On the 14th of November 1934 England played Italy at Highbury. This was to be Italy’s first match after having won the World Cup in a tournament England declined to enter and this led the press to build the game up as ‘The real World Cup Final’. Also of note was the fact that for the first time there would be seven players from the one club playing for an England team. The seven, from Arsenal naturally, were Cliff Bastin, Ray Bowden, Wilf Copping, Ted Drake, Eddie Hapgood, George Male and Frank Moss.
After the match the press were up in arms about the behaviour of the visiting team and the game would forever be known as The Battle of Highbury, with some saying England should never play foreign teams again!
A few years ago I was lucky enough to be given an old scrapbook of the game and so for a couple of days I will be putting up scans from there.
Today I’ll start you gently with a few pictures from before the match.
Tomorrow – the match.