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Celebrating the anniversary of Arsenal’s first ever FA Cup win on 26 April 1930

This article is an extract from the Arsenal History Society complete series on Arsenal in the 1930s. Full details of the series are given at the end of the article.


by Tony Attwood

On 26 April 1930 Arsenal won their first ever F.A. Cup 2-0 v Huddersfield. And indeed on this day they won […]

Reg Stockill: famed as a schoolboy star, and the man who started the 3 successive league titles.

by Tony Attwood

Reginald Robert Stockill, known as Reg was born on 24 November 1913 in York. Although he only played a handful of games for Arsenal he should always be remembered for what he did on 27 August 1932. For on that day there was a football result which read Birmingham 0 Arsenal 1. […]

Arsenal: the most successful team in the FA Cup of all time

By Tony Attwood

This weekend Arsenal become the most successful team ever in the history of the FA Cup – and they will retain that crown no matter what happens on Sunday in the semi-final.

After the conclusion of the FA Cup in 2016 the table for the number of appearances by the most successful […]

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 […]

Leonard Thompson, a talented player beset by injuries, and not quite as Bernard Joy describes him.

By Tony Attwood

Leonard Thompson was born on 18 February 1901 in Sheffield.

His first club is recorded as Shiregreen Primitive Methodists, Shiregreen being a part of Sheffield, but then curiously there is a note of him playing for Norfolk Amateurs. I have found a few references to this […]

Albert Edward Humpish: Herbert Chapman’s mystery signing for Arsenal in 1929.

By Tony Attwood

Albert Humpish was born on 3 March 1902, and was one of eight players to make his debut for Arsenal in the 1929/30 season as Chapman gave the squad his final shuffle in order to win the illusive first trophy, which of course he did.

Bert, as he was usually known, (although […]

The crowd at Woolwich Arsenal: Arsenal in the 2nd division 1893/4 to 1903/4

By Tony Attwood

Arsenal joined the Football League in 1893/4 and stayed in the second division for 11 years. The table below shows the growth (and in three years a decline) in the attendances for league matches at the club, and compares these not only with the club’s position in the league (the last column) […]

The Arsenal Handbook 1930: the errors and the consequences

By Tony Attwood

In a previous post I published a copy of the 1930 Arsenal handbook in what I trust is an easy-to-read format. Much of the text is taken up with a history of the club, and it is a history that contains a few errors. My aim here is to clarify some of […]

The Arsenal handbook 1930: after winning the first major trophy

By Tony Attwood

The Arsenal handbook for 1930 (officially titled “The Arsenal Football Club History and Fixtures 1930/31”) has been on line for a while now courtesy of Andy Kelly but for those of us reaching a certain age it is not that easy to read, and so as part of the “Arsenal in the […]

David Halliday: top scoring centre forward who couldn’t make it at Arsenal

by Tony Attwood

David “Dave” Halliday was born 11 December 1901 in Dumfries and trained initially as a motor mechanic playing for the works team of car maker Arrol-Johnston.

The works team merged with two others in 1919 to form Queen of the South and the following year on 17 January Dave started playing for […]

Bill Johnstone: a goalscorer but in a team awash with goalscorers

By Tony Attwood

Bill Johnstone is one of the Arsenal players of whom I have been able to discover so very little, and I would love to know more. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

He was born in Fife 18 May 1900 and started out with Rosyth Juniors before moving on to Kings Park […]

The site of Arsenal’s foundation to be transformed into an arts zone

How the first home of Arsenal FC developed across the centuries – and what is happening to it now.

In 1513 Henry VIII set up a dockyard at Woolwich to build the royal ship which came to be known as the ‘Great Harry’. Later, in 1559 Elizabeth I came to Woolwich to launch the ship […]

Arsenal in the 1930s, the full story as never before told

by Tony Attwood

For the past 10 months I have been writing a history of Arsenal in the 1930s. The first draft is now finished and you can read the entire work as it stands at the moment, on this website.

But as any author will tell you, the first run through of any research […]

Arsenal in the 30s: Arsenal at the start of the 2nd world war (autumn 1939)

by Tony Attwood

On 19 August 1939 on the eve of war, Arsenal beat Tottenham (away) 1-0 in a friendly – an event that was undoubtedly presaged by the same fixture as a pre-season friendly, but at Highbury, on the saturday before the first league match of the 1938/9 campaign.

Whether the clubs also […]

The players and the crowds: Arsenal 1938/9

by Tony Attwood

Arsenal used 29 players in the 1938/9 season of whom 12 played fewer than nine league games. Here is the chart, as usual, along with appearance figures for the previous two seasons by way of comparison.

Player Position 1938/9 Games 1938/9 Goals 1937/8 Games 1936/7 Games Cliff Bastin Outside Left 24 4 […]

Arsenal in the summer 1939

By Tony Attwood

Arsenal finished the 1938/9 season in fifth place (not their worst since 1930, but still rather disappointing for the reigning champions).

They then set off on a post season tour which took in six Scandinavian games and a seventh against the Belgian national side.

Writing of this tour Bernard Joy called it […]

April / May 1939: Arsenal clamber back to 5th, and achieve film stardom

By Tony Attwood

The final run-in of the 1938/9 season through April and May saw Arsenal start the (as usual) very busy schedule with the league table looking like this

P W D L F A GA Pt 1 Everton 34 23 3 8 73 43 1.70 49 2 Wolverhampton Wndrs 34 18 8 8 […]

March 1939: goalscoring and away form are the key problems

by Tony Attwood

Arsenal had finished February in ninth still 11 points off the pacemakers, and being out of the Cup as well, all that could be hoped for was an improvement to keep up the Arsenal legend of success in the 30s.

P W D L F A GAv Pts 1 Everton 30 20 […]

February 1939: Arsenal struggle to make a continuing impact.

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.

P W D L F A GAv Pts 1 Derby County 26 15 5 6 46 31 1.48 […]

Arsenal in January 1939: some signs of recovery.

By Tony Attwood

On 2 January – postponed for one day since 1 January was a Sunday, Rangers and Celtic played their traditional year opener. This time however the match was of particular significance since it is recorded as having the highest attendance for a U.K. football match ever at 118,730.

Back in England the […]

December 1938: the manager makes changes and a new hero is found

By Tony Attwood

Arsenal entered December in the unfamiliar position of being in the bottom half of the table without even the consolation that they had found last year of having all the teams bunched together near the top. They were a full 11 points off the leaders, with just one game in hand. Put […]

Arsenal in November 1938: facing relegation, avoiding collisions

By Tony Attwood

Arsenal ended October 1938 in a rather unappealing 10th position, eight points behind the leaders, with a game in hand.

Here is the league table at the end of that month.

P W D L F A GAv Pts 1 Derby County 13 9 2 2 25 13 1.92 20 2 Everton […]

Joseph Szabo, his visit to Arsenal, and the way it changed SC Braga’s history.

by Brian Evans.

I am currently writing a book on British football managers in Portugal. There are a few Arsenal connections with two of the five mangers being ex Arsenal players, and I will be writing in detail on Arsenals 1948 tour which resulted in the famous Taca da Arsenal (Arsenal Cup).

However, at the […]

Arsenal in October 1938: the champions stagnating in mid-table

By Tony Attwood

Arsenal ended September in the lower reaches of the first division – way below what had been hoped for after their dramatic seizing of the Championship for the fifth time the previous May.

They were at least undefeated in the last two games however (although saying this is rather a case of […]

August/September 1938/39. The start of the end.


By Tony Attwood

Arsenal entered the 1938/39 season as Champions, having won the league for the fifth time in eight years. In the seasons they did not win the trophy they had come second, third, and sixth. Additionally they had won the FA Cup twice during the 1930s.

Rather amazingly the trophy haul for […]