On the 14th December 1935 Arsenal travelled to Aston Villa for a league match. Ted Drake was suffering with a knee injury that would later need an operation and was a doubt for the game after a poor performance earlier in the week against Middlesbrough.
Villa’s defence was in poor form having already conceded 52 goals in 18 games, and this in part encouraged George Allison to take a risk on his number nine.
It was a risk that paid off handsomely. By half time Drake had a hat-trick. By the hour mark he had six. He then hit the bar and when he appealed to the ref that the ball had bounced over the line the referee told him he had six and not to be greedy. He was, and added a seventh goal shortly before time.
(Arsenal are in white)
As you can see from the next two scans Drake finally succumbed to his injury in the spring, and then faced a battle to get fit for the FA Cup Final.
“6.2.36. Arsenal Centre Forward in Hospital. Ted Drake, the Arsenal centre forward, is in the Royal Northern Hospital, Holloway Road, following injuries received while playing for England against Wales at Wolverhampton yesterday. Ted Drake, in bed, reading all about the match in hospital this morning.”
“29/2/36. Drake Leaves Hospital. Ted Drake, the Arsenal F.C. centre-forward, who had an operation for cartilage trouble two weeks ago, left the Royal Northern Hospital, London, to-day. He will be a spectator at this afternoon’s F.A. cup-tie match between Arsenal and Barnsley at Highbury, London, N.”
Drake then face a battle to be fit in time for the FA Cup Final and played with what was describes as the ‘biggest bandage in the world’ on his knee. Despite this, it was his goal in the 74th minute that brought the Cup back to Highbury. The media were banned from filming the game after a dispute over fees – originally offered £900 the FA wanted £1500 and when the broadcast companies refused to pay that the FA finally accepted the original offer. Sensing blood the broadcasters withdrew that offer and were only prepared to pay £500. The FA refused this and the only film of the match is from autogyros flying above the stadium, as you can see below.