Alf Haynes

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

Season League games League goals
1929/30 13 0
1930/1 2 0
1931/2 7 0
1932/3 6 0
1933/4 1 0
Total 29 0

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!

Cup Kings: Arsenal's triumphant FA Cup side after a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town at Wembley

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.”

7 Replies to “Alf Haynes”

  1. Hi Rob. I’ve been doing geneaology for over twenty years and can tell you that between 1900 and 1911 there were
    only four Alfred Edward Haynes born in England.

    1901 St Olaves Southwark, London
    1905 Greenwich, London
    1906 Hoxne Suffolk
    1910 Hastings Sussex.

    Hope that doesn’t cause to much confusion.

  2. Hi Bob

    I have consulted my mother. You are correct, I believe now that Alf was indeed born in 1906 in the village of Hoxne Mid Suffolk, about five miles from Diss in Norfolk. Hoxne being of remarkable archaeological importance, as the find-spot in 1992 of the Hoxne Hoard,the largest hoard of late Roman silver and gold discovered in Britain. Including the largest hoard (14,865) of gold, silver and bronze coins found anywhere within the Roman Empire. And 200 items of silver tableware and gold jewelery, objects now held in the British Museum in London valued in 1993 at £1.75m (today £2.66m)

    I believe Alf Haynes, then moved to St Frideswides in Oxford with his family mother, father and brother. His father working as a horse & carriage Footman to the Blenheim Palace Estate in Oxford.

    When living in Oxford, Haynes must have started with Oxford City, joining Arsenal in 1928 as a right half and right back.

  3. Love that team photograph of the squad that won the FA Cup 1930. All the players who made an appearance in that years competition are in it so a good chance to see what some of the lesser known looked like. These days of course they would all have got a winners medal but then strictly only the eleven who played were awarded with one. Many fans seem to think that squads are a modern developement but Arsenal certainly disprove this. No substitutes allowed then so instead of sitting on a bench the reserves had their own competition, the London/Football combination league which they strived, rather successfully, to win. I sometimes think that these players were more match fit than modern players who get so little match time when not starting games so get injured more, despite all the fitness science of today. Maybe I’m wrong so what do you think?

    Interestingly David Halliday is not featured as he didn’t play a cup game but his four goals in the 6-6 draw with Leicester City in the last league match a few days before the final must have given Herbert Chapman a pleasant problem of who to choose as centre forward between him and Jack Lambert. A similar problem which Arsene Wenger had this year whether to choose Olivier Giroud or Theo Walcott, who scored a hat trick in also the last game before the final. Both managers came to different decisions but both appear to have been correct as both scored crucial goals. In fact Lambert’s seemed to be a Walcott style goal based on speed leaving everyone behind him, having to congratulate himself alone on the way back to centre circle.

    That high scoring draw was a disaster for goalkeeper Dan Lewis who was I believe returning after injury and it must have shattered his confidence so Chapman’s selection in goal, Charlie Preedy, was made easier. A shame as he was unable to make amends for three years earlier and never played a first team game again. Wenger had the luxury of two fit keepers with one on the bench. Arsenal had many fine players who clocked up a lot of games in the reserves and when stepping up to the first team would fit in effortlessly as used to playing in the same style. That too was a key to the Arsenal success which in 1930 was just beginning.

  4. Wow, thanks for putting up this information along with the photograph! I’m Alf’s great grandson and it’s nice to read about his accomplishments and place in history.

    Rob Webb, my email is and it would be nice to get in touch as you must be a first cousin once removed! I’m the grandson of Bob Haynes, Alf’s son.

  5. Hi Daniel

    I am also a great grandchild to Alf haynes, I am granddaughter to Linda Alfs daughter.

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