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Edward Joseph "Ted" Drake (16 August 1912 – 30 May 1995) was an English football player and manager. As a player, he first played for Southampton but made his name playing for Arsenal in the 1930s, winning two league titles and an FA Cup, as well as five caps for England. He was also a cricketer, but only ever played sparingly for Hampshire. After retiring from playing football, he became a manager, and while in charge of Chelsea he took the club to its first top division league title. Drake holds the record for the most goals scored in a top flight game in English football, scoring seven against Aston Villa in December 1935.
Born in Southampton, Drake started playing at Winchester City, whilst continuing to work as a gas-meter reader. He nearly joined Tottenham Hotspur as a schoolboy, but missed the trial match with an injury. In June 1931, he was persuaded by George Kay to joinSouthampton, then playing in Division Two. He made his Saints debut on 14 November 1931 at Swansea Town, and signed as a professional in November, becoming first-choice centre-forward by the end of the 1931–32 season.
In the following season he made 33 league appearances, scoring 20 goals. After only one full season, his bravery and skill attracted the attention of Arsenal's Herbert Chapman, who tried to persuade Drake to move to North London. Drake rejected the chance of a move toHighbury and decided to remain at The Dell. He started the 1933–34 season by scoring a hat trick in the opening game against Bradford City, following this with at least one goal in the next four games, thereby amassing eight goals in the opening five games. By early March he had blasted his way to the top of the Football League Division Two goal-scoring table with 22 goals.
Arsenal, with George Allison now in charge, renewed their interest and Drake eventually decided to join the Gunners in March 1934 for a fee of £6,500. Saints had declined several previous offers, but eventually were forced to sell in order to balance their books. Drake made a total of 74 appearances for Southampton, scoring 48 goals.
Drake moved to Arsenal in March 1934 for £6,500, and scored on his league debut against Wolves on 24 March 1934, in a 3–2 win. Although he joined too late to qualify for a League Championship medal in 1933–34, Drake would win one in 1934–35, scoring 42 goals in 41 league games in the process — this included three hat-tricks and four four-goal hauls. With two more goals in the FA Cup and Charity Shield, Drake scored 44 in all that season, breaking Jack Lambert's club record, one that still holds to this day.
Drake's exploits at club level brought him recognition at international level, and he made his England debut against Italy in the "Battle of Highbury" on 14 November 1934; one of seven Arsenal players in the side, he scored the third goal in a heated 3–2 win. In total he won five caps, scoring six times.
The following season, 1935–36 Drake scored seven in a single match against Aston Villa at Villa Park on 14 December 1935, a club record and top flight record that also still stands. Drake claimed an eighth goal hit the crossbar and went over the line, but the referee waved away his appeal. Drake would go on to win the FA Cup in 1935–36 (scoring the only goal in the final) and the League again in 1937–38.
Despite being injured regularly (he was a doubt up until the last minute for the 1936 Cup Final), Drake's speed, fierce shooting and brave playing style meant he was Arsenal's first-choice centre forward for the rest of the decade, and he was the club's top scorer for each of the five seasons from 1934–35 to 1938–39. The Second World War curtailed Drake's career, although he served in the Royal Air Force as well as turning out for Arsenal in wartime games and also appearing as a guest player for West Ham United later in World War II. However, Drake's career would not last long into peacetime; a spinal injury incurred in a game against Reading in 1945 forced him to retire from playing. With 139 goals in 184 games, he is the joint-fifth (along with Jimmy Brain) all-time scorer for Arsenal.