One of the finest players to grace a football pitch and arguably the Dennis Bergkamp of his day. Alex James was a star of his time and a pivotal figure in Arsenal's domination of the 1930s.
Famed for his baggy shorts, James opened the scoring in the 1930 FA Cup final to set Arsenal on their way to a first major trophy. He left after another FA Cup win in 1936 and also racked up four titles during his time at Highbury.
|Arsenal Career||1929 - 1937|
|Appearances||261 (261 starts, 0 as a sub)|
The Bergkamp comparisons are understandable. James played as an inside forward, providing the ammunition for the likes of Cliff Bastin, Ted Drake and David Jack to fill their boots. The Scot's impeccable passing made him the perfect supply line for Herbert Chapman's prolific Arsenal sides.
James left Preston to join Chapman's revolution in 1929, making his debut against Leeds United on August 31 of that year. His first season was unspectacular - James spent much of it recovering from injury - but he was fit in time to play a leading role in the 1930 FA Cup Final.
James was not known for his goalscoring, plundering only 27 in 261 appearances for the Club, but he was on target at Wembley. The Scot's strike set up a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town as Arsenal clinched their first major silverware.
Even better was to follow as James inspired Arsenal to their maiden League title in 1931. His influence was underlined by events the following year: an injury sidelined James for a large chunk of the season and Arsenal had to settle for the runners-up spot in the League and the FA Cup.
James was back to help Arsenal win a hat-trick of titles between 1933 and 1935. The Scottish assist machine helped the Gunners plunder a club record of 118 League goals in 1933 and, two years later, James was largely responsible for Ted Drake's impressive haul of 42.
James captained Arsenal to another FA Cup triumph in 1936 with a 1-0 win over Sheffield United at Wembley. Then, as age and injuries took their toll, he called time on his playing career in the summer of 1937.
James was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2005 in recognition of his contribution to the English game. Arsenal were lucky enough to be the main beneficiaries of the Scot's wizardry.