals a game was something very special – and as the record books show, in this extraordinary season there was more, far more to come.

But looking back from the distance of over 80 years all I can do is just be amazed at this team and their goal scoring potential.

Arsenal were the cup holders, having won their first ever major title the previous April by beating Huddersfield Town in the final.  I wonder if people were starting to contemplate the impossible double for Arsenal in 1930/1.  It wasn’t to be, but this team that it took Chapman five years to assemble would continue to deliver Arsenal the first ever London triumph in the first division.

For the club that was formed in 1886, which joined the Football League in 1893 under Jack Humble as its chairman, which had gone bust in 1910 and been rescued by Henry Norris, this moment must have seemed beyond belief.

And within this season there was still more record breaking to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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