Leslie Compton

Leslie Compton

Leslie Compton was born in Woodford, Essex, on 12th September 1912. The brother of Dennis Compton, he played football for Hampstead Town before joining Arsenal as an amateur in 1930.

Compton made his league debut against Aston Villa on 25th April 1932. That season he played in four games, on each occasion he replaced the injured Tom Parker.

Over the next three seasons Compton only played as a replacement for the injured full-backs, Tom Parker, Eddie Hapgood and George Male: 1934-35 (5 games), 1935-36 (12 games), 1936-37 (15 games), 1937-38 (9 games) and 1938-39 (18 games). He also played as wicket keeper for Middlesex.

During the Second World War Compton served in the British Army. Converted to centre-half, Crompton was a regular member of the Arsenal first team in the 1946-47. He played in 35 games in Arsenal's championship winning team in the 1947-48 season. The following season he was a member of the Arsenal team that beat Liverpool to win the 1950 FA Cup Final.

Compton won his first international cap for England against Wales on 15th November 1950. At the age of 38 years and two months he became the oldest ever debutant for England. He also played in the game against Yugoslavia (2-2).

Compton continued as Arsenal's first team centre-half until the 1950-51 season. He retired in 1952. During his time at the club he scored six goals in 270 league and cup games. He continued to play cricket for Middlesex until 1956. Compton also worked as a coach at Highbury (1953-56).

Leslie Compton died on 27th December 1984.

Primary Sources

(1) Nick Varley, Golden Boy (1997)

In those days it was a selection committee which basically rewarded players who were good professionals, Sir Walter says. "It was a question of giving them the honour of playing for England, acknowledging their careers really. They were good players, obviously, who deserved recognition at international level, but not always when they got it. I remember when Leslie Compton, who had never won a cap, partly because of the war, was picked for one game as a mark of respect for him playing so long and so well, generally, for Arsenal. It wasn't on really, but that's the way it was - even though you're not going to build up a World Cup winning squad like that, are you?"