Winning the cup in 1950

I’ve already written a piece about Arsenal’s road to the cup final in 1950.  It was a journey, just like that of 2014, in which Arsenal never left London – something that the press then, as in 2014, noted.

But in 1950 there was no rampant anti-Arsenal agenda in the press, and the coverage of the game suggested that Arsenal thoroughly deserved their win.  According to reports, “Arsenal played the more considered and more formal football,” were “a shade faster, cleverer and toughter,” and that Arsenal “first psychologically and then practically dictated the terms and pattern of the play.”

One player was singled out however: Alex Forbes.  His dribbles, and first time passes and overall brilliance were seen as the key to everything Arsenal did.  And the long diagonal pass was the repeated trick that opened up Liverpool.  Liverpool’s only response was to try and “bustle the ball forwards” and it simply didn’t work.

In short, Arsenal made the ball do the work, Liverpool set out a line of forwards across the pitch and tried to make them do the work.  Arsenal swapped their forwards around all the time, Liverpool never knew who was where or who to follow and ultimately they tired.

For the first goal Forbes passed to Logie, who found space to put Lewis through a few yards from goal.  The Liverpool keeper was slow off his line, Lewis flicked the bball over him.

And the goal made Arsenal settle.  Where once they were good now they were superb and dominant.  Where once Liverpool were scrapping for the ball, now they were chasing shadows.

18 minutes into the second half Cox passed to Goring, Goring found Lewis unmarkered in the inside right position, and shot perfectly into the right hand corner.

Arsenal could have had a third but for the form of the Liverpool keeper Sidlow.  Liverpool kept trying but the finish and directness was missing.

The King presented the trophy and the Queen presented the medals.


Scott Barnes

Forbes L Compton Mercer

Mercer Cox Logie Goring Lewis D Compton


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