This classic match saw a record broken, but it wasn’t Arsenal who broke it. It was also the last game played by a legendary forward.

We don’t have a copy of the programme for this game, but there is one available on the excellent Everton Collection website. Click on the programme cover read it at the Everton Collection.

Programme cover

Programme cover

Date: Saturday 5 May 1928

Competition: Football League Division One

Location: Goodison Park

Attendance: 48,715

Referee: Mr W.F. Harper (Stourbridge)

Everton 3             Arsenal 3

Dean 5 mins, 7 penalty, 83                  Shaw 3, 90, O’Donnell (own goal) 40


Everton: A Davies, W Creswell, J O’Donnell, J Kelly, H Hart, A Virr, T Critchley G Martin, D Dean, T Weldon, A Troup.

Arsenal: B Paterson, T Parker, B John, A Baker, J Butler, B Blyth, J Hulme, C Buchan, J Shaw, J Brain, H Peel.

Everton came into this game having been crowned League champions three days earlier. However, one player still had plenty to play for as “Dixie” Dean, who had scored an incredible 57 goals in 38 league games, needed three more to beat George Camsell’s record.

Charlie Buchan won the toss and Dean kicked off for Everton. The Toffeemen wasted no time in trying to get the ball up to Dean, and Bob John had to be alert to clear.

It took just three minutes for the first goal to be scored but it was Arsenal who took the lead. An Everton attack was cleared and Jimmy Brain put through James Shaw who unexpectedly stopped 25 yards out and cracked in a low shot which Arthur Davies stooped to collect, but the custodian fumbled and the ball squirmed between his legs.

Everton were back on level terms within a minute. From the kick-off, they won a corner on the right which was taken by Ted Critchley. George Martin flicked it towards Dean who glanced it past Paterson.

The roar of the crowd had barely died down when, two minutes later, Dean was upended in the penalty area by John. Dixie dusted himself down and made no mistake with the spot-kick, equaling Camsell’s record.

By now, Everton fans must have been wondering not whether Dean could break the record but by how many he would beat it.

Everton launched attack after attack trying to feed Dean for his hat-trick but John was always equal to him, and the woodwork denied him when he did getter the better of the Arsenal defender.

Five minutes before half-time, Arsenal broke away with Buchan feeding Shaw who laid the ball off to Joe Hulme. As the mercurial winger was lining up a shot, Jack O’Donnell raced in to dispossess him but only managed to steer the ball into his own goal.

The second half continued in the same vein with Parker, John and Jack Butler constantly denying Dean. Paterson also got in on the act, punching away from Dixie twice in quick succession.

With just seven minutes remaining Everton won a corner, Troup took it and Dean rose above everyone to finally get the goal he so coveted. The crowd were delirious as Dean was mobbed by his team mates.

However, Arsenal had the final word in the dying seconds when Shaw took a fine pass from Harry Peel and easily beat Davies to level the scores.

Match related comments:

Before the game Charlie Buchan said: “Yes, this is my farewell appearance. It is my last football game, and I am pleased to play under such auspicious circumstances.”

Everton chairman W.C. Cuff congratulated his team for winning the League and described it as “the most wonderful season the game of football has ever known.”

Joe Hulme: “We were aiming to stop him [Dean], but that was easier said than done.”

Facts linked to the match or players:

Although Dean was known throughout the footballing world as “Dixie”, he actually disliked this nickname and preferred to be called Bill or Billy.

Towards the end of the season Charlie Buchan announced that he would retire and this would be his final game. It brought to a close a career that saw him score 258 goals in 472 league games. He was presented with a portfolio and gold-mounted fountain pen by Herbert Chapman on behalf of his teammates and the club.

The Football League trophy was presented to Everton captain Warney Cresswell by John McKenna, and was given three cheers by the crowd.

The rest of the season:

Arsenal finished 11th in the League and reached the FA Cup semi-final, narrowly losing to eventual winners Blackburn Rovers.

A week after the game, Arsenal set sail for Scandinavia where they played six games, winning all of them and scoring 18 goals.

Facts relating to the Season:

The two teams had also met in the FA Cup fourth round. Arsenal ran out 4-3 winners with Dean, inevitably, scoring twice. His final tally against Arsenal for the season was six.

Dean scored seven hat-tricks, including a four and a five, this season. He found the net in 29 of the 39 league games in which he played, and scored a total of 82 goals in all competitions. His record still stands today.

Tottenham were relegated with 38 points in a very tight campaign. It was so close that 10th place Birmingham had only 41 points.

Everton had narrowly avoided relegation the previous season, having finished one place above the drop zone.

Huddersfield were runners-up for the second consecutive season, completing a remarkable sequence of league finishing positions of 3rd, 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd. They were also losing finalists in the FA Cup.

Background to the article

This season we’ve been asked to write a regular page in the official Arsenal programme based on a classic match featuring the opponents for each game we play in. Programme editor Andy Exley has kindly given us permission to reproduce the match reports on our blog. We will also be including additional material that didn’t make the final edit of the programme. If you can’t get to The Emirates, the programme is available on iPad, iPod and android for a bargain 79 pence per issue.


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Or have a look at our other site: The Arsenal Collection  for more Arsenal memorabilia.

Copies of our books Royal Arsenal – Champions of the South and Arsenal: The Complete Record 1886-2018 are still available from the publishers.

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