GGM 36: Arsenal win their first major trophy

Arsenal 1930

Three years after the pain of losing the 1927 FA Cup Final to Cardiff, Herbert Chapman took Arsenal back to Wembley and make amends, bringing the Club its first major trophy.

As far as Arsenal's success story is concerned, this is where it all began.

Ironically the opposition were Huddersfield Town, the club Chapman left to join Arsenal in 1925. He had guided Huddersfield to a hat-trick of league titles in the 1920s and the Yorkshire side bore all the hallmarks of Chapman's tactical innovations, lining up in a W-M formation with wing-halves and inside-forwards.

Arsenal did likewise but, with Chapman now at their helm, they did it better.

For the first time before a major game the two teams came out side by side, Tom Wilson leading Huddersfield and Tom Parker leading Arsenal. The former knew all about winning trophies; the latter captained a side which had never tasted glory and had survived a number of close shaves en route to the Final.

But 1930, and more specifically Saturday, April 26, was when Arsenal began their transformation from also-rans to the richest and most successful club in the world.

In the commentary box that day for only the fifth live broadcast of a football match was the future Arsenal manager George Allison, while King George V was introduced to the players in front of a crowd of 92,488 at Wembley after recovering from illness.

Arsenal's rigid defence shackled Huddersfield early on and a piece of smart thinking from Alex James gave Chapman's team the lead in the 17th minute. James found Cliff Bastin on the left with a quickly-taken free-kick, Bastin drew his marker and slipped a return pass to James, who found the corner of the net.

The Graf Zeppelin, Germany's giant airship, loomed over the stadium later in the first half. Back on the pitch, Huddersfield camped in the Arsenal half in search of an equaliser but Charlie Preedy's goal led a charmed life. Somehow the favourites were kept at bay.

Then, with seven minutes left, a long clearance from James found Jack Lambert in the centre circle. He skipped past two defenders and ran half the length of the field to beat the Huddersfield keeper, Turner. The FA Cup was Arsenal's, a triumph which would pave the way for many more to come.

When Chapman arrived at Highbury in May 1925 he said it would take five years to build a winning team. He was as good as his word.

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