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Ray Bowden, 1937: Alec James
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2023-01-31 18:57:45
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THE INFLUENCE OF ALEC JAMES
— Ray Bowden | 19/12/1937 —
In that plan of Arsenal's it would be impossible to underestimate the part played by Alec James. He had a great influence upon the play of the team on the field.
Alec James's name was a magnet. Everybody knew the name. Arsenal's supporters worshipped it. He was one of the real type of "money-spinners" that turn up in football.
Newcastle United will recognise the type in "Hughie" Gallacher. The name of Alec James in Arsenal's team meant additional thousands at Highbury — and elsewhere.
Alec played about in "No Man's Land," where he was expert in picking up, and making good use of unconsidered trigles from the opposition and designed passes from his colleagues.
Yes, it was Arsenal's considered policy to play to James. I could not quite grasp the why and wherefore of the idea at first, but I soon found myself doing the same thing and realised the great value.
Alec was easily accessible because he lay in the open spaces.
From there he would get the raiding members of our attack — at centre and in the wings — at the gallop by accurate passes to any part of the field.
He had a fast drive himself, but sacrificed being in the scoring line for team work that place others in that limelight.
Alec was not only positioned for initiating and developing attacks, but was also handy for the retreat to defence when the demand came — and he never spared himself in either department, though being possessed of the real football brain — he used it to save his fet.
He could get through twice the amount of effective work in half the time of the average player by using that brain.
Footwork, ball control — everything, including an unbounded confidence (not swelled head) made Alec James the great player and great favourite with the Arsenal crowd that he deserved to be.
No wonder then, that great efforts were made to preserve him in the closing years of his career, by careful "nursing" for the big matches.
He has dropped out of football this season, but his memory will linger long with the habitues of Highbury.
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