Giant zeppelins! Unprecedented sportsmanship! A look at Arsenal's first FA Cup win in 1930

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle
The Graf Zeppelin flies over the 1930 FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium. (Getty)


The Graf Zeppelin flies over the 1930 FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium. (Getty)

No matter what the result, the 2014 FA Cup final between Arsenal and Hull City will produce a first of sorts. If Hull win, it will be their first FA Cup in the club's 110-year history. If Arsenal win, it will be their first major trophy in nine years, bringing an end to a major source of criticism for Arsene Wenger. But Arsenal's first ever FA Cup win and first ever major trophy came back in 1930 and, coincidentally, they beat Hull in a semifinal replay to reach a final worth remembering.

Arsenal lost their first FA Cup final appearance to Cardiff in 1927, but legendary manager Herbert Chapman took them back to the final to face Huddersfield Town three years later. Dubbed the North v South Final, it was a special match-up for Chapman since he managed Huddersfield in the 1920s, winning the FA Cup and a pair of First Division titles with them before joining Arsenal. As a show of both clubs' respect for him, the two teams came out side by side before the match for the first time ever.

The players were introduced to King George V in front of more than 92,000 fans at Wembley. Both sides lined up in Chapman's innovative WM formation, but since Arsenal had the master on their side, they took an early lead from a goal scored by Alex James, who suffered from acute rheumatism and wore trademark baggy shorts to conceal the long johns he had on underneath to keep warm, in the 16th minute.

The match took a bizarre turn in the second half when the Graf Zeppelin — then the largest airship ever — appeared over the stadium. "The deafening roar from its engines disconcerted both players and spectators," says Arsenal's official account of the game. "The giant aircraft, at 775 ft in length, was a symbol of a rising Germany, and it dipped its nose in salute to King George V as it passed by."

Arsenal's Jack Lambert added a second goal in the 88th minute and Arsenal held on to win 2-0, beginning a successful period for the club that included five First Division titles in the 1930s and a second FA Cup in 1936. They won the FA Cup for the 10th time in 2005 — their last major trophy.

Extending the camaraderie Arsenal and Huddersfield displayed before the match, Chapman had the idea that the two clubs should have dinner together afterwards. Sadly, this did not become a tradition for FA Cup finalists. 

Thanks to British Pathe's brilliant YouTube channel, you can watch extended newsreel highlights of the match, the Graf Zeppelin's appearance and even Arsenal's celebration in north London below. Enjoy.

- - - - - - -

Brooks Peck is the editor of Dirty Tackle on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow on Twitter!

What to Read Next