League title win 1952/53

League title win 1952/53

In It's an Honour, featured first in the official matchday programme, we're looking back at the seasons that have brought silverware to north London. We re-live the 1952/53 league title. 

The Gunners clinched a record breaking seventh league title, but only on goal average from Preston. A victory in the final match for Tom Whittaker’s team at home to Burnley secured the championship on a reasonably modest points total of 54 - this being in the days of two points for a win of course.

It was also the days before goal difference, when goal average was used instead (goals scored divided by goals against). Preston matched Arsenal's points tally, but their goal average of 1.42 was inferior to the Gunners 1.52.

The season hadn’t started well for Arsenal. After winning the opening two fixtures, the Gunners won just two of the following eight matches. A superb 5-1 victory at Anfield on November 15 helped inspire a rich vein of form, and the goals continued to flow throughout the winter.


League title win 1952/53

League title win 1952/53


A 6-4 win at Bolton on Christmas Day was followed by a 5-3 win over Wolves, a 4-0 Highbury victory over Spurs and a 6-2 demolition of Derby in the next couple of months. April proved to be the decisive month, the Gunners played eight league matches during the month, including a run of five straight wins. The last game of the month though, was away to title rivals Preston. Arsenal, two points ahead with two games remaining would have secured the title with victory at Deepdale.

However Arsenal suffered a 2-0 reverse and both sides were level with one match left. Preston played first, beating bottom side Derby 1-0 on Wednesday. Two days later Arsenal knew only a home victory over Burnley would give them the title. The visitors took an early lead but Alex Forbes, Doug Lishman and Jim Logie all found the net to make it 3-1.

Burnley scored again in the second half but Arsenal held on for the crucial two points. In the FA Cup Arsenal, having reached the final in two of the previous three years, lost to eventual winners Blackpool in the quarter-final.

Division One appearances: Daniel 41, Roper 41, Wade 40, Lishman 39, Forbes 33, Logie 32, L Smith 31, Goring 29, Mercer 28, Kelsey 25, Milton 25, Shaw 25, Holton 21, Swindin 14, Chenhall 13, Cox 9, Marden 8, Platt 3, Oakes 2, Bowen 2, Dodgin 1.

Division One goalscorers: Lishman 22, Holton 19, Roper 14, Goring 10, Logie 10, Milton 7, Daniel 5, Marden 4, Mercer 2, Cox 1, Forbes 1, Oakes 1, own goal 1. Way Back Then - 1953

Division One top scorer: Charlie Wayman (Preston North End) 24

Also that season... Stan Mortensen scored a hat-trick for Blackpool in the FA Cup final but the game was remembered for the contribution of his team mate, 38 year old Stanley Matthews. Blackpool beat Bolton 4-3 in the final, and Mortensen's hat-trick remains the only one in a Wembley FA Cup final.

And… Marilyn Monroe graced the cover of first ever edition of Playboy magazine in December 1952.



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