Denis Compton

Denis Compton

Denis Compton was born in Hendon, Middlesex on 23rd May 1918. The brother of Leslie Compton, he played football for Hampstead Town and Nunhead before joining Arsenal as an amateur in September 1932.

Compton was also a talented cricketer and played his first county game for Middlesex in 1936.

An outside left, Compton made his debut for Arsenal against Derby County on 26th September 1936. That season he played in 14 league games. For the next three seasons he only rarely played for the first team.

Compton continued to play for Middlesex and in August 1937 played in his first test match for England against New Zealand. In the summer of 1939 he scored 2468 runs, including 120 against the West Indies.

During the Second World War Compton joined the British Army and served in India. At the peak of his form he won two wartime international caps and played in over 120 friendly games.

In the 1946-47 season Compton only played in one game because of a serious leg injury. Jeff Harris argues in Arsenal Who's Who that "many critics thought that Denis Compton was a better footballer than cricketer". However, injuries continued to hamper his football career. However, his cricket career continued to blossom and he during this post-war period he was considered the best batsman in the world. In the 1947 season he scored 3,816 runs at an average of 91 with 18 centuries.

Compton's injury problems meant that he only played in 14 games when Arsenal won the 1947-48 league championship. Another leg injury limited his appearances the following season but he did play in the Arsenal team that beat Liverpool to win the 1950 FA Cup Final.

Compton retired from football at the end of the 1949-50 season. During his time at the club he scored 16 goals in 59 games. He continued to play cricket until 1958. He played in a total of 78 test matches with an average of 50.08. Compton scored 38,954 runs for Middlesex. This total included 123 centuries. After retiring from cricket he reported on the game for the Sunday Express and the BBC.

Denis Compton died in Windsor on 23rd April, 1997.