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“Making the Arsenal” – is available on Amazon, Arsenal on line, the Woolwich Arsenal site and in the Arsenal store.
by Tony Attwood
Continuing the review of the players who were playing for Arsenal at the start of the Dark Era when we were managed by Swindin and Wright, and went 9 years without a top four finish or a Cup final.
Danny Clapton (July 22, 1934 – June 16, 1986) is number 34 in the official Arsenal.com list of “Gunners Greatest” players.
He was born in Stepney, and played for Leytonstone as an amateur before joining Arsenal in August 1953.
Leytonstone were formed in the same year as Arsenal, but stayed amateur and moved into the Spartan League in 1907, before moving to the Isthmian League, which they won on several occasions – as well as winning the FA Amateur Cup in the days when it was a highly prized competition.
In 1979 after facing relegation they merged with Ilford to form Leytonstone Ilford playing at Green Pond Road, by Walthamstow Avenue which I think is where they still are.
Danny was signed by Tom Whittaker in August 1953 – the summer after winning the first division for the last time before the dark days of Swindin and Wright set in. His first game was on Christmas Day 1954, a 1-0 win over Chelsea in front of 47,178 fans.
He played 16 league games that season, all at number 7, and then became the regular winger, playing 39 games in three of the next four seasons, injury restricting him to 28 games in 1957-8.
He was thus part of Swindin’s team for the 58/9 season in which the club came third – the final success before the Dark Ages, and the following year although slipping back to 23 league games he scored 7 goals – his highest achievement.
He also played one game for England (against Wales, November 26, 1958). That match ended 2-2 and was the match in which, at the close of play, Danny Clapton and Jack Kelsey then went across to Highbury to play in a friendly game against Juventus!
From 1959 onwards his appearances declined, until he made just five appearances in 1961/2 by which time MacLeod and Skirton were sharing the number 7 and 11 shirts most of the time.
Having played 207 league matches plus 18 cup games, and scoring 25 goals (all in the league) he moved to Luton Town in September 1962 before moving on to play for Corinthians of Sydney. By 1970 he was running a pub in Hackney.
His younger brother Dennis played for Arsenal and Northampton Town.
Other articles from this series on Arsenal 1958-1967
- Dave Bowen, the man who should have become our manager
- Gerry Ward
- Dennis Evans
- Bill Dodgin
- Stan Charlton
- Into the darkness: Swindin’s teams and signings
- Into the darkness: Swindin leads us into the nine dead years
- The nine dead years of Arsenal
Earlier series of articles
- Arsenal’s managers
- Arsenal – year by year
- Arsenal statistics through the club’s history
- Players, including updates on what players are doing now
- 100 Years of Hating Arsenal
- Meet the ancestors- stories from the relatives of Arsenal players
- 100 years ago: Woolwich Arsenal in Division One
- The first time I saw Arsenal
- The history of Arsenal and Tottenham
- The Norris Files
- The Corruption Review
- Woolwich Arsenal in the FA Cup – the full series
- Arsenal’s name and how it changed