Arsenal Best Attackers Ever: No5 – One of Our Greatest with 392 Goals in 451 Games

Arsenal’s Century Club – Reg Lewis

Reg Lewis 5 (1)

Reginald (Reg) Lewis was born in Bilston on 7th March 1920. He played local football for Nunhead and Dulwich Hamlet Juniors before joining Arsenal as a professional in March 1937.

Lewis scored on his debut against Everton on 1st January 1938. He joined a team that included Cliff Bastin, Eddie Hapgood, George Male, Ted Drake, Leslie Jones, George Swindin, George Hunt, Bernard Joy, Alf Kirchen, Leslie Compton and Dennis Compton.

However, as Lewis was only 18 and Ted Drake was the first-team centre-forward, he was only given four games in the 1937-38 season. The following season he created a club record by scoring 43 goals in 31 games for the reserves. He also scored 7 goals in 15 first-team appearances.

In 1945 Lewis was a member of the British Army of the Rhine in Occupied Germany. He continued to play for Arsenal and shone as a natural goal scorer; although wartime appearances and goals are not officially counted, he scored 143 goals in 130 games, including four in the 1943 War Cup Southern Final, in a 7-1 demolition of Charlton Athletic. Towards the end of the war he served in the British Army of the Rhine in Occupied Germany, but returned to play for Arsenal once first-class football resumed in 1946. Although most of the Arsenal side of the 1930s were past their best by this time, Reg was still only 26 and he continued to be a regular in the first team throughout the remainder of the 1940s. He was the club’s top scorer in 1946-47 with 29 goals this included a hat-trick against Preston North End and four against Grimsby Town. Jeff Harris, the author of Arsenal Who’s Who, argues: “His ability and knack of scoring goals were attributed to his fine positional sense when finding space in the box as well as being cool, calm and collected.”

Reg Lewis 2 (1)

The following season (1947-48), he partnered new signing Ronnie Rooke and between them they scored 47 goals as Arsenal won the First Division title; however, Lewis suffered from a series of injuries that year but still scored 14 goals in 28 games.

In the first game I watched at Highbury on November 22nd 1947 – GN5 was fortunate to see Reg Lewis play. Also playing that day were – Jimmy Logie, Wally Barnes, Les Compton, Ronnie Rooke, Don Roper and Doug Lishman. Rooke and Logie both scored in a 2-0 win over Huddersfield).

Despite only playing 25 games in the 1948-49 season he still ended up as top scorer with 16 goals. In the 1949-50 season Lewis scored 19 goals in 31 games. He also scored both goals in Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Liverpool in the 1950 FA Cup Final.

During the early 1950s, Lewis became constantly afflicted with injuries, and he made only 12 appearances in 1951-52 and none at all in 1952-53. In the close season of 1953, he retired from the game at the age of 33. After retiring he first ran a pub and then worked in insurance.

Reg Lewis 3 (1)

His tally of 118 in 176 first-team games puts him 13th in the all-time list but his total figure from 1935 to 1953 was a staggering 392 in 451 matches (an incredible .87 goals per game). His finest hour came in the 1950 FA Cup final, when he scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Liverpool.

Reg scored his 100th goal for Arsenal against Huddersfield, at their Leeds Road ground, on January 20, 1951.

Arsenal’s Century Club
# Player Years Games ** Goals GPG
5 Reg Lewis 1935-53 176 152 118 0.67
6 Joe Baker 1962-66 156 152 100 0.64
7 David Jack 1928-34 208 156 124 0.60
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.

Reg Lewis passed away in his 77th year in1997.


17 thoughts on “Arsenal Best Attackers Ever: No5 – One of Our Greatest with 392 Goals in 451 Games

  • I guess the big question is whether in 70 years time, when most of us here will no longer be walking this earth, the then Gooners would also not know the big stars of the Invincibles anymore. It is clear that these fabulous posts by GN5 are much more popular when they cover a player who people have known in their own life time. Do football players – even as great as Henry, Bergkamp, Vieira – actually become immortal? I hope so but doubt it. One of the reasons to start this blog back in 2012 was to ensure that Dennis’ legacy would not get lost, and that the term ‘Bergkampesque’ would survive. I reckon something similar needs to happen for Henry, who truly was exceptional and help to win us so much silverware too.

  • The fact that there is so much video of players from the last 30 years and beyond, will I think keep their memory alive Total…

    For younger fans, especially those from the Premier League generation, it must be difficult to imagine Arsenal footballers from a black and white era.
    I was fortunate because I had many stories of great players from the 40’s and 50’s passed down to me by my Dad and my uncles, their reminiscing made me feel as if I was actually there.

    If there are any younger fans out there who would like to enjoy immersing themselves in some Arsenal history, can I recommend two books ‘Cliff Bastin Remembers and Arsenal From the Heart’ by Cliff Bastin and Bernard Joy. Both books are long out of print but you can still get them.

    GunnerN5 thank you for another marvellous piece of work.

  • In my mind the teams of the 30’s and 40’s have been sadly overlooked for being legendary in Arsenal folklore – to an older supporter like myself they are the real legends that took Arsenal to a different level. It seems that almost all of the credit has been given to Herbert Chapman for assembling the teams and I have no qualms with that – I just think that if Arsenal supporters knew more about the clubs history they would be more appreciative of the players we had.

    I was not born early enough to actually see the teams of the 30’s but both sides of my family were avid Arsenal supporters – so I was surrounded by family folk lore of the Arsenal legends under Herbert Chapman. I soooooo wish I had been around see him myself

  • In 70 years time, Kev, players will be half-robots with only metal bones and ability to run 100km per hour, leap 1.5 meters in the air an shoot bullet-goals from the semi circle! 😀 The likes of DB10 and TH14 would then look like mere mortals! 😉

  • ‘I was not born early enough’ hahaha GN5 – if you are not born early enough, what does that mean for us ‘youngsters’?! 😀

  • Seems like it’s a strong possibility that we’ll kick off the season again at the Olympic Stadium playing a friendly against West Ham, which makes sense as we’ve played them twice already?
    Apparently we want two warm up games before the trip to Eastlands.

    12 more days to go, 5 substitutes allowed although as I understand it managers are still only allowed to use subs three times during a game, so I guess double substitutions or at half time is the way to go to avoid confusion – and does that include the goalkeeper?
    Teams allowed to have 9 players on the bench, so plenty of changes during games to avoid the possibility of a spike in soft tissue injuries.

    Still not heard for sure if VAR is going to continue?

  • TA, for Reg and David Jack, Doug Lishman and Joe Hulme, we can only read about their history and think of how they helped the club become something big as it is today.

    As only a selected few had the chance to see them in action, we can only read in awe of their achievements but we could not add to those already written.

    2 away games in the space of 72 hours once after the restart. Not the optimal option, but to see the players back in training and having a good time, I must say that the players are raring to go.

  • Maitland Niles starting in midfield was a surprise, I’ve also read that Thomas Partey is set to sign a new deal with Atletico, so forget him and move on it seems. The fee always seemed a bit too steep given our present financial situation.

  • Thanks for that GunnerN5, a nice selection of different goals, long shots, headers, tap ins, very encouraging and quality finishing to boot despite Sky Sports having to add in their report that Charlton are ‘Championship strugglers’ – they just can’t help themselves can they?

  • Oh, I’ve got used to my comment being the end of the thread. 😀

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