Who Is Herbert Chapman? Former Arsenal Manager And Icon Explained

Who Is Herbert Chapman? Former Arsenal Manager And Icon Explained

In Arsenal history, they have had some legendary head coaches over the years – Arsene Wenger, George Graham and current boss Mikel Arteta all spring to mind. Today, however, we’ll be taking a look one of Arsenal’s very first club legend – Herbert Chapman.

During his time in football, Chapman established himself as one of football’s leading managers – but did you know he also had an accomplished playing career?

Today, we’ll take a look back at the great man’s life, alongside the numerous accolades he achieved in football – of course, we’ll be focusing on his significance to the Gunners.

Herbert Chapman’s playing career

Born in Kiveton Park in 1878, Chapman joined his hometown club as a youngster. In 1896, at the age of 22, he signed for Ashton North End and went on to enjoy brief stints at Stalybridge Rovers, Rochdale, Grimsby Town, Swindon Town, Sheppey United and Worksop Town.

His first club of note came in the form of Northampton Town – during a single season for the Cobblers, Chapman scored an impressive 14 goals in 22 games, before making the jump to Sheffield United in 1902.

Chapman went on to play for Notts County and Arsenal’s greatest rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, before ending his time as a player back at Northampton.

Where was Herbert Chapman a manager before taking over Arsenal?

Before he managed Arsenal, Chapman was the head coach of three other teams – Northampton, Leeds City [now defunct] and Huddersfield Town.

He won the Southern League with Northampton, but his most successful period as a manager (besides Arsenal) was undoubtedly with Huddersfield. He won two First Division titles, one FA Cup and one FA Charity Shield with the Terriers – they have been unable to replicate his success in West Yorkshire ever since.

Chapman’s time with the Gunners

In 1925, Chapman made the jump to Arsenal. He was not an overnight success in North London – it would take him four years before he guided the Gunners to major silverware.

His first Arsenal trophy came in the form of the FA Cup, which they won in the 1929/30 campaign. The following year, Arsenal won the First Division – they also finished 1st in England’s top flight in 1932/33.

On top of this, under Chapman’s guidance, Arsenal won the FA Charity shield in 1930, 1931 and 1933. Furthermore, they also finished runners-up in the FA Cup in 1932.

A club legend’s untimely death

In January 1934, Chapman went on a scouting trip to Sheffield Wednesday, who Arsenal were slated to face in their next fixture. Following this, he spent the evening in his hometown of Kiveton Park – it would be the last time he ever graced his place of birth.

When he returned to London, Chapman noted that he had a cold, but continued to work on. His cold worsened and he contracted pneumonia – on January 6, 1934, Chapman passed away in his home in Hendon, Middlesex.

Ultimately, Chapman is one of the most important figures in the annals of Arsenal history. Without him, the global force we know and love today would likely be very different – we can thank him for establishing the Gunners’ first run of dominance.

Jimmy Johnson

Jimmy Johnson

I have worked for NationalWorld since August 2021 - before then, I was a freelance journalist, writing for numerous publications. From 2023, I have been a part of the ever-growing NationalWorld Sports Network.