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When Arsenal were fined for fielding a weakened team

By Tony Attwood

On February 29 1936 Arsenal beat Barnsley 4-1 at Highbury in the 6th round of the FA Cup.  With other clubs playing League matches that day Arsenal now had a couple of games in hand, but clearly had little chance of winning the League.  However being in the semi-final Arsenal had every chance of winning the cup.

P W D L F A
1 Sunderland 31 21 4 6 86 47 46
2 Huddersfield Town 31 15 8 8 48 44 38
3 Derby County 30 14 9 7 44 29 37
4 Stoke City 31 15 5 11 47 43 35
5 Birmingham City 30 12 9 9 43 40 33
6 Portsmouth 29 13 6 10 42 45 32
7 Arsenal 27 12 7 8 57 32 31

From this point on, new names started to appear in the Arsenal team for league games – players who had not made a single appearance before, during the season.  Players like  Cartwright (left half and right half), Kirchen (outside right), Cox (centre forward), Tuckett (centre half), Westcott (centre forward) and Bernard Joy, (centre half).   Additionally Dougall, who had made one earlier appearance got a a run of games at inside left.

These players notched up 30 games between them during the remainder of the season – but (not surprisingly) not one of them played either in the semi-final of the Cup on 21 March against Grimsby, nor in the final on 25 April against ~Sheffield United.

On 4 March 1936 Arsenal beat Derby County away 4-0 which given Derby’s position in the league (see above) was a fair vindication of the team selection by George Allison, especially as new men Dougall, Kirchen and Cox all scored.  But then Arsenal only won one game in the League from the next ten, and that is what made the League see red (as it were).

Despite playing some reserves in the first team, and despite winning only two games in the last 14, Arsenal still came in 6th at the end of the season.  But with three games to go before the end of the season Arsenal had won the cup on 25 April beating Sheffield U 1-0.

So 8 June 1936 at a hearing Arsenal were fined £250 for not putting out their strongest team.

But what of the players?  I’ve never seen anyone do a report on them – so (probably for the first time ever) here’s a quick summary.

Sidney Cartwright continued to make occasional appearances for Arsenal after his 5 games in 1935/6, with two, six, and three appearances as a wing half during the next three seasons.  However he did not return after the war, being by then 35, and did not play professionally again.

Alf Kirchen had played 7 games in 1934/5 and got six games in 1935/6.  He went on to be a mainstream player for Arsenal and made 92 league appearances and scored 38 goals, before the war also stopped his career.

George Cox played five games in 1935/6, to add to his two in 1933/4, and then went on to play for Fulham and Luton.

Ernest Tuckett made two appearances in 1935/6 before moving on to Bradford City.  He died in 1943.

Ronald Westcott’s two appearances and one goal in 1935/6 were the total of his first team appearances for Arsenal.  His appearance was the tragedy of the affair – for he was a very promising centre forward, but he got a knee injury in his second match and never played professional football again.

Bernard Joy made his first two appearances in 1935/6, but went on to play 86 games as an amateur for Arsenal, and was captain of the British Olympic football team.

Peter Dougall played 21 games and scored four goals over the three seasons from 1933/4 to 1935/6, before moving on to Everton and Bury.

 

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7 comments to When Arsenal were fined for fielding a weakened team

  • Gord

    Wikipedia has a short entry on Sidney Cartwright, based in part on 11v11’s article on him. He is credited with 16 appearances and 2 goals in his time at Arsenal.

    He was born in Kiveton Park on 1910 July 16. Which is the same place Herbert Chapman was from. Coincidence he joined Arsenal about the time Chapman died (and Chapman having been in Kiveton Park about that time as well)?

    There is nothing mentioned about him having passed away at Wikipedia. I can’t track down anything more about him.

  • Gord

    There is a fairly long entry on Alfred John “Alf” Kirchen at Wikipedia. TheGuardian also has an obituary on him at:

    http://www.theguardian.com/news/1999/aug/26/guardianobituaries.brianglanville

  • Gord

    George Cox “Junior”
    Born: 1911 August 23 Warham, Sussex
    Died: 1985 March 30 Burgess Hill, Sussex
    Arsenal.com credits him with scoring 1 goal.

    It seems football was just a minor part of his sporting life, he seems to have had quite the career in cricket (of which I know nothing). His father (also named George) also played cricket for the same county (presumably Sussex?), which is why he was called Junior (or did he actually have Junior as part of his name?). He is listed as being of first class standing from 1931 to 1961, and is credited with 455 matches. Apparently 1937 was the year he really blossomed.

  • Gord

    I am going to assume there was some new information for Cox and Cartwright then(?).

    A person in South Africa has a website with a little bit about just about every Arsenal pplayer (including some of these lads). leesun.co.za/Players.php is the end of the URL.

    ArsenalHellas.gr mentions Ernest William Tuckett while leesun uses “Ernie”. 11v11 says Mar 28 away to Wolves and May 2 home to Leeds, both games ending 2-2.

    Leesun gives a birth date of 1914-01-01, which makes me think there must be a birth announcement somewhere. Or was it not common to list New Years babies then?

    There are (at least) 3 pages at MargateFCHistory which touch on Earnie Tuckett. He played 70+ games for Margat in the 1934-36 time frame apparently. One page:
    http://www.margatefchistory.com/rules.shtml
    has searchable text which mentions Ernie Tuckett, as well as images of newspaper clippings. In there is news of his death (conflicts with your 1943 date):
    > Ernie was sadly killed in an airfield accident whilst serving in the RAF on 27.5.45, shortly after the end of World War II. He was only 31 at the time.

    A comment in a Not 606 thread says that this airfield accident was in Yorkshire.
    http://www.not606.com/showthread.php/173357-Craven-Cottage/page2

    There are other pages at MargateFCHistory which mention Ernie Tuckett, but the pages have little or no searchable text (images of newspaper clippings). I believe there is a photograph in there of him.

  • Gord

    I can find almost nothing on Ronald Westcott. Leesun lists his birthdate as 1910-09-19. I am going to guess that Westcott is too common a name for it to be likely that Dennis Westcott (7 years younger) is a relative? They were both forwards.

  • Gord

    Tried some more for Ronald Westcott. Forgot to mention that Leesun calls him “Ronnie”.

    11v11 lists his birthplace as Wallesey, which has to be a mis-spelling of Wallasey. Which is the same birthplace as Dennis Westcott, who played for Wolves and is 7 years younger.

    I ran across a couple of PDFs about Chester in 1910. There is a William Westcott who was a beer retailer at 41 Henry Street (list of businesses?). In Kelly’s Professional and Trades Directory, under the section Carpenters & Joiners, is a Thomas Westcott who lived at 151 Wallasey Village (pg 37 of 128).

    http://cheshiredirectories.manuscripteye.com/pdf/1910/04a/section.pdf

    I think it likely that Thomas Westcott is Ronald’s father, and that Dennis Westcott is likely his younger brother. Maybe that helps others to find out more about this person who only had a 2 game career.

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