Herbert Chapman: from football life ban to glory at Arsenal and Huddersfield

Before the teams with whom Chapman enjoyed his greatest success meet in the Premier League on Wednesday, we recall arguably English football’s most influential manager – referred to as the ‘maker of champions’

On Wednesday Arsenal and Huddersfield meet in the league for the first time in a generation, since the Gunners contributed to their one-time rivals’ relegation with two 1-0 wins in 1971-72. Theirs is a history pockmarked with notable encounters, from the 1930 FA Cup final to the friendly with which Huddersfield celebrated their centenary, but perhaps the most important occurred a little after midnight on the night of 10 June 1925, as Herbert Chapman decided which club he should manage the following season. Every one of these key battles was won by Arsenal.

Huddersfield’s board thought they had done enough in that late-night meeting to keep their man in Yorkshire, including matching Arsenal’s offer to double his £1,000-a-year salary. The following morning the Gunners announced his appointment, a move that, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post, “greatly surprised both the Town Club directors and Mr Chapman” and forced the manager’s hand. “Though very reluctant to sever his connection with the Huddersfield club, he feels that he cannot allow this opportunity of going to London – with the greater prospect it offers – to pass,” they wrote.

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