GGM 26: Arsenal clinch a hat-trick of titles

The 1930s belonged to Arsenal.

The inspiration and innovation of Herbert Chapman had transformed the Gunners from also-rans to the dominant force in football. After his premature death in January 1934, it was left to George Allison to continue the great work done by his legendary predecessor.

Allison delivered. He formally took charge at the end of the 1933/34 season after a second successive title had been secured. Allison became the Club's figurehead while Tom Whittaker and Joe Shaw assisted with coaching. With that combination in place and some of the finest players in the world at Highbury, a hat-trick of championships was completed.

Arsenal eventually saw off the stern challenge of Sunderland, finishing four points ahead of the Wearside club. A crowd of 73,295 crammed into Highbury on March 9, 1935 to see the title contenders draw 0-0. That remains a record attendance for an Arsenal home game.

That goalless draw was a rare event at Highbury in those days. Indeed, Arsenal crushed a number of opponents at their old home during the 1934/35 season: Leicester and Middlesbrough both lost 8-0, Liverpool were beaten 8-1 and Wolves were thrashed 7-0. There was also a 6-0 win at Tottenham to savour.

Ted Drake was the main tormentor of opposition defences. He netted 42 times in the league, still an Arsenal record for a single season. And Drake was one of seven Arsenal players who lined up for England against Italy at Highbury on November 14, 1934.

That underlined Arsenal's strength at the time and it was no surprise when they completed their hat-trick of titles. The Gunners remain only one of four clubs to have won the championship three years running. The others are Huddersfield Town (1925, 1926, 1927), Liverpool (1982, 1983, 1984) and Manchester United (1999, 2000, 2001).

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