Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Forgotten Creative Genius. No 1.

I'm not a fan of Arsenal.
Far from it. They do nothing for me.

I do, however, have a huge respect for one Arsenal creative visionary.

It's not Denis Bergkamp, Liam Brady or Peter Marinello.

I am talking about Herbert Chapman,  the Arsenal manager between 1925 and 1933. 

Sure, there have been great managers in the modern game, but when it comes down to ideas, Chapman was a genius. 

Brian Clough, Matt Busby and Bill Shankly were witty, acerbic and urbane.They were good man managers, self made and media savvy. They built teams and brought them success.

Chapman was cut from a similar working class cloth as Busby, Clough and Shankly. 

He didn't just build successful teams. 
He changed football.

He came up with proposals that, at the time, were unconventional, stupid and scary.

He was considered to be a lunatic by the football authorities. Most of his ideas are now part and parcel of football.

Chapman canvassed for goal line help for refs.

He was the first to introduce numbers on players’ backs. This was subsequently banned by the league and then made compulsory 10 years later.

He was the first to try to sign an overseas player. An action stopped by the FA as it threatened jobs for British players.

He introduced floodlights in 1930 something that was only sanctioned by the FA in the 1950’s.

He introduced red and white shirts for Arsenal so they would stand out on black and white newsreel footage.

He convinced The London Electric Company to change the name of the tube station from Gillespie Road to Arsenal.

He deducted money each week from players’ salaries to be paid in to a high interest account so retiring players had a nest egg to fall back on.

He proposed radical ideas to the FA regarding the England football team, many of which were adopted, including the creation of an England squad of 20  chosen by the manager rather than the selection of 11 players by FA committee members.

He was the first manager to lead a team out at Wembley Stadium. Something that was considered weird and arrogant at the time.

On the football field, Herbert was the first manager to interchange player’s positions. 

He trained the wingers to cut in from the wings to create 4/5 forwards to play a short passing game to goal.

He introduced the ball playing centre back and the playmaker behind the forward.

Trophy wise, he won more League titles than either Shankly, Busby or Clough.

He won 6 League Championships, 2 with Huddersfield, 3 with Arsenal and 1 with Northampton.

He also took Huddersfield and Arsenal to 4 FA cup finals winning it once with Arsenal.

Herbert Chapman was an ideas man.
He died in 1934 aged 56.

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