The forgotten Arsenal manager with two league titles and an FA Cup win

Although I suspect most Arsenal fans with even a passing knowing of the history of the club will have heard of George Allison, his is not a name that has the same instant recognition as that of Herbert Chapman.   And yet Allison had the same record of achievement as Chapman, with two league titles as manager and one FA Cup win.

But Allison’s importance goes way beyond this, as he had an association with the club that dates from before 1910 (when we have details of him writing the club programme) and lasted until he retired as manager in 1947 after the first post-war season.  What’s more he was a figure of national renown as the voice of football commentaries on radio, and as a very famous journalist of high esteem in his own right.

Yet he is even more important than this, because his autobiography which was published at the same time as that of ex-manager Leslie Knighton, helps us realise that everything in Arsenal’s past was not as Knighton pretended.

Allison became manager of Arsenal on this day in 1934.  Here are all the anniversaries…

28 May 1900: Frank Lloyd transferred to Aston Villa, after just one season with Arsenal in which he played 18 league games and scored three goals.  His transfer date is also quoted as 26 May in some quarters.

28 May 1914: Frank Bradshaw signed from Everton.  He played in the final pre-war season and then in the four seasons immediately after the war totalling 132 league games with 14 goals.

28 May 1934: George Allison became the manager of Arsenal.  Upon the sudden death of Herbert Chapman, Allison had acted as middleman between the board of Jo Shaw.  Shaw immediately (and seemingly happily) returned to his duties with the reserves at the end of his triumphal season, and Allison took on the role, ending his reign after the first post-war season having won the league twice and the FA Cup.

28 May 1937: Reg Lewis made first senior appearance in a friendly v Copenhagen and scored twice as Arsenal won 4-1.  His scoring knack continued through his time at Arsenal and he ended his career with 103 league goals in 154 games.

28 May 1956: Johnny Petts signed as a professional.  Although he stayed at the club for five years he only made 32 appearances before moving on to Reading.

28 May 1976: Jimmy Rimmer made his only appearance for England, in a 3-2 win against Italy in New York.

28 May 1977: Wimbledon, champions of the Southern League, were elected to the Fourth Division at the expense of Workington.  They went on to beat Liverpool in the cup final in 1988 and stopped Liverpool winning the double.

28 May 1999: Oleg Luzhny joined Arsenal for £1.8m from Dynamo Kyiv. He had been the captain of the side that got to the semi-finals of the 1999 Champions League, beating Real Madrid and Barcelona en route.

28 May 2013: Kyle Ebecilio moved to FC Twente on a free transfer.  He had come to Arsenal from Feyenoord and never played for the Arsenal first team but played for the Netherlands at every level from under 16 to under 21.


We have a small number of copies of  “Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football”  and “Making the Arsenal” now available as printed books.  They are also available on Kindle.    Please see here for more details.

The series

Henry Norris at the Arsenal:  There is a full index to the series here.

Arsenal in the 1930s: The most comprehensive series on the decade ever

Arsenal in the 1970s: Every match and every intrigue reviewed in detail.

The anniversaries

Details of all the 6000+ anniversaries that we have recorded can be found in the 12 Anniversary files listed on the right side of this page under the word “Pages”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *