George Swindin’s Final Match For Arsenal On This Day, 12th September 1953

Defending champions are not supposed to lose 1 – 7 on any occasion, let alone in a home match but Arsenal did on this occasion. George Swindin’s Arsenal career was in its final stages before 1953-54 with Jack Kelsey preferred by Tom Whitaker as goalkeeper. It was not unexpected, Swindin was three months short of his fortieth birthday when this, his final match as an Arsenal player, took place. It was an ignominious end.

Swindin signed for the club in 1936 from Bradford City, making his debut in the 0 – 2 defeat to Brentford at Griffin Park. He was never able to convince George Allison that the custodian’s role should be his, swapping the No.1 shirt with Frank Boulton and Alex Wilson during the pre-war seasons.

The resumption of League football in 1946 saw Swindin claim the jersey as his own although this would not last beyond 1949-50 when he was in his mid-30s and Arsenal were looking elsewhere for the goalkeepers. Ted Platt had joined as a youth player in 1938 and was now pushing for a regular spot. He and Swindin alternated, although the more senior of the two was the preferred choice.

Until this day in fact when hereafter Jack Kelsey took over. Swindin won 3 League titles and an FA Cup in his 297 appearances for the club.

Arsenal had been through a tough period and it was only to get harder for the next eighteen years. Having been the dominant force in English football, they were finding it hard to regain their previous status, especially with the financial constraints in which they were operating, something Swindin would come to know well when he returned to the club as manager in 1958.