That victory was over Preston 1-0. What made it rather extraordinary was that Preston were unbeaten in their three games up to that point.
1921 was a time of utter turmoil in UK with mass strikes, demonstrations, revolt in Ireland, unemployment on huge scales… And on 1 September one more action was taken which shook the country, as the Borough Council of Poplar in London refused to collect part of its rates in protest against the way rates were calculated: an unprecedented form of rebellion by those representing a poor working class area. 30 councillors were sent to prison over the affair and an Act was rushed through Parliament to try and help resolve matters.
And so it seems was Arsenal – at least it was in the third post-war season: 1921/2, for it was a disastrous start to the season.
By the third match on 3 September Arsenal had five players in the lineup who had not played in the first game just one week before. The match was a return of the opening day’s game, away to Sheffield United. They had won 2-1 at Highbury, and now the Blades won 4-1 on their own ground.
Not surprisingly the fourth game of the season, late on Monday afternoon, 5 September, attracted only half the crowd of the game on the opening day, and those who failed to turn up must have been most frustrated, for after three straight defeats, Arsenal won, beating Preston 1-0. What made it all the more extraordinary was that Preston were unbeaten in their three games up to that point.
White scored, meaning he had scored in all four matches, and thanks to two against Preston in the earlier game, had five goals to his name. McKenzie came in as the third choice inside right of the season. He was another player who had had a few games at the end of last season; once more, not a new signing.
Meanwhile the turmoil in the country at large continued. Ireland was the prime issue of course as the government met to discuss the finer points as to post-separation Ireland’s relationship with the Empire. But there were diversions too. Charlie Chaplain returned to London on 9 September and was greeted by huge cheering crowds.