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GCR Books

Peter Goring: one of the XI in Arsenal’s 1953 championship

By Tony Attwood

Harry Goring (known as Peter, for a reason that I can’t ascertain) was born on 2 January 1927, was signed in January 1948 for £1000.

He played his first match for Arsenal on 24 August 1949.  His final appearance was on 24 February 1959 in a 1-0 victory over Leeds, by which time he had played 220 games in the league scoring 51 goals, along with 20 games in the FA Cup getting two goals.

Yet despite this Arsenal.com has (as of March 2014) nothing on their site about him, other than the recognition that he played for the club.  However there are some really good mementoes of him on the Arsenal Gloucester site – several members of his family being members of that club.

According to the Gloucestershire Echo the Goring family have lived in Bishop’s Cleeve (where Peter was born) for over 150 years and the family are obviously celebrated locally, since the Echo did some digging a while back and came up with this picture of Peter and His Majesty before the 1950 cup final

Arsenal went on tour of Brazil in 1949 and Peter Goring played on that tour, and as a result was drafted into the team to play Chelsea on 24 August 1949; Arsenal won 2-1.

He immediately because one of the leading scorers in the side which came 5th in the league and won the FA Cup.

Goring continued to play up front for the Gunners (scoring 16 times the following season).   But after those two seasons Cliff Holton took over the number 9 shirt  and Peter Goring did not get a start until December.  In the end Holton made 28 starts scoring 17 and Goring 16 (including a couple at inside forward) scoring just four in the league.

But in the following season of 1952/3 the situation was reversed, and Goring started at number 9 and made 29 starts (again with a few at inside forward) while Holton only started 19 games.

This reversal meant that it was Peter Goring who was on the pitch on 1 May 1953 for one of Arsenal’s most famous matches of all time – the 3-2 win over Burnley in the last match of the season.   By winning Arsenal won the league on goal difference.

Then matters swung the other way once again.  Holton started in the first match and and by the end of the year Goring had only played in two games.

However after three more games at inside forward in the spring, Goring was moved for right half (number 4) and he played the last four games of the season in that position.

Although that move came out of desperation (Arsenal had a disastrous season in 1953/4 coming 12th) it worked.

The first match of 1954/5 was like the previous season, a disaster – a 1-3 home defeat to Newcastle.  Manager Tom Whittaker then dropped five members of the team after just that one game and in a total reshuffled brought Peter Goring back in the half back position, where he stayed for the remaining 41 games.  He also played 37 games in that position the next season, as well as playing for an FA XI in the West Indies in 1955.

In 1956 Tom Whittaker died and Jack Crayston took over the management of Arsenal, and Peter Goring dropped out of favour, playing just 10 games in 1957/8 and two in 1958/9.

In 1959 he moved to Boston Utd with Alan Ashberry coming the other way.

After retiring from football he returned to running the family butcher’s shop in Cheltenham, relaxing with rounds of golf.  But in September 1968 he returned to football as manager of Forest Green Rovers and was there until October 1979 when he finally retired from football aged 52.   He died in 1994, aged 67.

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See also….   Untold Arsenal

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2 comments to Peter Goring: one of the XI in Arsenal’s 1953 championship

  • Alan Honniball

    I am sure that I remember Peter working at his Father in Law building company at Osidge Lane Southgate N 14.

  • Anthony Brookes

    Yes he did…
    He also moved into the house my Mother & Brother lived in and we had to move out because of that.
    The house was 101 Exeter rd Southgate N14.
    His father in law was a Mr Rowley who owned 101 Exeter rd and owned the building co Peter Goring worked in.
    He married Mr Rowley’s daughter and gave the house to them as a wedding present.
    If you need further info contact me on anthonybrookes10@hotmail.com.
    Anthony Brookes.

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