The Greatest FA Cup Shock In History: Arsenal Lose At Walsall On This Day, 14th January 1933

walsallAs hard as it might seem to believe, Arsenal’s defeat was not the lead story in The Times round-up of the weekend’s FA Cup action. That honour fell to West Ham’s 2 – 0 win over Corinthians which is understandable given the amateur side’s history and prestige at the time.

Yet if you look at all of the FA Cup ‘shocks’, this surely ranks as the greatest in the competitions history. Talk of the triumphs of Worcester City, Yeovil and Bournemouth resonate with a younger generation used to the Premier League status of their victims in the modern era. The defeated Arsenal side were on their way to becoming the dominant force in English football of this era although their form going into this game was not the best, preceded as it was by consecutive 2 – 3 reverses at Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland.

Arsenal arrived with their ranks missing key individuals. This defeat would prove costly to some careers. Tom Black, Billy Warnes and Charlie Walsh all made their only Arsenal first team appearances in this match. Black was held responsible for the penalty to such an extent that he was sold days after this match. Nonetheless, Arsenal were expected to win comfortably.

That they failed only compounds the often overlooked tragedy. This match was Herbert Chapman’s last ever FA Cup tie. In a sense, the result is somewhat apt; a legendary manager and a legendary result.

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Terry Neill’s Nadir Reached At Arsenal, On This Day, 29th November 1983

Half a century previously, Walsall had been the opposition in Herbert Chapman’s last ever FA Cup tie. The same opposition would provide the last opposition for Terry Neill in a cup-tie as Arsenal manager. I was going to add, “not that we knew it at the time”. In truth we did know it.

Things had been gradually declining at Arsenal since the sale of Liam Brady and the hoped for improvement with signings such as Charlie Nicholas, was not materialising. Neill’s reign at the club limped on for less than a fortnight. Beware Walsall coming out of the hat as Arsenal’s opponents next season.

(Click to enlarge)