The year is 1930, and three years after the pain of losing the 1927 FA Cup final to Cardiff, Herbert Chapman took Arsenal back to Wembley to make amends, and bring the Club its first major trophy.
Ironically the opposition were Huddersfield Town, the club Chapman left to join Arsenal in 1925. He had guided Huddersfield to two 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.
The 1930 Cup final was the first time before a major game that the two teams came out side by side - in honour of Chapman, who had managed both clubs. Arsenal came into the game following a 6-6 draw at Leicester City, just five days prior, the highest score draw in English top-flight history, however four-goal hero Dave Halliday was omitted from the Cup final squad.
Tom Wilson led Huddersfield Town onto the pitch while Tom Parker led out Arsenal. The former knew all about winning trophies; the latter captained a side which had never tasted glory and had survived numerous close shaves en-route to the final. In the commentary box that day - for only the fifth live radio broadcast - was the future Arsenal manager George Allison.
King George V was introduced to the players in front of a crowd of 92,486 at Wembley after recovering from illness. The two clubs were meeting for the first time in a FA Cup final and they produced a match of high and absorbing quality, observed by the silver Graf Zeppelin. The deafening roar from its engines disconcerted both players and spectators. The giant aircraft, at 775 ft in length, was a symbol of a rising Germany, and it dipped its nose in salute to King George V as it passed by.
Arsenal won their first major trophy with a goal in each half; the first was created and scored by Alex James, the second was a product of a long run by Jack Lambert.
Huddersfield Town were worthy opponents but it transpired that their day had passed and they have never since won a major trophy. But 1930, and more specifically April 26, was when Arsenal began their transformation from also-rans to the richest and most successful club in the world. When Chapman arrived at Highbury in 1925 he said it would take him five years to build a winning team. He was as good as his word.
It is also interesting to note that the two sides dined together after the match, an innovation from Chapman that never took hold. Given the enmity between modern protaganists, such bonhomie might be well absent in the modern game.
The victorious Arsenal team consisted of Charlie Preedy, Tom Parker, Eddie Hapgood, Alf Baker, Bill Seddon, Bob John, Joe Hulme, David Jack, Jack Lambert, Alex James and Cliff Bastin.
In this picture the Arsenal team, looking rather dapper, are posing at Wembley after winning the cup.
Chapman is on the far left, David Jack (who had joined Arsenal from Bolton Wanderers for a record £10,890 - but that’s another story) has his hands in his light-coloured plus fours; captain Jack Lambert is holding the FA Cup and Alex James is on the far right.
Arsenal’s Bill Seddon, who died in January 1993 at the age of 91, was the last surviving player who appeared in the final.