21 April 1930: Leicester 6 Arsenal 6

By Tony Attwood

Day by Day: the videos – An Arsenal video for (almost) every day of the year in order. 

This game took place five days before Arsenal’s FA Cup final against Huddersfield Town and the club rested a number of players.

Arsenal’s David Halliday scored four goals; Arsenal had been 3-1 down at half time and also had a goal disallowed.

Now lest you think this was the Arsenal of the 1930s at the top of their game, it was far from it.  For in 1930 Arsenal were more in danger of relegation than of winning the league, and in fact had not won anything yet.   And it was the fact that they were about to play in the FA Cup final (which they won) which caused them to put out a number of reserve players – including Halliday.

The FA Cup final was in fact later the same week, and not only did Halliday not play in that, he never played for Arsenal again.

The 6-6 score represents the top league’s most goals in a game.  In professional football in England it has only been equalled by Charlton 6 Middlesbrough 6 in the second division on 22 October 1960.

And indeed Arsenal’s other results around this time don’t reflect any particular ability to score goals…

  • 18 April 1930: Arsenal 1 Leicester 1
  • 19 April 1930: Huddersfield 2 Arsenal 2
  • 21 April 1930: Leicester 6 Arsenal 6 (four for Halliday)
  • 26 April 1930: Arsenal 2 Huddersfield 0 (FA Cup Final)
  • 28 April 1930: Arsenal 0 Sunderland 1
  • 3 May 1930: Arsenal 2 Aston Villa 4

Arsenal could technically have been relegated as late as early-April, but it would have taken the strangest set of results for Grimsby, (who had a late mini-revival), Burnley and Everton to have overtaken Arsenal.  It was indeed a league table that was utterly congested at the bottom, and for Arsenal to have sunk, not only would they have had to lose every match, the others would have had to have won against higher placed clubs throughout.

But to turn to happier events.  What of the FA Cup run?  Here it is – the run towards Arsenal’s first major trophy.

Here it is…

Round Date Against Score Crowd
3 Jan 11 Chelsea (h) 2-0 55579
4 Jan 25 Birmingham (h) 2-2 43274
4 replay Jan 29 Birmingham (a) 1-0 47521
5 Feb 15 Middlesbrough (a) 2-0 42073
6 Mar 1 West Ham (a) 3-0 40797
SF Mar 22 Hull (Leeds) 2-2 47549
SF replay Mar 26 Hull (Villa Pk) 1-0 46200
Final Apr 26 Huddersfield (Wembley) 2-0 92486

The draw against Birmingham didn’t inspire confidence, but then Cups are generally won by slipping along unnoticed.

But what of David Halliday, Arsenal’s great hero on this day?

He had come from Sunderland where between 1925 and 1930 he played 166 games and scored an amazing 156 goals.  In his one season with Arsenal he played 15 goals and scored eight, before moving to Manchester City (76 games, 47 goals) and finally Clapton Orient (53 games 33 goals).

After that he had one season in non-league football between retiring in 1937 having played 449 games and scored 336 goals.

In his final year of playing he was also manager of Yeovil, before getting a job managing Aberdeen where he stayed until 1955.  He then had three years managing Leicester.  He then scouted for Leicester in Scotland and died on 5 January 1970, aged just 68.

Just one season for Arsenal, but we should remember that game, and indeed celebrate his remarkable career.

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.

100 Years: 100 Years in the First Division

Leave a Reply

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