Ted Drake

Drake scoring one of his seven goals in one game at Villa Park

If it was goals you wanted, Ted Drake was your man.

A glance at the Arsenal record books shows just how valuable he was to the all-conquering side of the 1930s. Drake plundered a staggering 42 League goals in the title triumph of 1934/35 but his finest and most emphatic achievement came the following season in a league match at Villa Park. The hosts were on the end of a 7-1 hammering, with Drake bagging all the goals. His haul could even have been eight were it not for the crossbar; indeed, Drake seemed hard done by as the ball appeared to bounce down behind the line.

While the grace and guile of Cliff Bastin wowed the fans, Drake bought the fear factor. His pace, bludgeoning power and ruthlessness in front of goal earned him a fierce reputation, with international recognition duly following. He made his England bow in the 'Battle of Highbury' against Italy in November 1934 and, true to form, notched the winner in a fractious 3-2 win.

Drake topped the scoring charts in each of his five full seasons in north London ending his spell at the Club with a tally of 136 goals from 182 games. Were it not for the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 his record would almost certainly have been greater.

As it was Drake's career was curtailed by a spell in the Royal Air Force, and although he represented the Club in non-competitive wartime games he retired from playing at the start of peacetime. But he couldn't bear to leave the game behind.

Drake turned to management and enjoyed a fruitful spell at Reading before taking over at Chelsea where, in 1954/55, he led the Blues to their only First Division triumph of the 20th Century. That achievement made him the first player to win the Championship as a player and as a manager. 

A legend of the game, Ted Drake died in 1995, aged 82.

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