By Tony Attwood
After winning the league and playing their one friendly match (see the article on April and May 1938) Arsenal’s season was over. However there was, as always, other activity for the Arsenal players and the club during the summer. They may even have indulged in going to the races.
On 14 May 1938 England played an international against Germany in Berlin which England won 6-3, Hapgood and Bastin being Arsenal’s players in the game, and Tom Whittaker the trainer. In front of 105,000 people Cliff Bastin England volleyed a rebound after Jakob saved a Goulden shot on 16 minutes for the opening goal.
The match is particularly remembered for the fact that Sir Neville Henderson, the British Ambassador in Germany, had advised Stanley Rous, the FA Secretary that the England team should give the Nazi salute for the betterment of Anglo-German relations after it became clear that the German team had been ordered to respect the English national anthem.
The match was attended by Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess and Joseph Goebbels but not Adolf Hitler, who was expected, but did not attend.
According to reports, in these days the England team, played without any special training sessions. The score was something as a surprise as this was a fairly inexperienced English team with only the Arsenal players in the side having made more than 10 international appearances.
On 21 May England played Switzerland, with the same Arsenal representatives in the team. England lost 2-1 with Bastin getting the England goal from a penalty. According to the match report “The match was started in the novel way of dropping the ball from an aeroplane, which, after circling round, swooped down on the field. The pilot was a deadly shot, and the ball fell accurately in the centre of the field.”
1 June saw the arrival in service of the Bren light machine gun in the British Army – perhaps not widely noted at the time but certainly noted significantly within a year. And on 9 July again as a sign of things to come, gas masks were issued to the population at large.
On a lighter note however on 30 July the first edition of the Beano comic went on sale while those who liked slightly more serious matters would have been eagerly reading the new summer publications including “Brighton Rock” (Graham Greene), “Scoop” (Evelyn Waugh) and the hit novel of the year “The Code of the Woosters” by PG Wodehouse.
Back with football on 4 August 1938 George Allison broke the UK transfer record signing Bryn Jones from arch-rivals of the season just gone, Wolverhampton for £14,000. Sadly the publicity this brought seemed to play on Bryn Jones’ mind and he did not reach heights expected in his first season. However many is the player who has developed considerably in his second season but for Jones it was not to be, as the war removed most of his career. (See also here).
On the left above is the cover of the programme for the Germany v England match showing Cliff Bastin as a the symbol of England, on the right Bryn Jones having signed for Arsenal for a world record fee, but still having to undertake the delicate manipulations of his boots, with a hammer. These pictures come from “Too dearly loved to be forgotten.” Full details of this remarkable book and details of how to obtain it are included in the Untold-Arsenal review here.
We believe there was an Arsenal vs Arsenal Reserves match on 13 August at Highbury, but no record of the score is available. And for the next week Great Britain and the United States contest the inaugural Amateur World Series in baseball, played in the north of England. Britain won every match. Of course the Cheltenham bonus wasn’t available them but if it had been (as it is now) there would have been some great odds.
Then on 20 August 1938 came a rather unusual event – a pre-season friendly against another club. This was a game v Tottenham and Bryn Jones played. It was not an auspicious occasion for the Champions against the second division side as Arsenal lost 0-2. The Arsenal team was
Male Joy Hapgood
Giffiths L Jones Drake B Jones Bastin
The first league match of the season was played the following saturday, on 27 August where the Arsenal handbook 1938/9 was on sale. Here’s the cover. Design perhaps was not the club’s strong point.
Arsenal in the 30s
- 1: Life in 1930 and winning the first major trophy.
- 2: The cup winners who dropped out and the players who came in
- 3: How Chapman put his triumphant 1931 team together.
- 4: September 1930; played 8 won 7 drawn 1.
- 5: October 1930: A stumble, Villa are close behind, Man U have 12 defeats in a row.
- 6: November 1930: Scoring 5 in three games in one month.
- 7: December 1930: 3 games in 3 days and 14 goals scored.
- 8: January 1931: the biggest league win ever at Highbury
- 9: February 1931: the goals just won’t stop coming.
- 10: March 1931: hope, defeat, hope
- 11: April 1931: Arsenal win the league for the very first time.
- 12: Arsenal in the summer of 1931, the records and the Scandinavian tour
- 13: Arsenal in shock – July and August 1931
- 14: September 1931; the champions recover from a poor start.
- 15: October 1931: Arsenal lose to Grimsby
- 16: November 1931: Chapman’s exasperation with goal keepers
- 17: December 1931: A scoring sensation but a dreadful month
- 18: January 1932: A return to form and a record score
- 19: February 1932: From a faltering start to nine wins in a row
- 20: March 1932: Huge crowds, an emergency signing, better results, another semi-final
- 21: April 1932: Film of Arsenal in the Cup Final, and attempts to win the league.
- 22: Arsenal in the summer of 1932. Arsenal runners up in league and cup, Man U’s average gate drops below Plymouth’s, Stanley Matthews first game, and the greatest run in Arsenal’s entire history is about to begin.
- 23: August 1932 – preparing for the ultimate greatness.
- 24: September 1932: Arsenal’s first steps into immortality
- 25: October 1932: The rise to the stars
- 26: November 1932: Records fall, greatness beckons.
- 27: December 1932: Greatness and supremacy
- 28: January 1933: Top of the league and defeated by Walsall.
- 29: February 1933: New shirts, awful weather, a record score
- 30: March 1933: Top of the league but a month to forget
- 31: April/May 1933: Champions for the second time
- 32: 1929/33: All the men who played in the League for Arsenal.
- 33: Arsenal in the summer 1933: Champions and water shortages
- 34: August/September 1933 – the start of the new season.
- 35: October 1933 – a return to progress
- 36: November 1933 – displacing Tottenham.
- 37: December 1933: Chapman’s last month; Arsenal triumphant
- 38: January 1934: The death of Chapman
- 39: February 1934. Chapman is gone, but the club moves on.
- 40: March 1934. Chapman’s two teams fight for the title
- 41: April 1934. Joe Shaw wins the league for Chapman
- 42: 1933/34 League players, and how the goals declined but the crowds went up.
- 43: Arsenal in the summer 1934: Allison takes over from Shaw and Chapman.
- 44: August/Sep 1934: Allison starts with a bang
- 45: October 1934 – Arsenal finally blow away the north London curse
- 46: November 1934: vying for the top of the league, and the Battle of Highbury
- 47: Arsenal in December 1934: two steps forward, two steps back.
- 48: January 1935: Suddenly Arsenal’s form turns upside down
- 49: February 1935. Despite one slip, Arsenal remain top.
- 50: March 1935: Beating Tottenham by a record score
- 51: April/May 1935: Winning the league for the third time in succession.
- 52: Arsenal in the Summer 1935 after three championships in a row
- 53: September 1935: After three successive championships things get sticky
- 54: October 1935: Ok but not good enough
- 55: November 1935; Drake starts scoring again.
- 56: December 1935: beating the record, and record confusions. Ted Drake before and after the magnificent seven.
- 57: January 1936: the league won’t be won, but what about the FA Cup…
- 58: February 1936: an early example of rotational selection
- 59: March 1936: Wembley again but player rotation starts affecting the crowds
- 60: April/May 1936; Arsenal win the Cup. A match report and season’s end
- 61: Arsenal in the Summer of 1936
- 62: Arsenal players 1934/5 and 1935/36: the fundamental problem with the team
- 63: August / Sept 1936: 20 different players used in the first seven league games
- 64: October 1936: Arsenal in free fall
- 65: November 1936: Arsenal reborn, TV starts, the king demands, the palace burns down.
- 66: December 1936: Top of the league as the king steps down.
- 67: January 1937: Arsenal unbeaten as the goalkeepers change (again).
- 68: February 1937: Seven in the cup, and all to play for in the league
- 69: March 1937: Arsenal top but Man City close in
- 70: April / May 1937: Arsenal slip back and Man City triumph – for the moment
- 71: Arsenal players 1936/7, Arsenal crowds in the 30s, and comparisons with earlier years
- 72: Arsenal in the summer: the overseas tour of 1937
- 73: Arsenal in August and September 1937: a brilliant start and a TV first.
- 74: Arsenal in October 1937: Allison decides it is time for a total change.
- 75: Arsenal in Nov 1937; a tactical signing changes the game
- 76: Arsenal in December 1937; a settled team and a revival
- 77: Arsenal in January 1938: two steps backwards but a new genius emerges.
- 78: Arsenal in February 1938: a true resurgence takes us top of the league.
- 79: March 1938: Arsenal at the top and a fifth title looks possible
- 80: April/May 1938: from no titles to five in one decade – and the most amazing title of them all.