During his nine year reign at Arsenal, Herbert Chapman impacted Arsenal Football Club in ways which no other manager after him could have dreamed of. Between 1925 and his premature death in 1934, Chapman transformed Arsenal.[quote_right]”Chapman made sure his legacy stretched far across the Footballing spectrum…”[/quote_right]
From numbered shirts to renamed Train Stations, Chapman made sure his legacy stretched far across the Footballing spectrum.
After winning various trophies and introducing visionary ideas, there are a multitude of Herbert Chapman quotes which illustrate the thoughts of arguably the greatest Arsenal manager of all time. In light of this, we have compiled ten of the very best Herbert Chapman quotes.
[title]1. It Is Arsenal Around Here![/title]
In 1932, Herbert Chapman realised that Gillespie Road - the Train Station at the doorstep of Highbury, was a highly confusing name for those trying to visit the club via Train. He lobbied successfully for months in order for the name to be changed to Arsenal Station, and during one of the meetings with the local council, he uttered the following quote.
[blockquote]”Whoever heard of Gillespie Road? It is Arsenal around here!”[/blockquote]
[title]2. Mastering Destiny[/title]
Back in the 1930s, Chapman saw that contracts gave players a lofty position over their employers. Today of course, players regularly use their contracts as weapons against the very Clubs they play for. Chapman stated the troublesome issue eighty years ago, yet this quote will certainly bring a smile to the face of Sebastien Squillaci.
[blockquote]”The Footballer is always Master of his own destiny. He has his contract and no club can force him to break it.”[/blockquote]
[title]3. Counter Attacking Genius[/title]
Describing a standard counter attack may not be so thrilling for Football fans of today, but back in 1930, well thought out tactics were a rarity. In fact, many clubs set out to win games with no real game plan at all. Herbert Chapman’s string of tactical innovations - such as the counter attack, helped change the face of the game.
[blockquote]”A team can attack for too long. The most opportune time for scoring is immediately after repelling an attack, because opponents are then strung out in the wrong half of the field.”[/blockquote]
[title]4. Goal Line Judges[/title]
As the English Premier League prepares for its first ever season with Goal Line Technology, we can look back at the very first time the idea was discussed - eighty years ago. Herbert Chapman was the first man to suggest Goal Line Judges, in order to distinguish goals from almost-goals. The below quote is as relevant today as it was in 1930.
[blockquote]“We owe it to the public that our games should be controlled with all the exactness that is possible.”[/blockquote]
[title]5. Signing David Jack[/title]
In 1928, Chapman set out to sign Bolton’s David Jack. However, he was unhappy about the inflated price tag. He famously negotiated the deal with Bolton representatives in a Hotel bar, and managed to haggle the price tag down to what he considered to be a bargain. How? Well, he arrived thirty minutes early and gave the bar man the following instructions…
[blockquote]”George [Bar man], 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.”[/blockquote]
[title]6. Nuisance Players[/title]
Herbert Chapman did indeed hit the nail on the head when discussing the attitude of nuisance Footballers. But if that behaviour created a false impression of Footballers in the public mind in the 1930s, nothing could be further from the truth today.
[blockquote]“There are unfortunately players who, perhaps because of the indolent lives they are ready to live, refuse to observe the code of discipline which must be observed in every club and make themselves an intolerable nuisance, I fear they create a false impression (of the professional footballer) in the public mind.”[/blockquote]
[title]7. A Number To The Name[/title]
Another one of Chapman’s visionary ideas came in the form of numbered shirts. He argued that it would be easier for team mates to identify each other on the field of play, thus improving the tempo and style of the game. Naturally, the Football League disagreed with the brilliant idea, before implementing it anyway, years after his death. Chapman had this to say about the authorities, and how right he was - and still is.
[blockquote]”I appeal to the authorities to release the brake which they seem to delight in jamming on new ideas, as if wisdom is only to be found in the council chamber. I am impatient and intolerant of much that seems to me to be merely negative, if not actually destructive, legislation.”[/blockquote]
[title]8. How Times Have Changed…[/title]
Chapman claimed that during his time, Footballers were educated and intelligent, maintaining a professional social standard. Whilst this may have been true in the thirties, this statement is unfortunately wide of the mark when it comes to modern Footballers. Thanks, Mario Balotelli.
[blockquote]”The social standing of the professional is much higher than it used to be,” he wrote. “Most of them are well educated and intelligent, and they resent the intrusion of one who does not conduct himself properly.”[/blockquote]
[title]9. Bad language, Gambling & Barracking.[/title]
This particular quote could easily be attributed to the likes of Arsene Wenger. Chapman claimed that the jeering and bad conduct of fans at matches negatively impacted the players - who, in Chapman’s eyes, were akin to artists. If anything, such behaviour has only worsened over time.
[blockquote]”Bad language, gambling and barracking are the chief evils of the game. Professional players, like artists, are highly strung and affected by ill-considered criticism from the crowd”[/blockquote]
[title]10. The Greatest Club In The World[/title]
A simple, yet hard-hitting statement made by Herbert Chapman upon becoming Arsenal manager. Chapman led Arsenal to their first ever League and FA Cup trophies, transforming the mediocre club into Champions twice in nine years. His contributions on the field also lifted the spirit and social standing of the club as a whole. One could argue that Chapman transformed Arsenal into one of the best clubs in the world during his stay at the club.
[blockquote]”I am going to make this the greatest club in the world.”[/blockquote]
That should do it. Ten of the very best Herbert Chapman quotes, exemplifying his passion for Arsenal, his confident, visionary ideas which impacted the Football history in ways which nobody could have imagined. Whilst some of his statements have been comically undone by the drama of modern Football, other views and ideas remain timeless.
For those of you with a limited understanding of possibly the greatest Arsenal manager to ever live, our piece on Herbert Chapman may help to shed some light on the Legend who took Arsenal from mediocrity to glory, leaving his legacy behind forever.
What’s your favourite Herbert Chapman quote? Share it with us in the comments section below.