Arthur Chandler’s 1929 FA Tour in South Africa and Southern Rhodesia


In June 1929, 92 years ago, Leicester City record scorer Arthur Chandler scored two hat tricks in three days.

He scored the goals while representing the English FA on their 1929 tour of South Africa and Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).

We are fortunate to have access to details of Arthur’s exploits on this tour. These would have largely been lost to history had he not left his touring newspaper clippings at the Club before his death at the age of 88 in 1984. These yellowed and crumbling pages of the South African and Southern Rhodesian press (now on the Digital Archives Club website), strongly take us back to this tour 92 years ago.

Arthur arrived in Salisbury (now Harare) in Southern Rhodesia on June 26, 1929 as a member of a very strong FA tour team. This contained several England internationals, including Arthur’s Leicester City teammate, left-back Reg Osborne.

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Port Élisabeth, 1929

A crowd gathered in Port Elizabeth in 1929 for the FA tour of South Africa and Southern Rhodesia.

After a three-day train journey from Bulawayo, players were tired of traveling upon arrival in Salisbury, but when asked if the long periods of overland travel between tour locations had negatively affected them, the point of view of the players was that it was not. a problem provided they have the opportunity to train before matches.

Prior to their arrival at Salisbury, the English team were undefeated on the tour and Chandler was in great shape.

In preparation for the visit to Southern Rhodesia, he had scored 20 goals in 10 South Africa games, a route that had included a test match against the host country.

Therefore, Arthur was the star player everyone in Southern Rhodesia wanted to see. Upon arriving in Salisbury, under the headline “The Greatness of Chandler,” the Rhodesia Herald described Chandler as “5ft 9in tall and almost 12 stone tall. He has scored a great crop of goals so far on the tour and it has whetted the appetite to see more. It thunders in the center. He’s a big bump to attack and stop. He has scored dozens of goals for Leicester City and can shoot like a weapon. “

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Arthur chandler
Arthur chandler

Arthur Chandler is pictured in training for the FA.

Arthur certainly lived up to his reputation in Rhodesia.

On June 27, 1929, Arthur scored a hat-trick for the FA in a 4-0 victory over Rhodesia at Salisbury.

Two days later, on June 29, 1929, in a 6-1 victory over Rhodesia in Bulawayo, Arthur scored another hat-trick. At this point in the tour, Chandler had scored 26 remarkable goals in 12 games.

The verdict on Chandler after his two games in Southern Rhodesia was described in the local press as follows: “Chandler was the shining light. Its shape was a revelation. His ball control, on terrains like concrete, was remarkable. Another report described Arthur as “easily the best center forward to come to this country.”

There were still some tensions. The local press did not like the English ‘win at all costs’ approach to the game and did not approve of the way England players shouted instructions at each other on the pitch, which they considered ‘bad form’.

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Arthur chandler
Arthur chandler

Arthur Chandler trains on a ship for the 1929 tour of South Africa and Southern Rhodesia.

The closed season is traditionally a time when players are on vacation. That certainly wasn’t the case with Arthur all those years ago. He continued his week in Southern Rhodesia with seven more goals in four more games in South Africa, including two test matches. His last total of goals for the tour was an incredible 33 goals in 16 games.

Arthur was well paid for his exploits on the FA Tour. He received £ 9.50 per week at a time when the best contracts in England at the end of the season were only £ 6.00 per week.

Some of Arthur’s memorabilia from his remarkable tour are in the Club’s collection. These include his FA Tour cap, his personal snapshots taken during the tour, and his newspaper archive.

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