91 years ago today - 14th January 1933


Still got my grandfather’s ticket to that game. Treasured memento.


91 years ago today, Bill Slade taught the lads to play

As a young supporter remember reading about this game in the Saddlers News Programme. An article in the programme by, I think, Ernie Wilson, titled “Peeks into the Past”. Along with many other things it inspired me to stick with the Saddlers; David v Goliath and all that…

I have a re-issued copy of the programme from that game.

“One of”? The greatest cup upset.

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It is THE greatest cup shock ever.



When they visited Fellows Park on that day in 1933, Arsenal were the previous season’s cup runners up and well on the way to the first leg of their historic treble as First Division (old EPL) champions - manager Herbert Chapman repeating the magic effect he’d had on guiding Huddersfield towards being the first ever club to achieve that feat. As well as cup runners up, they’d also finished 2nd in the league to spoil what would have been 5 consecutive championships rather than just(!!!) the 3. They were held in even higher regard then than Pep’s Man City are today - and seen as probably the best club side in the world (certainly England) at that time.

We were a strugging side in the old 3rd Division South (there being no 4th Division back then) who had finished 16th the year before and weren’t all that long back from non-league wilderness. This was a much much bigger win than the one against Man Utd in 1975, yet which is the one we talk about most today? It should be tattooed on every Sadllers fan’s heart.


One thing that always irritates me when the media do a list of the biggest ever cup shocks is when they include Wimbledon beating Liverpool in the final. :roll_eyes: That shows a lack of understanding of the game.
We usually get in the top ten somewhere, along with Hereford and Wrexham etc., but Wimbledon is just ridiculous.


I’d agree it was the bigger of the two shocks, but we talk about the win over ManUre because a lot of us were there. It’s interesting, perhaps, that there must have been a lot watching us beat ManUre and Newcastle who had also been at the win over Arsenal. It was only 42 years earlier, and the ManUre/Newcastle matches are now 49 years ago. :grimacing:

And one of our goalscorers against Arsenal, Gilbert Alsop (who the Poundland Stand was originally named after before commercial sponsorship took precedence over our history - and now he’s no longer commemorated anywhere in the stadium :frowning_face:) was still alive and often appeared as one of the “old boys” wheeled out at important games right up to the move to Bescot/Banks’s/Poundland/your-name-here.

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My mate’s Dad went to this game he was only a nipper he got in when they broke the gates down, when he went home and told his Dad they’d won he got a good hiding for telling lies.

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My dad was only a few months old at the time of the FA Cup game but he did see Alsop play for us in his second spell during the war years where he overlapped with Doug Lishman (my dad’s hero from back then - still says he’s the best forward we’ve ever had) who coincidentally was transferred to Arsenal and won a league title with them.


Only Henry, Bastin and Wright have scored more League goals for Arsenal than Doug Lishman, so he is in rarefied company. Another three players sneak past him in goals for all competitions, Drake and Brain beating him by two, and Radford also moves above Doug, by virtue of playing in the League Cup and European matches, which were competitions not available in his time.
So he’s fourth for Arsenal League goals and seventh overall, so your dad might well be correct.
Incidentally, Doug was a few weeks shy of his 23rd birthday when he signed for Walsall from Paget Rangers, so a late starter in the professional game, but we can blame Mr Hitler for that.

My Dad always told the tale that he went to this game…but wasn’t actually born until 3 months later! Perhaps strangely for those days, it was his mum, not his dad, who was the Walsall fan and, for such a big game, being 6 months pregnant wasn’t going to stop her.

I still have the original game programme, which has been passed down. I was only looking at it a couple of days ago, along with the 1975 Man United programme and Newcastle programme.

The thing to remember about the 75 against Man United is that they weren’t even a top league side at the top. They were top of what was then the Second Division, but still came with all of the glamour. Arguably, beating Newcastle was a finer win, particularly since they had the best striker in English football at the time.


I think you’ll find that chap was wearing the Number Ten shirt for Walsall. :laughing:
But, yes, Tudor and Macdonald was a potent partnership and Robinson, Atthey and Saunders were all brilliant to keep them quiet.

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Saunders was outstanding that day. Awful the rest of the time :rofl:

One of the big “what ifs” about Walsall, for me, as always what would have happened if a top league club had bought Buckley in his prime. He had a significant impact at Birmingham when he did finally move but, let’s be honest, he was actually past his best then. In the middle of those phenomenal goalscoring years, if he’d moved to the top league, I think he would have become an England regular.

I remember in 1978 when Wolves signed Billy Rafferty, thinking they would have been better off signing The Buck, not that I wanted him sold, mind. Rafferty was a different type of player, taller and more physical but he never impressed at Wolves and was well short of top division quality.
Peter Ward was another lower division player who didn’t convince me, one great season at Brighton, but didn’t do much in a pretty good Forest team.
Sadly, when The Buck moved it was to a team that was a bit rubbish, although he did OK, scoring twice against ManUre and getting one of the best goals I’ve ever seen at The Molineux on Boxing Day 1978.

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Newcastle were also the losing finalists in the 73/74 FA Cup too.