by Tony Attwood
Reginald Robert Stockill, known as Reg was born on 24 November 1913 in York. Although he only played a handful of games for Arsenal he should always be remembered for what he did on 27 August 1932. For on that day there was a football result which read Birmingham 0 Arsenal 1. It was the opening day of the season, and Reg got the goal.
But it was more than just that, for this was the first match in the extraordinary three year run in which Arsenal were champions three times running – under three different managers. And Reg was the man who started it all off.
However this was not his first achievement that would go down in history. For although he was only 18 when he scored that opener for Arsenal he was already in the record books as being the England Schoolboy international who aged 15 years 281 days scored York City’s first-ever goal in the Football League against Wigan Borough.
And yet he was, utterly amazingly, allowed to leave the club after just two games, and went to Scarborough who in 1929/30 became Midland League Champions.
It was while he was still at Scarborough and still aged just 17 years 6 months that Arsenal signed him. And yet despite all his promise and success he couldn’t get further goals…
|27 Apr 1932||Huddersfield Town v Arsenal||W||1-2||League Division One|
|30 Apr 1932||Arsenal v Middlesbrough||W||5-0||League Division One|
|07 May 1932||Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers||W||4-0||League Division One|
|27 Aug 1932||Birmingham City v Arsenal||W||0-1||League Division One|
|31 Aug 1932||Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion||L||1-2||League Division One|
|27 Dec 1932||Leeds United v Arsenal||D||0-0||League Division One|
|25 Feb 1933||Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers||W||8-0||League Division One|
So what went wrong?
Reg Stockill made his debut against Huddersfield Town on 27 April 1932 and played the last three games of 1931-32 and the first two of 1932-33, scoring in both, before being displaced by Ernie Coleman. He only played two more games for Arsenal, his final appearance being in the 8-0 win over Blackburn, in which Stockill again scored. After playing in the reserves for the 1933-34 season he moved to Derby County in September 1934. In total he played 8 games for Arsenal, (one in the cup) scoring four goals.
At Derby he suffered a serious knee injury on Boxing Day 1934 which kept him out of the game for fifteen months. But he stayed at Derby for five seasons and played 66 league appearances scoring 29 goals before moving to Luton in 1939 playing the first three games of the season – before football was suspended due to the declaration of war on Germany.
At the present I have no details of Reg’s work during the war, nor what he did after the conflict was over, only that he died on 24 December 1995, aged 82. If you have any more information please do write in. And as a footnote I notice that Dean Hayes has his name as Reginald Stockhill, but I think the correct spelling is without the “h”.
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