On Sunday Huddersfield Town come to The Emirates in the FA Cup, both teams will stand side by side in the tunnel before entering on to the green grass.
Born in 1878, Chapman played for many clubs, including the Tiny Totts but most Arsenal and Huddersfield fans will think of his managerial career when hearing his name.
Chapman was at Leeds when naughtiness surrounding illegal payments hit the headlines. Chapman was banned from football along with a few others and employment took him to the Coke Works in Selby. In the winter of 1920, the company was sold and he was laid off.
Huddersfield FC stepped in, successfully appealed his ban and he became their assistant manager in February the following year. The following month Chapman took over as manager. Chapman bought in a few good players and the following year Huddersfield won the FA Cup, beating Preston North End 1-0 in the final. The league results were not good but they finished 14th that season.
Chapman believed in a strong defence, fast counter attacking football and short mazy runs from the wingers – this was passed down through the club at reserve and beyond making it easy for players to slot into the first team when needed. Tactics and further purchases of good players changed Huddersfield and in the 1923/24 season they won their first league title. The following season they retained title despite falling to ninth at one stage. Injury meant Chapman signed a new keeper, Billy Mercer – they climbed back up the table, reaching top spot following a 5-0 win over Arsenal!! They finished the season as Champions.
In 1925, Chapman moved on from Huddersfield after applying for a ‘job’ in the Athletic News – He was the new manager of Arsenal Football Club, salary and larger crowds attracted him to the job…
He went on to repeat the same achievements with us as he did at Huddersfield, taking us from a mediocre club to runners up in the league in the 1925-26 season, funny enough five points behind his old club. Sadly, the following few seasons we would finish mid-table but Chapman was building his side.
Some of his signings were: pacy winger Joe Hulme, forward Jack Lambert and full-back Tom Parker. Despite struggling in the league, in 1927 we reached the FA Cup Final, only to lose 1-0 to Cardiff. The same year, Arsenal became embroiled in a scandal; footballers’ pay at the time was limited by a maximum wage, but an FA enquiry found that Charlie Buchan had received illegal payments from Arsenal as an incentive to sign. Sir Henry Norris was sacked for his part and banned from football, but Chapman survived. Norris was replaced by Samuel Hill-Wood.
Chapman bought in more players – David Jack in 1928, Alex James and Cliff Bastin in 1929. He added defensive players, Herbie Roberts and Eddie Hapgood. Herbert Chapman was a cunning old devil, the signing of David Jack proved this, Bolton wanted a record fee of £13,000 for their player.
This is how Chapman got his man on the cheap according to his assistant Bob Wall:
We arrived at the hotel half-an-hour early. Chapman immediately went into the lounge bar. He called the waiter, placed two pound notes in his hand and said: “George, this is Mr Wall, my assistant. He will drink whisky and dry ginger. I will drink gin and tonic. We shall be joined by guests. They will drink whatever they like. See that our guests are given double of everything, but Mr Wall’s whisky and dry ginger will contain no whisky, and my gin and tonic will contain no gin.
The Bolton directors got tiddled and the deal was made at £10,890.
Chapman had a five year plan when he arrived and almost to the day we beat Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup Final 2-0, the league remained a struggle that season but that FA Cup win seemed to spur the team on and Chapman had laid the foundations for a decade in which became the most dominant team in England, eventually winning five league titles.
Chapman fell ill with a cold in the winter of 1933, a cold that turned into pneumonia, pneumonia that would take his life.
Herbert Chapman passed away on the 6 January 1934, his football club sat four points clear at the top of the league.
Chapman will be remembered as one of the first football managers in the modern sense of the word. Taking full charge of the team, rather than letting board members pick the side. As well as his tactical innovations, he was also a strong believer in physical fitness in football – he instituted a strict training regime and the use of physiotherapists and masseurs.
In tribute to his achievements at Arsenal, a bronze bust of Chapman, sculpted by Jacob Epstein resided inside the marble halls of the East Stand of Arsenal Stadium, Highbury until its closure in 2006 and will be reinstated there once redevelopment work in the stadium is completed. A replica sits in the Directors’ Entrance at Emirates Stadium; he is one of only two Arsenal managers to be honoured this way, the other being current manager Arsène Wenger. Furthermore, Arsenal’s white away kit for the 2007–08 season was dedicated to Chapman and his achievements.
Unlike many other English managers of his day, Chapman was a fan of the continental game and counted among his friends Hugo Meisl, coach of the Austrian “Wunderteam” of the 1930s. As long ago as 1909, he had taken his Northampton side on a tour of Germany to play Nuremberg and at Arsenal he had instituted an ongoing series of home-and-away friendlies against the likes of Racing Club de Paris.
Chapman had proposed a Europe-wide club competition more than twenty years before the European Cup was instituted, and regularly took his teams abroad to play foreign sides. He was one of the first managers to consider signing black and foreign players; as well as signing Walter Tull, one of the first black professionals in the game, for Northampton Town in 1911, he attempted to recruit Austrian international goalkeeper Rudy Hiden for Arsenal in 1930, but was blocked by the Ministry of Labour, after protests from the Players’ Union and the Football League. He did however succeed in signing Gerard Keyser, the first Dutchman to play English league football, as an amateur the same year.
In 2003, Chapman was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his impact as a manager. An English Heritage blue plaque commemorating Chapman was unveiled in March 2005, at the house in Hendon where Chapman lived from 1926 until his death. The first player or manager to be commemorated in this way by English Heritage. In 2004, on the seventieth anniversary of his death, The Sunday Times named him the greatest British manager of all time in a poll.
Huddersfield Town were presented with a replica of Chapman’s bust by Arsenal to celebrate their centenary in 2008, Huddersfield also contested the inaugural Herbert Chapman Trophy against Arsenal at the Galpharm Stadium on 6 August 2008, which Arsenal won 2–1.
It was in the 1930 FA Cup Final between his old and current club he suggested the two teams walk onto the pitch side by side – that was the first time of this ever happening and we all know it remains that way today.
So, for all Huddersfield and Arsenal fans, Sunday will be quite a special day……
Sorry it’s gone on a bit! There is plenty more to write about the great Herbert Chapman and I hope today both sets of fans can bring that to the comments……
And yes, I had to research Wikkipedia as even at my old age, I cannot recall the Herbert Chapman era….
Have a good day all………