10 trophies in 16 seasons – the start of Arsenal’s glory.

I am not sure how many Arsenal fans truly understood the extent of Arsenal’s rise to the top from 1930 onwards, and how it took in three full time and one temporary manager.  Nor indeed how when it came to an end, we came upon The Big Sleep (as John Sowman’s wonderful book on 1953 to 1970 calls the era).

But it is worth considering that period as we remember Tom Whittaker on the date of his birth.

In 1930 Arsenal won the FA Cup – their first major trophy. In the 16 seasons from 1930 to 1953 (remembering of course football stopped for the second world war) Arsenal won the FA Cup three times and the league title seven times.  Ten major trophies in 16 seasons, having never won a single major trophy before that.  And then it all stopped again.

Two of the managers of the era (Chapman and Whittaker) died in their post, both having won the league twice and the FA Cup once.  In between came the man who started writing the Arsenal programme in 1910 – George Allison, who won the league and cup the same number of times – two leagues and one cup.  The other league title was won in the season Chapman died – the manager for the remainder of the season was Joe Shaw, although it appears he was guided by George Allison.

So 16 seasons of unrivalled triumph and then just about the same time of absolutely nothing.  It just shows nothing lasts for ever, and Arsenal certainly don’t have any automatic right to be at the top.

Here are the anniversaries.


21 July 1898: Tom Whittaker born in Aldershot.   His prime interest in his early days was in being a marine engineer, but he was spotted playing football while serving his country, and in 1919 signed for Arsenal.  As Arsenal manager after the second world war, he won the league twice and the Cup once, as did Allison and Chapman before him.

21 July 1953: Brian Talbot born in Ipswich.  He started his career with Ipswich Town in 1968 before graduating to the first team in 1972 playing 177 games for the club.

21 July 1987: Alan Smith’s first appearance for Arsenal, in the Barrie Vassallo Testimonial.  He had transferred from Leicester City where he had played alongside Gary Lineker, but was immediately loaned back to the club until the summer of 1987.

21 July 2000: Tommy Black and Julian Gray released to Crystal Palace.  Black played in the Youth League winning side of 1998 and both players won promotion with Palace in 2004.

21 July 2005: Samir Nasri fractured his right fibula during a training session while playing for Marseilles.

21 July 2014: Wellington Silva loaned to Almeria until June 2015. He was then able to obtain a Spanish passport through length of residence meaning he could play anywhere in the EU.


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