By Tony Attwood
Day by Day: the videos – An Arsenal video for (almost) every day of the year in order.
Day by Day: the stories– a key moment in Arsenal and footballing history for each day of the year
Arsenal in March – all the anniversaries day by day
1934/5 was the season in which Arsenal won the league for the third time running, and indeed won it three times running under three different managers to wit:
1932/3 under Herbert Chapman, finishing four points above Villa, and scoring 118 goals
1933/4 under Joe Shaw, finishing three points above Huddersfield Town and scoring 75 goals
1934/5 under George Allison, finishing four points above Sunderland and scoring 115 goals.
Within this final season of triumph, Arsenal went on a 13 match unbeaten run which included within it an away victory over Tottenham on 6 March 1935, an 8-0 home win over Manchester City and a 5-3 away win over Leicester.
But less you think any of this was a fluke that season we also had these results earlier in the season:
- Arsenal 8 Liverpool 1
- Arsenal 5 Birmingham 1
- Arsenal 5 Tottenham 1
- Chelsea 2 Arsenal 5
- Arsenal 7 Wolverhampton 0
- Arsenal 8 Leicester 0
- Arsenal 5 Preston 3
You could say we rather liked scoring goals. In fact, Ted Drake liked scoring goals. He played 41 league games that year and scored 42 goals! Cliff Bastin – the Boy Bastin – scored a mere 20 from 36 games.
It was also the time of the introduction of Alf Kirchen, playing at number 7, and reports suggested he overshadowed Bastin – which is possible because he scored two, Drake got two, Dougall and Bastin got one each, as Tottenham tried to beat Arsenal with an offside trap which failed.
Alf Kirchen was born 26 August 1913 in Norfolk and died 18 August 1999. He started out with his local Norwich City and Arsenal signed him for £6000 in March 1935 aged 21. By 1936/7 he was the first choice outside right. In 1937 he got three England caps.
With Arsenal he won the 1937/8 title, and during the war served his country in the RAF as a physical training instructor, playing 116 times for Arsenal, scoring 8 goals.
However in 1943 he was injured playing a wartime game and retired having played 101 league and cup games for Arsenal scoring 45 goals.
He returned to Norwich as a trainer, and then as a farmer, before becoming a director of Norwich City, and President of the Norfolk Arsenal Supporters Club.
As for the whole team on 6 March 1935 it was
Crayston, Sidey, Roberts,
Kirchen, Davidson, Drake, Dougall, Bastin.
What is interesting is it was a fairly patchwork team, with five of the players for Arsenal making one of only a small number of appearances each.
Compton played 5 that season, Sidey 6, Kirchen 7, Davidson 11, and Dougall 8, and still we won 6-0.
Arsenal were top when they played Tottenham but with Sunderland and Manchester City having won in the cup on Saturday, and with Wednesday gaining an extra point on Monday (while Man City lost to Blackburn) Arsenal were now only top on goal difference. But what they had was a game in hand over the nearest rivals and indeed two games in hand over Wednesday. A win would see them pull clear again.
Tottenham had not won since they had beaten Grimsby on Boxing Day. It had been a long decline since they were sixth at the start of October, although they had managed a draw with Sunderland in February.
Four changes were made from the team that were knocked out of the cup. Alf Kirchen came in for his first game, playing at outside right. Dougall continued in his league position of inside left. Leslie Compton got a game, this time at left (instead of right) back, and Sidey took over at centre half.
But if either the cup defeat or the multiple changes gave Arsenal any fears of visiting White Hart Lane they certainly didn’t show them and Arsenal were 0-3 up at half time, ending the game as 0-6 winners. Kirchen got two, Drake two, Dougall one and Bastin a penalty.
Leaving aside two friendly matches in the 1880s, in which Arsenal beat Tottenahm 6-2 (1888) and 10-1 (1889), this was the first time either team had scored six or more. Even though the respective league positions of the two clubs predicted an Arsenal win, it was a result that shook London to the core.
It also meant that Arsenal had one defeat in nine, and re-established their clear lead at the top of the table, while improving their goal average even further.
100 Years in the First Division: the absolute complete story of Arsenal’s promotion in 1919.
Details of other series can be found on our home page and on the column on the right side of this page. In particular you might like to note…
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.