N.M.P.L. | AUSTIN
SETS FOR SALE
ABDULLA / ARDATH
LAMBERT & BUTLER
|Thursday, 7th August 2008|
Pattreiouex, Footballers in Action  #19
With the death of George Male at the age of 87 the last link of The Arsenal of the 1930's has gone.
This was the team which won the FA cup and the league championship five times during that decade.
The backbone of the success was due in large part to the manager, Herbert Chapman (Gallaher, Sporting Personalities, 1936: #5) playing three in defence instead of the normal two.
Male had a long apprenticeship in the fringes of The Arsenal. All this was too change when Chapman switched him from the left-hand midfield to right-back.
This was to prove his making. Some pundits even credited him with being the best right-back in the world. Within a few months he was having a trial for the England squad.
Charles George Cole was born 8 May 1910. He played firstt for West Ham schoolboys and then in the amatuer Clapton side whilst being employed as a clerk. Spotted by an Arsenal scout he was signed to the team on his 20th birthday.
His debut was in Dec 1930 when Arsenal won 7-1 against Blackpool. He was to only appear twice more in that season. The season in which The Arsenal become the first southern team to win the League.
The following season was similiar, only playing for the team on nine occassions.
He did have the distinction of playing in the FA Cup final that season as James was injured (Ogdens, Football Club Captains  #16). The win was elusive, despite leading early on Newcastle came back strongly and won 2-1. Some of the old stagers still dispute the equalising goal in that game.
Male had a good playing relationship with the left-back, Hapgood (RJ Hill, Famous Footballers  #6). Both were aware of the need for fitness which was something of a novelty for sides in the 30's. Although slight and under six foot, Male could strike the ball with both feet (not at the same time you understand) which was a necessary skill with the heavier ball used in this period.
I mentioned earlier Male had a try out for England. His first international match was against Scotland in 1934 and was also one of seven Arsenal players which were picked for the International side who played against Italy that year.
Seven players from one side in the international team is still a record and an indication of just how strong The Arsenal was at this time.
Italy at the time were World Champions and the game became rather physical after an injury to the Italian centre-half which occured in the second minute of the game. After this kicking the ball became a secondary tactic for the Italians who were more determined to kick English players into touch. England won the game 3-2.
By the end of the decade he had played for England 19 times and was Captain on a number of occassions in the latter years.
Things were just as successful in the Arsenal squad. Although Chapman was to die in 1934 the team continued to play the game he had inspired. In 1935 the game against Chelsea drew a crowd of 83,000, which remains a record for a league game and will probably always be.
The following year saw Male in the FA Cup final against Sheffield Wednesday. Arsenal won the game in a tight match. 1938 saw Male picking up his fourth and final championship medal.
Play was interupted by the war where Male served as a physical training instructor in Palestine.
1946 saw the resumption of professional football but for Male his best years were behind him. Playing several times he clocked up 8 appearances in the Arsenal side that won the league title in 1948. May that year was his last appearance for his side. Leaving as he had entered on a winning note, beating Grimsby 8-0.
During his playing career he made 285 league appearances for Arsenal and never scored a goal.
He remained active within the club for the following 40 years as coach to to the junior and reserve sides and then as a scout.