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The man with 98 goals in 143 games – who was jeered by his own supporters.

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I’ve been interested over the years to trace back the behaviour of the Arsenal crowd in order to ascertain if the booing and jeering of players that we have seen in recent times is just a current phenomenon or whether it is part of a pattern of behaviour.

This being the anniversary of the defeat of Sheffield Wednesday in 1932 by 9 goals to 2, it is a chance to consider the case of Jack Lambert who scored five in that game, and who scored more hat tricks in the league for Arsenal than any other player in the club’s history.

In all he scored 98 goals in 143 league and cup games, which might make one think he was a hero to all the fans, but no – he was regularly jeered and booed by Arsenal fans.

The reason, as far as I can ascertain from newspaper reports is that he would forever try the seemingly impossible, and as a result might trip over his own feet, miss the ball completely, fire the shot very high or very wide etc.   But of course those figures show that he also hit the net many many times with an incredible goal scoring ratio.

And yet he was booed which must tell us something.

Here are the anniversaries.

24 December 1894: New Brompton 5 Arsenal 0.  Despite playing 30 league games in the season, Arsenal also played 31 friendly games.  New Brompton played in Gillingham, and with the grounds just 28 miles apart this was something of a local derby between two Kent teams.  The crowd was 5,000, similar to many league game crowds at the time.

24 December 1904.  A 1-0 win over Sheffield U gave Arsenal three wins in a row in the first division for the first time, with the club playing five games in seven days.  The result left Arsenal in a very satisfactory 9th position in the league.

24 December 1927: Cliff Bastin’s first ever game, Exeter Reserves v Bath City in the Southern League.  He went on to play 17 times for Exeter’s first team in 1928/9 before moving on to Arsenal.

24 December 1932: Arsenal 9 Sheffield Wed 2.  This meant that thus far in the season Arsenal had in different games scored 6, 7, 8 and 9 goals.  (Lambert scored 5 – which turned out to be his final hatrick (plus 2!) It was his 12th hat trick – more than any other player in the club’s history).

24 December 1938: John Barnwell born.  After playing as an amateur for Bishop Auckland he moved to Arsenal in 1955 turned pro in 1956 and started playing for the first team in the match against Sunderland on 13 April 1957.

24 December 1949: Arsenal 5 Sunderland 0.  Amazingly it was Arsenal’s only league win in a run of nine games.  Despite this poor run Arsenal ended the year in fourth position, but more importantly went on to win the FA Cup.

24 December 1955:  Chelsea 2 Arsenal 0.   This was the last league game Arsenal played on Christmas eve.  43,022 turned up.

24 December 1958: Stan Charlton sold back to Leyton O from whence he had come, this being Arsenal’s only ever transfer on Xmas Eve!   He became the captain and was still with Orient when they made their one and only appearance in the first division.  Orient’s first match that season was at home to Arsenal and the editor of the Anniversary files was there to see it with his dad.

24 December 1995: Reg Stockill died.  Although now forgotten at Arsenal he achieved fame twice.  First as an England Schoolboy international aged 15 years 281 days he scored York City’s first-ever goal in the Football League.  Second on 27 August 1932 he scored the goal in Birmingham 0 Arsenal 1. This was the first match in the run in which Arsenal were champions three times running – under three different managers.

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