Arsenal Best Attackers Ever: No8 – Our Club Top Scorer for Five Successive Seasons

Arsenal’s Century Club – Doug Lishman

Doug Lishman 4 (1) 

Born in Birmingham, Doug first played as a centre forward for non-league Paget Rangers, before signing as a professional for Third Division South Walsall in August 1946. In two seasons with the Saddlers, Lishman scored 26 goals in 59 league appearances.

He was signed by Arsenal in the summer of 1948 for £10,500, as backup for Reg Lewis, who was only 28 but was injured frequently, Doug made his debut against Sheffield United on September 4, 1948, but a promising first season (scoring 13 goals in 25 appearances), and his 1949-50 and 1950-51 seasons were marred by injuries. He was passed over for the 1950 FA Cup final (which Arsenal won 2-0), in favour of Lewis and Peter Goring, and then just as he came back into the Arsenal first team, he broke his leg playing against Stoke City on Christmas Day in December 1950.

Doug Lishman taking a foam massage bath (1)

However, he recovered to become Arsenal’s top scorer in 1950-51, and the next season hit 30 goals, including three hat-tricks in three successive home matches;

(GN5 saw them all)

27 October 1951 4-3 v Fulham

10 November 1951 6-3 v WBA

24 November 1951 4-2 v Bolton W

Arsenal finished third that season. The following season (1951-52) they reached the FA Cup final, only to lose to Newcastle United; a series of injuries meant only eight fit players finished the match (no substitutes were allowed in those days). Doug came close for Arsenal with a header, which clipped the crossbar, but Arsenal lost 1-0.

His disappointment was soon forgotten, as Arsenal won the League Championship in 1952-53. He was again Arsenal’s top scorer, this time with 26, and with every goal proving vital, Arsenal won the title on goal average above Preston North End. His form was good enough for him to be picked for an England B match against Scotland B in March 1953, although he was never capped for the full national side.

Doug was top scorer for another two seasons after that, making it five successive seasons as the club’s top scorer in total. He scored 137 goals in 244 appearances, making him the club’s tenth-highest goal scorer of all time. However with younger men like Derek Tapscott and David Herd taking over goal scoring duties for Arsenal, Doug was dropped from the first team in 1955-56.

Doug Lishman, Arsenal  (Photo by Barratts/PA Images via Getty Images)

In March 1956 he was sold to Second Division Nottingham Forest. He scored a hat-trick in the match that got Forest promoted (a 4-0 win over Sheffield United) to Division One in 1956-57, but decided to retire in the summer of 1957. He left the game entirely after retiring. He joined his father-in law in business (furniture retail) in Stoke on Trent, later taking over the business himself. He continued to live in Stoke on Trent until his death in 1994.

Doug scored his 100th goal for Arsenal against Cardiff City at Ninian Park on September 26th 1953.

Arsenal’s Century Club
# Player Years Games ** Goals GPG
8 Doug Lishman 1948-56 244 163 137 0.56
9 David Herd 1954-61 180 165 107 0.59
10 Cliff Bastin 1929-46 396 174 178 0.45
11 Thierry Henry 1999-07 377 181 226 0.60
12 Olivier Giroud 2012-18 253 237 105 0.42
13 RVP 2004-12 278 238 132 0.47
14 Alan Smith 1987-95 347 251 115 0.33
15 Frank Stapleton 1972-81 300 276 108 0.36
16 Denis Bergkamp 1995-06 423 296 120 0.28
17 John Radford 1962-76 481 306 149 0.31
18 Joe Hulme 1926-38 374 307 125 0.33
19 Theo Walcott 2005-18 397 370 108 0.27
** Games played to reach 100 goals.



24 thoughts on “Arsenal Best Attackers Ever: No8 – Our Club Top Scorer for Five Successive Seasons

  • Thanks again, GN5, for a very informative post on another red and white hero. I love the pictures you selected, especially the top one. The shape of the ball in the air, like an egg, against the background of a full stand, and all this in black in white, is evocative. I am somewhat jealous of you to have seen Lishman play, let alone seen him score three hattricks! What style of CF was he compared to more recent Arsenal CFs?

  • It is interesting to see that TH14 had the highest GPG ratio until now but still only finished 1qth in this league. I guess starting TH on the wing did the damage in this respect……..

  • Good morning all, I’ve not been around much for a few days – boring medical issues.

    I grew up watching Doug Lishman and I’m pretty sure I watched every game he played at Highbury he was an inside forward who roamed from the wing to center forward. I witnessed him getting his leg broken against Stoke City on Christmas Day 1950 – it was horrible, but he waved at the crowd as he was stretched off.

    Just look at the state of the pitch in the first picture – that was not abnormal back then.

    Great player in a great team.

  • That was some history lesson, GN5.
    Good to see that we had awesome players all those times when we are professional. And of course, the same rate of injuries, which was similar too.

    And somehow it dawned on me that the era was earlier and earlier when the players took lesser games to reach 100 goals, so does that mean it was easier to score in the olden days compared to the modern game?

  • Kev, nowadays everywhere in the world is in either full lockdown or partial lockdown. Although we are close to China, it is in truth 3000 miles apart (with Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar in between). So, we had not been hit too hard but due to the extensive testing of foreign construction workers, the numbers looks high, but it is still very much controlled.

  • njk84,

    Interesting question about in which era it would be easier to score 100 goals the quickest – but I won’t answer the question – all will become apparent in the next seven posts.

    On to Covid-19, we have been isolated at home for the best part of ten weeks, and we have only ventured out on a handful of occasions and we both found it to be a scary experience to be out of our safe isolation.

    On mothers day our son made a visit with a wonderful wine and cheese basket for my wife, my son and his lady friend stood in the hall and we stayed about eight feet away (seems a tad ridiculous taking such precautions with your own child) but we all put safety first. But we found a way to socialize – I poured four glasses of wine and took two for my wife and myself then my son picked up the other two glasses – so we were able to keep apart but still enjoy each others company.

  • Yes GN5, my brother, who moved out after getting married, is not allowed by the Government to visit us. This time round we have to take necessary precautions, and it is just right to do that.

  • Alex Lacazette must have been very bored, I can understand that as there’s only so much staying at home you can do before you start climbing the wall, but really, is he that stupid?

  • Total, I was listening to a historian on You Tube yesterday and he mentioned the Black Death in the 14th century. Apparently by the end of the century and a few more plagues the population in England had fallen by 50%, therefore chiming very neatly with your comment of a few days ago regarding workers in Britain realising their value as suddenly agricultural workers in particular became a very valuable commodity and serfdom suddenly disappeared.

  • Here in Singapore they showed the 9.30pm (2.30pm London time) kickoff between Dortmund and Shalke04. A little weird to see the teams playing a derby without fans though. Haaland (Alf Inge’s son) is quite a good player who can single handedly lift the team. The right back and left back (or was he the winger?) is also brilliant to watch. Sadly Shalke started brightly but the first game in 2 months meant that the rustiness is there for everyone to watch.

  • I”m betwixt and between about the return of soccer, I want to see a conclusion to the season but I’m unsure about watching it played in such sterile conditions.

  • I think that the Premier League have to try GunnerN5…

    The unemployment figures in the UK are beginning to reach worrying levels, economically we could be heading into a 1920’s style Depression.

  • When you do a complete test with all the workers of clubs there will be bound to have many people getting positive.

    We have to change what we can do and get some income from other avenues.

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