Arsenal: Champions of England


Gf60 writes;

Friday May 1st 1953, 2 months short of my 11th birthday and I’m allowed to go unaccompanied to my first night game.

It is the last game of the season…… Burnley. A win makes us League champions. A draw or loss makes for tears. Burnley had feelings for their near neighbours *(Preston and scared the pants off us. Jimmy McIlroy, one of the best)* post war players, pulled back a goal with 15 minutes to go

I have the official entrance fee of 6d in the pocket, but split it 3d of the gate keeper, (and more importantly) 3d left in mine for a thing is to find another youngster and through we go.

Not a full house by any means, it was an early’ish kick off, maybe 5.30 (6.30) so many still many working.

Arsenal’s line up – no subs in 1953.
Goalkeeper; George Swindin

Right back Lionel Smith

Left back Joe Wade

Centre half Ray Daniel

Midfielder Ben Marden

Wing half Alex Forbes

Wing half Joe Mercer and captain

Centre Forward/Wing half Peter Goring

Winger Don Roper

Inside right Doug Lishman

Inside left Jimmy Logie

Tears not far away; the game had hardly started but on 8 minutes Joe Mercer of all people sliced a cross cum shot and it is tapped in by Stephenson for the visitors (0-1) but two minutes later Alex Forbes had a go from some 30 yards. I’m probably biased but am sure that ball was still rising. Doug Lishman edged up ahead on 15 minutes, Jimmy Logie sent us all doolally and half  time arrived with us having a 2 goal cushion.

Surely more to come? No, that’s not the Arsenal way. Burnley had feelings for their near neighbours post war players, pulled back a goal with 15 minutes to go and we started clock watching. That bloody clock. If we were needed to equalise, it sped up. I kid you not. But if we were under pressure, as sure as God made that night, it felt like it had stopped. One minute felt like 10. Joe and Alex working like Trojans, George relief and an oh so happy cry of “Champions” at the final whistle.

Arsenal-v-Burnley-programme-cover 2.jpg

34 comments on “Arsenal: Champions of England

  1. Another great piece gf60! Keep them coming, these are endlessly fascinating, and what a game to have attended.
    I only knew three names from that team, so you bring to life those other players, half forgotten, perhaps in theses times, but articles like this, bring them alive again.
    Long may it be so!


    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nice one man.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Brilliant again, these excursions through gf60’s mind are quite fantastic from an emotional and historical point of view. Please keep these memories going.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Whoops Computer missed a bit
    Burnley had feelings for their near neighbours *(Preston and scared the pants off us. Jimmy McIlroy, one of the best)* post war players, pulled back a goal with 15 minutes to go

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Ah – that is what it said !!


  6. No matter gf60, we all remember it well enough.


  7. Having lived in the NorthWest (briefly) the hatred between Burnley and Preston was impressive, though it was a triangular contest of contempt with Blackburn hated by both and vice versa.

    Bit odd really.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Odd? we hate everyone up here Andy. Can’t be fairer than that

    Liked by 3 people

  9. As someone well into the autumn years, I find the kids (those at least 10 years younger – LOL) so lacking in history and tradition. I may be of a somewhat different culture than gf60, although the British colonized Jamaica for over 300 years, but I relish his stories. Gives context to everything about the Arsenal which we share in common. Thank you my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Chambers starts and Holding is on the bench, for England u21’s V Sweden U21’s this evening at the Euros


  11. I dreamt I saw Jo Cox last night,
    Alive as you and me,
    Says I to Jo you’re one year dead,
    “I never died” said she.
    “I never died” said she
    The political world,it killed you Jo,
    And some loathed the things you said,
    Then you were taken from this life,
    Says Jo “but aint dead”
    Says Jo “but aint dead”
    The frightened folk harassed you Jo,
    They smeared you with their lies,
    But says she: “they could never kill
    What they could not compromise-and
    I never compromised”.
    “Though the Right wing hated me and now think that I have gone,
    The words that I have in said Hope means,
    The struggle carries on
    The struggle carries on”
    When words of freedom ring out loud
    From valley’s and from hills,
    Where people stand up for their rights,
    Jo Cox, is with us still, Jo Cox is with us still.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. HT: Sweden U21’s 0-0 England U21’s


  13. Absolutely loved it, GF 60. I had no idea who you were talking about so had to Google them, but the hackles on my chest, or was it the tingle in my spine is testament to the exhausting worry that we might draw, or even lose with all those bloody minutes still to come (10 mins * 10 = 100) you made us feel that we had played longer than the average game — or summat — as they say oop North — said he putting his great gallumphers in it! 🙂

    Gotta go — the big worker bee, A5 might catch me [a political militant moderate — what’s one of them – scary!] see ya. lol

    Liked by 3 people

  14. RYO_cleverfish‏ @RYO_cleverfish

    1st day in All stars Cup for U15/16s
    Arsenal1-2SK Slavia Praha
    Goals:Josh Martin

    Arsenal2-0Avispa Fukuoka
    Goals:Bukayo Saka,Alfie Matthews

    FC Vysočina Jihlava 1-1 Arsenal FC
    Goals:Alfie Matthews

    4 teams all have 1W1D1L but Arsenal scored more goals and are top of this group


  15. afcstuff‏ @afcstuff 8h8 hours ago

    Confederations Cup group fixtures:

    Alexis 🇨🇱
    18 June: 🇨🇲
    22 June: 🇩🇪
    25 June: 🇦🇺

    Mustafi 🇩🇪
    19 June: 🇦🇺
    22 June: 🇨🇱
    25 June: 🇨🇲


  16. a link to the live stream of the all stars cup that Arsenal u15/16 are playing in today, 3 short games.


    14:00: Arsenal FC x AC Sparta Praha
    14:40: Borussia Dortmund x FK Altinordu Izmir
    15:20: Arsenal FC x Paris Saint-Germain
    16:00: FC Porto x Borussia Dortmund
    16:40: FC Zbrojovka Brno x Arsenal FC
    17:20: Borussia Dortmund x FC Vysočina Jihlava


  17. If only the experts could turn their expert eyes upon the national team.

    The watching public can see that the better footballers keep getting ignored; Carrick, Bertrand, so many constant examples. Over a long period. In N4 we call this the “Carlton Palmer Syndrome” though after Stuart Pearce’s legendary call (not a flattering legend) to play Michael Mancienne in midfield against opponents like Mata, well, we are spoilt for choice!

    Southgate is not a difficult target for some relaxing heckling.

    The U21 coach benched Holding after his recent performances against Costa and Aguero.

    It appears as if our blessed experts and esteemed blaggers enjoy failure. Why else would they constantly fail to pick on and yes bully one of the greatest most widely respected coaches in the game (I’ve never seen Ancellotti celebrate a one off victory like he did last season: must’ve meant a lot to him…)?

    The mind boggles.


  18. Maybe, they, you know:

    They don’t like the (Assc.) Football?

    Just throwing that out there.


  19. If we’re discussing Wally’s like Olly: no doubt about it. Such giants of the game dream of cuddling up to Mendez and Risdale.

    No more. No less.


  20. FT: Arsenal FC 2 v 2 AC Sparta Praha

    Sorry don’t know the scorers, our no.9 gave us the lead, Sparta leveled, then our no.2 scored but a move right from the kick off Sparta leveled, our no.2 was booked for a scuffle after their second goal, and two minutes later he got a second yellow, and red for a late tackle.

    games are 30 minutes, 2 x 15 minutes


  21. Gf

    How did you celebrate after this match?
    What was the crowd like whenleaving the ground?

    Liked by 1 person

  22. That’s a very good question Fins. I was too small to get onto the pitch and I’m sure many did waiting for the team to appear up in the director’s box but other than walking home and getting my 3d bag of chips (well salted and vinegered) it’s a bit of a blur. Unlike later abf games of the season where we also clinched a championship (Spuds and Liverpool) where memories are crystal clear. It made me wonder if these 3 games are a record for any side…i.e solitary last game and success in all. I can’t find out if these were the only times it has happened. Maybe Shotta knows where to find the info?.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. FT: Arsenal 1-0 PSG

    PSG dominated large parts of the game, but quick thinking from an Arsenal lad at the second half kick off, seen him launch the kick off from the half way line over the PSG keeper who had strayed too far off his line for the only goal of the game.

    Arsenal’s third game of the day is due to start in about half an hour.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Bielik could be in a bit of bother, after the Poles lost their u21 opening game yesterday, Bielik and another lad gave interviews where they were critical of the manager. It has not gone down well


  25. HT: FC Zbrojovka Brno 2-1 Arsenal FC

    Arsenal took a very early lead through our no.18, but some poor defending has seen Brno hold a half time lead


  26. FT: FC Zbrojovka Brno 2-1 Arsenal FC

    Arsenal came very close two or three times to leveling the game, but they hit the crossbar and the keeper made fine saves.


  27. Squawka Football‏Verified account @Squawka 10h10 hours ago

    Most headed Premier League goals since 2012/13:

    Olivier Giroud (25)
    Christian Benteke (23)
    Romelu Lukaku (18)

    Rising above the rest. ☝️

    Liked by 4 people

  28. RYO_cleverfish‏ @RYO_cleverfish 5h5 hours ago

    Arsenal 2-2 AC Sparta Praha
    Goals: Alfie Matthews, Matthew Dennis

    Arsenal FC 1-0 PSG
    Goals: Stan Flaherty

    FC Zbrojovka Brno 2-1 Arsenal FC
    Goals: Nathan Butler

    Arsenal have 2W, 2D 2L in Group Stage 1&2 – only 9th in all 16 teams
    have to play 9-16 place-off tomorrow


  29. watching those youth games today you could hear some of the Arsenal coaches comments to the lads and the one thing that stood out was how they wanted the players to “be brave” and play their passing game no matter what pressure the opponents put them under, and the only times they seemed to get upset with the defenders was when they hoofed the ball away when there was anyone to pass the ball to, even back to the keeper. Despite some poor defending and Arsenal losing lots of tackles and the scraps for the ball, it seemed to be only when possession was needlessly given away that the coaches seemed annoyed.
    Now I don’t know the age range of the Arsenal squad compared to their opponents, although we generally seemed to have smaller or lighter teams, we certainly had some very skilled young lads playing and had some very good attacking play.
    It was hard to tell from the camera angle, but it did seem like the boys were playing 3 at the back, which if it was, would suggest that the new formation is here to stay, as we tend to mirror first team formation right down the age groups.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I really don’t understand it, how can Arsenal have extended the season ticket renewal date, and by so much, after all, there is no other explanation for it, tomorrow’s papers are full of Arsenal transfer rumors, and as we all know, Arsenal transfer rumors are fed to the journos by Arsenal FC, for the sole purpose of Selling Season Tickets, or so the ASB would have us believe.


  31. New post up


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