Continuing our ‘Arsenal’s men from history’ feature, we take a look at one of the Gunners’ greatest ever players who would go on to score 178 goals for the club.
Born in 1912, Clifford Bastin signed for Arsenal in 1929 after a year at Exeter City, where he lived, making 17 appearances (scoring six goals).
Bastin was just 17 years old when he moved to London after being spotted by manager at the time and Arsenal legend, Herbert Chapman, in a match against Watford.
The teenager made his Arsenal debut against Everton on 5 October 1929, which ended 1-1, and Chapman loved him, instantly turning him into a first team player despite his age and lack of experience. ‘Boy Bastin’, as he was affectionately known, went on to make 21 appearances during his first season at Arsenal and 35 every season after that until 1937/38.
Bastin, who played ‘outside left’ or on the left wing as we now know it, was Arsenal’s main penalty taker and known for his calmness under pressure.
He scored 178 goals in 395 games, making him Arsenal’s all-time top scorer until 1997 when Ian Wright broke his record. He managed to hold onto the record of scoring 150 League goals but it was surpassed by Thierry Henry on 1 February 2006.
By the age of 19 Bastin had won a League title and an FA Cup, which he would go on to win again in 1936. He also became the youngest Arsenal player to score a hat-trick. He would go on to win a total of five League titles and feature 21 times for England, scoring 12 goals.
Bastin injured his leg just before his time with Arsenal was cut short at the age of 27 for World War II when he took part in wartime matches to boost morale since he was excused from military service due to increasing deafness. However, his leg continued to give him problems and meant his career wound down in 1947.
Bastin passed away in 1991.