Arsenal Best Attackers Ever: No4 – Slow Starter But Then He Got Going!

Arsenal’s Century Club – Jack Lambert

Jack Lambert 3 (1) 

Born in Greasbrough near Rotherham, Yorkshire, Lambert was turned down by Sheffield Wednesday after a trial in 1921, so he started his career playing for Rotherham County in 1922. He soon made a move to Leeds United, but spent three years there with little success. He finally came to prominence after becoming a regular goal scorer for Doncaster Rovers, joining the side in January 1925.

Playing in Yorkshire, he had attracted the attention of Herbert Chapman when the latter was manager of Huddersfield Town. Chapman became Arsenal manager in 1925 and needing a quality centre-forward, he signed Jack for £2,000 in June 1926. Lambert initially struggled to get into the first-team and he did not make his league debut until the beginning of the following season against Bolton Wanderers on 6th September 1926.

Lambert scored only one goal in 16 appearances that season and was not selected for the FA Cup Final against Cardiff City. Over the next two seasons he was reserve centre-forward to Jimmy Brain and only scored 4 goals in 22 appearances. 

When he appeared in the first-team he was often barracked by the crowd. Herbert Chapman was furious and proposed that barrackers should be thrown out of the ground if they did not respond to an appeal for fairness over the loud-speaker. 

He became a regular for the club towards the end of the 1929-30 season; scoring 18 times in only 20 league appearances. The following season (1930-31) he was even more successful, scoring 38 goals in just 34 games in the League, a club record at the time. Arsenal won their first ever First Division Championship with a record 66 points. The Gunners only lost four games that season. Jack Lambert was top-scorer with 38 goals. This included seven hat-tricks against Middlesbrough (home and away), Grimsby Town, Birmingham City, Bolton Wanderers, Leicester City and Sunderland.

Jack Lambert 5 (1)

In the 1932-33 season Arsenal won the First Division by four points. Lambert only played in 12 games that season but he still scored 14 goals. This included five in a 9-2 win over Sheffield United. By now Jack was over 30 and only a bit-part player (Ernie Coleman having led the front line through most of 1932-33), and the signing of Jimmy Dunne in September 1933 forced him out of the side; his last game came on 13 September 1933 against West Bromwich Albion.

Herbert Chapman seemed to have lost confidence in Jack and frustrated by his lack of first-team opportunities, he agreed to be transferred to Fulham for £2,500 in October 1933. He only played for two more seasons before retiring in 1935. The following year he became coach of Margate (who at the time were Arsenal’s “nursery” club) and returned to Arsenal in 1938 as a coach of the club’s reserve side.

Overall he scored 109 goals in 161 games for the Gunners, a very high ratio of .68 goals per game, but it wasn’t enough for him ever to be selected for England.

Jack scored his 100th goal for Arsenal on Guy Fawkes Day 1932 against Wolves at Molineux Stadium.

Arsenal’s Century Club
# Player Years Games ** Goals GPG
4 Jack Lambert 1923-33 161 149 109 0.68
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.

Tragically, he died at the age of 38, killed in a car accident (during WW11) in Enfield, Middlesex.


12 thoughts on “Arsenal Best Attackers Ever: No4 – Slow Starter But Then He Got Going!

  • Jack Lambert, apparently Chapman spent thousands trying to replace him but until we signed Ted Drake he never quite managed it.
    Pongo Waring the legendary Villa centre forward used to tease Chapman whenever Arsenal played Aston Villa by saying to Chapman “you’d love to sign me wouldn’t you Herbert” it was one of the few times that Chapman was lost for words.

    Nice work again GunnerN5

  • I need to catch up with the (actual content of the) posts…and I look forward to it…but scanning the comments, JK asks how J-Dub and I are doing in these (great?…) states (or States)…and I’m fine, though I go for a SARS-Cov-2 test this afternoon (mostly so my boy and I can hang out and meet the rules that my wife concocted for his job at the college). Am I scared (of the test, not the result)?… Yes, yes I am… As long as it’s not a Shawcross administering it, I’ll be OK.

    (Hopefully JW, whom I bet has been blogging like a loco about the virus, and now, maybe racial politics, is also doing well.) I don’t think English football will get re-shut due to a resurgence of the virus. Clearly, we’ve got this thing beaten…and by we, I mean Laissez-Faire Capitalism. Let the buyer (or victim) beware…Shut downs are for first world countries, silly…

    The drive home was big but it all worked out, though I almost couldn’t find a place (hotel room) in which to sleep in the state capital most famous as the home of El Chapo (Culiacan, Sinaloa). I just sorta knew as I took my last little meal south of the border that I would miss it (Mexico)…and the feeling came back to me in the “lock-up” room at the border crossing (in Nogales, AZ). I guess, big bags of (unroasted coffee beans) look suspicious, even when surrounded by espresso machines, grinders and other accoutremonts . “You must be a real coffee cont-a-sur,” said the border cop (who actually did remind me of Shawcross…) as he walked me back to my car…” “Yes sir (son)…” Except, what I was thinking is, “Nope, sorry, I’m not the cont here…” (It had been a long day…)

    Anyhow, more when I’ve actually got the time…My garden (here) hasn’t gotten the same attention as Kev’s…

  • Hahaha, Seventeenho, fine and funny comment. Good to hear you are back now with bags of coffee gold. Good luck with the test, both the administering and the result, and I look forward to your views, insights and battle cries for all fights you are passionate about, not least the Gunners’ quest for glory! 🙂

  • Only three players left in our Century Club, the old timers are obviously not popular.

    Jack Lambert was a player before my time but I can still appreciate the level of skill that he must have possessed. Number four on the list shows just how good he was and he only gets two comments pertaining to the post – pretty sad really.

  • Sorry for the off-topic comment, but the video is out on our 2-3 defeat against Championship side Brentford.

    We started the game in a 4-4-2 (or rather a strange 4-2-4) formation:
    Bellerin, Mari, Mustafi, Tierney
    Ceballos, Willock
    Saka, Aubameyank, Nketiah, Pepe

    Willock scored the only goal in the first half (Bellerin provided the assist).

    Our 2nd half XI resembled the “good old” 4-3-3, but – according to Jeorge Bird – Arteta did not replace the entire line-up at half time; some came on in the 60th minute:
    Sokratis(!), Holding, Luiz, Kolasinac
    Guendouzi, AMN, Ozil
    Martinelli, Lacazette, Nelson
    (Trae Coyle made his first senior appearance for Arsenal in a late substitute.)

    Brentford equalized late in the game (70th min), but we regained the lead 4 minutes later: Lacazette scored from Nelson’s fine assist. The visitors came level in the 80th minute, and while we were storming for the winning goal Brentford eventually converted after a turnover in the last minutes of the game.

    Some of the conclusions drawn by the video ans the recently posted match report from the official website:
    – We had far more chances, but still not enough.
    – Arsenal weren’t ruthless in converting those attempts.
    – Brentford had 4 major chances (all in the 2nd half) and converted 3
    – Martinez was unlucky: he is not to blame as those shots came with unlikely power and precision
    – Most of their attacks came on their left flank. I don’t know if they were intentionally targeting Sokratis, our temporary RB, but Papa – while didn’t make big mistakes on record – wasn’t convincing this afternoon
    – All 3 goals came after a turnover, when our players (Luiz, Lacazette, AMN respectively) lost possession in our half (Laca and AMN in fact lost the ball on the edge of our penalty box). If we can eliminate this from our game, our performance would significantly improve.
    – Lacazette and Willock scored in both games, but Nketiah was quiet this time.
    – Promising (former academy) starlet Dominic Thompson played against his old club in the first half.
    – Just like GN5’s post, this game had also a shocking ending.

  • Arsenal lost 2-3 to Brentford after leading up till the 70th minute, Trae Coyle came on in the 85th minute. Xhaka didn’t play, Soares didn’t play, Torrieira still not fit, Medley, Swanson and Matt Smith were there and trained with the senior squad after the game.

    I didn’t get over excited when we beat Charlton and I’m not going to throw myself in front of a bus because we lost to Brentford, who are a really good side btw.

    It’s all about fitness and match sharpness, maybe we’ll play again before the 17th..?

    Willock scored again and so did Lacazette.

    GunnerN5, I’m sure that all your fine work is appreciated by the guys online, but if you didn’t see someone play maybe they feel it’s too difficult for them to make a comment.
    Lamberts figures are impressive but it’s always made me wonder if it hadn’t been for the Austrian corporal what the final figures of Cliff Bastin, Ted Drake and Reg Lewis would have looked like?

    17tino you would be very impressed with my garden if you were UKside, the only downside is if you visited my garden you’d have to put up with tea as I don’t do coffee…

  • I actually have read all the content (which I’d missed during my marathon drive north) AND I have made some inroads in my garden work, which I think Kev might enjoy if he were ever to visit. It appears I’ve been more liberal with the fertilizer in recent years (and before I dashed south) because things are very green (and wild). (I probably had about 40 restarts on the mower due to choking the blades…) I’m guessing that it might be a good deal less “formal” than the arrangement of plants our taxi driver has got going… Today, I go back to fix the sprinkler head I lopped off, among other ongoing projects… Tea doesn’t bother me (and is my drink of choice to get me going again after my early afternoon siestas), but, yes, if I visited I’d probably have some sort of traveling coffee set up. (My hosts love–meaning the opposite– to hear me hand-grinding my beans–about 3 minutes per batch–in the early morning…)

    Anyways, as to the content, or the really quite astounding series you’ve put together Mr. N5, like Kev suggests, it rather stands on its own and–as he also suggests–there’s nothing we can add that our own eyes have told us about the players in question. I guess, if we had the inclination, we could try and do additional historical research to try and add–or contradict–your conclusions. Personally, I’m always looking for ways to understand the present though connections to the past, so the stuff about the fans (note: I didn’t say supporters…) barracking Jack Lambert during his early Arsenal days is interesting (to me). (As is the response of the manager…) Of course, once Alex James joined the club, Lambert became (more or less) a goal-a-game sort of player. I know James won’t make the list (only the top three remain) but he’s the player (from that era) in which I have the most interest. I’m looking for stories “beyond the stats,” and the parallels between Wenger/Bergkamp (which, in fact, I also missed) and Chapman/James seem fascinating. When a (great) manager has a (great) player who can act as the physical implementer of his ideas (and a bunch of other elements are also in place) the triumphs can stack up quickly, or so it appears…

    As to the friendlies, it’s hard to say what we can glean. I’ll be watching 6 days on (at noon here in California, as socially distanced as always) when it all becomes “real” (or at least “counts”) and I’m hopeful. Personally, I think Arteta-senal should benefit almost uniquely from the shutdown (and the closed door games to come) due to the timing of Emery’s dismissal (far too late…) and Arteta being given the reigns. Whereas other clubs have (surely) struggled to (just) maintain their football, this window–for us–was the chance to throw out the old and instill the new. (And what’s the real story with the pay-cut?… Incentive to get up for CL football, or at least get–a few–guys to over-perform for whatever move they can get if/when the TW opens?…) Still, we have to keep our expectations low and starting at the oil-dopers seems like it could show the gulf (get it…like the Arabian/Persian Gulf, from which the ManCity money flows…) in class. Frankly, I expect a beat down, but, I’m hopeful to see the kernels of change on display as well…

    OK, enough said and I’m still (very much) in catch up mode around here… Stay safe…

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