1946–47 Arsenal F.C. season
(until 31 May 1947)
(from 2 June 1947)
|FA Cup||Third round|
Reg Lewis (29)
Reg Lewis (29)
|Highest home attendance||60,643 v Derby County
(21 September 1946)
|Lowest home attendance||23,785 v Everton
(31 May 1947)
In 1946 the Football League in the United Kingdom fully resumed on a national basis following the disruption caused by World War II. In the club's first post-war First Division match, on 31 August 1946; Arsenal lost 6–1 to Wolves, their biggest League defeat in nearly twenty years. Although the Gunners had been the dominant force in English football in the 1930s, they struggled in their first season after the war, only finishing 13th.
Players returning after the break included Cliff Bastin, Bryn Jones, Reg Lewis, Jimmy Logie, George Male, David Nelson and Laurie Scott. George Swindin established himself as Arsenal's undisputed No. 1, a position he would hold for the next six seasons. The squad included brothers Leslie Compton and Denis Compton both of whom also played Cricket for Middlesex. Ian McPherson made his Arsenal debut in the opening match against Wolves. He played 40 times that season on the right wing.
Dr. Kevin O'Flanagan made 14 First Division appearances and scored three goals. He made his first-class league debut against Blackburn Rovers on 4 September and his last appearance for the senior team came on 28 December 1946 against Wolves. Bernard Joy played the first half of the 1946–47 season before deciding that his age (35) was counting against him; he retired from top-flight football in December 1946. George Curtis played 12 times in the 1946–47 season, but was sold to Southampton in part-exchange for Don Roper in summer 1947.
Joe Mercer made his Arsenal debut against Bolton Wanderers on 30 November 1946 and soon after became club captain. Everton boss Theo Kelly had brought Mercer's boots to the transfer negotiations to prevent Mercer having a reason to go back to say goodbye to the other players at Everton. His transfer fee was set at £9,000 (2010: £291,000).
Despite being nearly 35 and having never played in the top flight, Ronnie Rooke was signed by Arsenal (Cyril Grant going in the other direction). The move was surprising, but Rooke immediately made an impact, scoring the winner on his debut against Charlton Athletic on 14 December. He scored 21 goals in just 24 League matches that season.
On 21 September 63,000 attended Highbury to see Arsenal beaten by Derby County. Czech Champions, AC Sparta opened their tour of Britain with a 2–2 draw against Arsenal on 2 October with Albert Guðmundsson, later Iceland's Minister of Finance, playing inside forward for The Gunners.
Despite leading at half time, Arsenal lost to Sheffield United in early November. Six changes were made for the match against Preston the following week: Walley Barnes replaced Joy at left back. With Jones still injured, Lewis was moved to inside forward and Cyril Grant made his Arsenal debut as centre forward. However, the poor form continued and Arsenal lost 2–0.
Each November between 1930 and 1962, Racing Club de Paris hosted a prestige game with Arsenal. In 1946 The London club were beaten 2–1 at Colombes Stadium. In Mid November they beat Oxford University 6–0 with goals by Doug Farquhar, Morgan (2) and Whalley (3).
Football League First Division
|31 August 1946||Wolverhampton Wanderers||A||L||1–6||Lewis||50,845|
|4 September 1946||Blackburn Rovers||H||L||1–3||Lewis||28,700|
|7 September 1946||Sunderland||H||D||2–2||Lewis (2)||53,377|
|11 September 1946||Everton||A||L||2–3||Lewis (2)||40,000|
|14 September 1946||Aston Villa||A||W||2–0||Lewis, O'Flanagan||53,778|
|17 September 1946||Blackburn Rovers||A||W||2–1||Lewis (2)||24,563|
|21 September 1946||Derby County||H||L||0–1||60,643|
|28 September 1946||Manchester United||A||L||2–5||Lewis, McPherson||62,718|
|5 October 1946||Blackpool||A||L||1–2||Logie||24,039|
|12 October 1946||Brentford||H||D||2–2||Lewis, Logie||45,000|
|19 October 1946||Stoke City||H||W||1–0||O'Flanagan||60,266|
|26 October 1946||Chelsea||A||L||1–2||Lewis||56,568|
|2 November 1946||Sheffield United||H||L||2–3||Lewis, Logie||41,730|
|9 November 1946||Preston North End||A||L||0–2||29,971|
|16 November 1946||Leeds United||H||W||4–2||Lewis (2) (1 pen.), Logie, McPherson||36,377|
|23 November 1946||Liverpool||A||L||2–4||Lewis, Logie||51,435|
|30 November 1946||Bolton Wanderers||H||D||2–2||Lewis (pen.), O'Flanagan||42,522|
|7 December 1946||Middlesbrough||A||L||0–2||30,357|
|14 December 1946||Charlton Athletic||H||W||1–0||Rooke||38,606|
|21 December 1946||Grimsby Town||A||D||0–0||13,308|
|25 December 1946||Portsmouth||H||W||2–1||Rooke, Logie||32,108|
|26 December 1946||Portsmouth||A||W||2–0||Rooke (2)||38,000|
|28 December 1946||Wolverhampton Wanderers||H||D||1–1||Rooke||58,075|
|4 January 1947||Sunderland||A||W||4–1||Rooke (2), Lewis (2)||36,812|
|18 January 1947||Aston Villa||H||L||0–2||57,524|
|1 February 1947||Manchester United||H||W||6–2||Rooke (3), Rudkin, Logie, McPherson||29,145|
|8 February 1947||Blackpool||H||D||1–1||Rooke||31,111|
|22 February 1947||Stoke City||A||L||1–3||Rooke||30,000|
|1 March 1947||Chelsea||H||L||1–2||Rudkin||52,606|
|15 March 1947||Preston North End||H||W||4–1||Lewis (3), Rooke||45,775|
|22 March 1947||Leeds United||A||D||1–1||Lewis||32,000|
|4 April 1947||Huddersfield Town||H||L||1–2||Jones||46,105|
|5 April 1947||Bolton Wanderers||A||W||3–1||Rooke (2), Lewis||34,398|
|7 April 1947||Huddersfield Town||A||D||0–0||33,381|
|12 April 1947||Middlesbrough||H||W||4–0||Rooke (4) (1 pen.)||44,230|
|19 April 1947||Charlton Athletic||A||D||2–2||McPherson, Logie||57,983|
|26 April 1947||Grimsby Town||H||W||5–3||Lewis (4), D. Compton||42,100|
|10 May 1947||Derby County||A||W||1–0||Rooke||19,153|
|24 May 1947||Liverpool||H||L||1–2||McPherson||44,265|
|26 May 1947||Brentford||A||W||1–0||Sloan||17,599|
|31 May 1947||Everton||H||W||2–1||Rooke, Lewis||23,785|
|7 June 1947||Sheffield United||A||L||1–2||McPherson||14,939|
|1946-47||Div 1||42||16||9||17||72||70||41||13th||Reg Lewis||29|
Results by round
Ground: A = Away; H = Home. Result: D = Draw; L = Loss; W = Win; P = Postponed.
|Third round||11 January 1947||Chelsea||A||D||1–1||McPherson||70,195|
|Third round replay||15 January 1947||Chelsea||H||D||1–1 (a.e.t.)||Rooke||53,350|
|Third round replay||20 January 1947||Chelsea||N||L||0–2||59,590|
- Players with name struck through and marked left the club during the playing season.
|Pos.||Nat.||Name||First Division||FA Cup||Total|
- The Times, 30 August 1946; "Association Football: The New Season"
- Appearances in wartime leagues such as the Football League South are not counted as official first-class matches by statisticians, hence this is considered O'Flanagan's first-class league debut.
- Corbett, James (2003); p104 Everton:School of Science publ by MacMillan ISBN 0-330-42006-2
- The Times, Saturday, 16 November 1946; Association Football Some Championship Anxieties
- The Times, 23 September 1946; Association Football Four Unbeaten Clubs
- The Times, 3 October 1946; Association Football Sparta Draw With Arsenal
- The Times, 9 November 1946; Association Football Wolverhampton At Charlton
- The Times, 11 November 1946; Association Football Bad Day For Home Teams
- The Times, 12 November 1946; Association Football Changes In Welsh Team
- The Times, 15 November 1946; Association Football
- Ollier, Fred (1995). Arsenal: A Complete Record (4th ed.). Breedon Books. p. 156. ISBN 1-85983-011-0.
- Goals in all competitions are counted.
- Kelly, Andy. "Arsenal First Team Line-Ups" (Select 1946–1947). Andy's Arsenal Resource Website.