Written by Herb’sArmy
For most of us on AA, it is impossible to separate our emotions from our club, the two are intrinsically linked. It’s probably fair to say that whilst both games caused a lot of pain, the Blackburn game probably wounded us deeper than the one at OT, if only because of the expectation. And apart from one or two predictable ‘Wenger Out’ bloggers, most of us kept a lid on our seething rage.
One comment that stood out for me was RA’s, categorically proclaiming AW is the greatest manager the club has ever had.
Sorry RA, I don’t agree, and here’s why.
Collectively I think we can all acknowledge and celebrate in the wonderful things Arsene Wenger has brought to our club, and there is no doubt that he has raised our profile across the globe. Beautiful football, titles, the Invincibles, Champions League every year without fail (thus far), and a world-class all-seated stadium are the obvious stand-out achievements, along with the plethora of gifted footballers he has given us. Enough certainly to satisfy any Arsenal fan anywhere, me included. But it’s a big call to call him the greatest.
For me it is Herbert Chapman.
He truly revolutionised Arsenal, and laid all the foundations for what we are today.
We had been in existence for 44 years before Chapman won us our first trophy in 1930 (which puts this current ‘drought’ into real perspective!). He built the Huddersfield side that won three successive titles (they’ve never won it since), and then made Arsenal the most famous club in the world. He built a side that achieved something no Arsenal side has done since, dominating our domestic league with five titles and three FA Cups between 1930-39. Tragically he died January 6th 1934 with Arsenal on the way to the second of their three successive titles, and of course George Allison took over, but it was Chapman’s team, formation and tactics.
And though he only had nine years at the club, he died with his team top of the table, and with trophies still waiting to be won.
He didn’t change the club crest or over-see a massive stadium move (he didn’t have to, Highbury was a world-class stadium in it’s hey-day), but what he did do was re-define who and what Arsenal Football Club stood for. He revolutionised the whole football culture with his visionary W-M tactics, and showed the world how football should be played, with stand-out legends such as Eddie Hapgood, Wilf Copping, Alex James, Cliff Bastin, David Jack and Ted Drake.
He was the first manager to advocate floodlights, the use of shirt-numbers, and quite literally put Arsenal on the map by getting Islington Borough Council to change Gillespie Road tube station to Arsenal tube station.
Chapman’s vision all those years ago is exactly why we are in a position to appoint the likes of Arsene Wenger today.
Arsene Wenger has undoubtedly earned his legendary status at our club, but the accolade as the club’s greatest manager, for me personally, has to go to Herbert Chapman..