Alfred Edward Haynes (known as Alf) has been mentioned in passing before, both in terms of how he missed the notorious Walsall match (he played in the reserves that day and so missed out on the subsequent Chapman cull) and how he had one season of playing at number 4 for Chapman but an email from Rob Webb, grandson of Alf Haynes has caused me to pull together the details and fill them out as far as I can.
Wiki gives his birth date as 4 April 1907 but Rob suggested it was 1906 – I can’t verify this as none of our earlier research which has created the anniversary files have any mention of Alf Haynes at all. Dean Hayes actually has the year of birth as 1910, so there seems to be some debate.
Here’s his Arsenal league record
Alf was born in Oxford and started with Oxford City, joining Arsenal in 1928 as a right half and right back. . Haynes made his debut against Liverpool on 21 December 1929 (a 0-1 away defeat) and kept his place for seven games playing at number 4 mostly, but also putting in a turn at centre half and left half.
He then dropped out of the side but came back later with six more appearance including one more at centre half. He also played in the first cup match that season (a 2-0 victory at home to Chelsea) but in no further FA Cup games in the season that Arsenal won their first major trophy, in the cup final against Huddersfield.
Rob adds, “I believe Haynes lived in Colindale, Kingsbury, North London NW9 near Brent and fairly close to Wembley whilst playing for Arsenal. And that whilst living in that area he and his wife became a close friend with Leslie Compton (a few years younger) and his wife. Also that their wives may even have owned or worked in a pram or baby shop in London. I would be interested to know more from any similar ancestors or grandchildren of the Compton family who may have some connections or photograph albums of his years with Arsenal.”
As a fringe player Haynes was a regular in the London Combination side and won the title with them three times – something which at the time was as important then as (say) winning the FA Youth Cup now.
As time went by his appearances when they did come, tended to be more at centre half than any other position, (six of his seven games were in the heart of the defence in 1931/2) but he never played enough games to win a medal, as Chapman’s victory machine rolled on.
However he played in the FA Charity Shield match on 7 October 1931 in which Arsenal beat WBA 1-0 and so won a medal on that day.
In 1932/3 he continued as an occasional centre half playing when Herbie Roberts was injured, and played his last game for that season on 27 December 1932 in a 0-0 away draw with Leeds. He made one more appearance on 7 October 1933 in a 2-2 away draw with Blackburn – his only game of that season.
Haynes then moved to Crystal Palace for a fee of £2500 in November 1933, where he played for three seasons. Rob says that he sustained a bad injury breaking his arm playing for Crystal Palace. Gangrene set in and had to finish his playing career.
Rob then adds some more saying, “I believe Haynes returned to live in Oxford and acted as trainer / manager of Oxford City the big club in Oxford before Headington United who turned professional to become Oxford United in 1962. I gather he also recommended players to Arsenal with his links to Tom Whittaker…”
In retirement, Haynes ran a newsagents in Oxford and wrote a sports column for the local newspaper. However, Rob says “he still kept his connections with Whittaker and Compton and scouted for Arsenal. He recommended Cliff Holton (an Oxford City player at the time) to Whittaker who signed contract papers in with Whittaker and his colleagues in Haynes’ Oxford newsagents. Haynes also played cricket and bowls with Compton.” (The story of Haynes recommending Holton also appears in Forward Arsenal!)
And we have a picture of the Arsenal squad for the season after the triumph of the first trophy – so this was probably taken in August 1931. Alf is second one in from the left in the back row. No one is smiling, and Chapman looks very bored with it all!
Back row: Alf Baker, Alf Haynes, Jack Lambert, Herbie Roberts, Dan Lewis, Charles Preedy, Bill Seddon, Eddie Hapgood, Len Thompson, Bob John
Middle Row: Herbert Chapman, Joe Hulme, David Jack, Tom Parker, Alex James, Cliff Bastin, Tom Whittaker
Front row: JJ Williams, Charlie Jones
Alf Haynes died on 23 June 1953. Rob adds as a PS, “I would be interested to know more from any similar ancestors or grandchildren of the Compton, John, Holmes family.”