Ben Marden: league winner and star of our triumph at Anfield

By Tony Attwood

Reuben John “Ben” Marden was born on 10 Feb 1927.  He was an outside left and joined Arsenal from Chelmsford City in 1950 and over a five year spell (spent mostly in the reserves) played 42 games for Arsenal scoring 11.

Season Games  Goals
1950/51 11 2
1951/2 7 2
1952/3 8 4
1953/4 9 3
1954/5 7 0

He played his first game on 3 March 1951 – a 1-3 away defeat to Manchester United, during the era of Tom Whittaker as manager.  Jack Kelsey was making his second appearance, and the match concluded a dreadful run of two draws and three defeats.  On a broader perspective it was part of a run in which Arsenal won just one in 13 – and yet they still finished the season in fifth, thanks to much better spells in November and April.

Ben kept his place in the team for the rest of the season, replacing Roper who was injured.

He then continued as an occasional player, as the chart shows above, and his last match with us was on 12 March 1954, a 2-0 home win against Aston Villa.

He was of course at Arsenal for the 1952/3 championship season, but again as shown above, only played eight times.  However most importantly he played on 1 May 1953 in the dramatic final game of the season in which Arsenal beat Burnley to win the league on goal average.

The other great moment of his career came also in that season on 15 November 1952 with the game that ended Liverpool 1 Arsenal 5

Don Roper was a near all-game man that season, playing on the left and right wing but he was injured in the previous match – a 2-1 home win against Middlesbrough – hence Ben’s inclusion.

But if there were concerns about Ben Marden he set them aside.  scoring two while Holton got the other three.  The win took Arsenal up to fourth with a game in hand over the leaders (Wolverhampton).

In June 1955 Ben Marden left Arsenal, having a Football Combination medal, but no league winner’s medal (having not played enough games in the 1952/3 season.)

His next and final club was Watford, then of the Third Division South, for whom he played his first match on 20 August 1955, where in a strange twist of fate both he and Les Graham scored on their debuts – a 4-2 win over Millwall.  At Watford he scored 11 goals in 42 league appearances, a very similar record to his time at Arsenal, and left the club in the summer of 1957.

After that Ben played for Bedford Town and then Romford and is also reported to have worked as a coach at Romford for a while

Sadly I have no other information about his life, either before or after football.  If you know anything please do let me know.  I think I’ve managed to pull together a little more than elsewhere, but I admit, it’s not much.

Ben died on 9 March 2009, just a few days after his 82nd birthday.  As it was a recent occasion I do hope that a member of the family or friend might get in touch to offer a little more information as has happened with so many other players mentioned on this site.

Arsenal History Index

7 Replies to “Ben Marden: league winner and star of our triumph at Anfield”

  1. Tony , read your comments to me on UA regarding Ben Marden and was suitably intrigued and came on here . The date should be 1951 and not 1961 .
    Thanks for this gem.
    Cheers !

  2. Bucks Gooner.

    Hi, I saw Ben Marden score a hat-trick for Arsenal at The Valley in the early 1950s. Score Charlton Athletic 1 Arsenal 5. I believe the crowd was over 70,000. My dad took us and I remember we stood on a really steep terrace on the side of the ground.
    Good little player, Ben Marden!

  3. Hi, I’m Ben mardens grandson so thought I’d say hi incase you needed any more info.. it’s a shame he didn’t get a winners medal.. I often wonder if he would get a retrospective one these days seeing as Defoe got one recently etc. Yes he was trainer at Romford (the days of magic sponge and little else)
    He was a lovely lovely man, very kind and generous and humble. He had a ball from a Hatrick at Norwich that you could hardly lift!! No wonder so many goals at that time were scored along the ground! Regards Neil x

  4. Hi Neil, I was at the Arsenal Burnley game I was 11 years old, don’t honestly remember much about the game, but little did I realise that 40 years later I would have the privilege of meeting your Grandfather Ben, I became Manager of the Falcon Bowls Club were I met Ben and your Grandmother, two really lovely people, I think at times I drove Ben crazy with all my questions, he always had time to tell me stories of his time at the Arsenal, like I said one lovely man.Tony

  5. Hi Neil

    My dad once told me that he had a cousin who played for Arsenal, and as I’ve been working on my family tree ove rteh last few years that’s one of the family legends that I’ve been keen to get to the bottom. It seems plausible: my family has been littered with Reubens down the years (e.g. me, my uncle, my grandfather, his grandfather, etc), and there’s a Chelmsford connection too (my family having roots in Writtle). My sons are both Gooners, so I know that they would get a kick out of it if it turned out that Ben was a distant cousin. Leaving this post here in case you get notified of a reply.




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