Herbert Chapman is number 39 in 90min’s Top 50 Great Managers of All Time series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next eight weeks. You can find Ross Kennerly’s career overview on Herbert Chapman here.
Over the course of his career, Herbert Chapman took charge of four sides in England, most notably at Huddersfield and Arsenal, before his life was sadly ended early at the age of just 55.
Rightfully heralded for his overall contribution to the game, Chapman also moulded some fine footballing sides that included a wealth of supreme talent – much due to his excellent work on tactics and formations.
Names most likely unfamiliar to many, some wonderful players graced the English game post-World War One, many of whom were at Chapman’s disposal.
Read on to discover how his best squad would have looked as we continue 90min’s Top 50 Greatest Managers of All Time series.
Goalkeeper, Full Backs & Half Backs
Bill Harper (GK) – In 1925 Harper became one of Chapman‘s first signings in north London, joining the club for £4,000 which was a then-record fee for a goalkeeper. Harper was Arsenal‘s first-choice ‘keeper during the 1925/26 and 1926/27 seasons before leaving the club and returning in 1930. That season, Harper took the number one spot as Chapman led the Gunners to their first ever league title.
Tom Parker (Full Back) – With Chapman came new ideas, one such being the introduction of a the fabled ‘W-M’ formation. Two full backs, with central defender slightly further forward, were the solid foundation for which the rest of the team could build on. Parker played 44 times during the Gunners’ 1930/31 title winning season, and was crucial to their success.
Roy Goodall (Full Back) – Chapman employed full backs during his time at Huddersfield, although not in the ‘W-M’ formation as was later perfected at Arsenal. Goodall was his most trusted defender, spending his entire career with the Terriers and captaining England on 12 occasions. In his 403 games for the club, he lifted three First Division titles, two under Chapman, and the FA Cup.
Herbie Roberts (Full Back) – Operating just in front of the full backs, Roberts was a key cog in the ‘W-M’ formation acting as the “stopper” centre half in the middle of defence, linking with the the halfbacks and dropping deep when under pressure. He became the undisputed first-choice centre half under Chapman, winning four First Division titles, an FA Cup trophy and a single England cap.
Bob John (Half Back) – Positioned in front of the full backs, Welshman John adapted from his initial role as a full back to move slightly further up the pitch during his 15-year career at Arsenal. He had to wait eight years after joining the club, but eventually lifted silverware with the 1930 FA Cup. His role in the side was very much to beef up the midfield in both attacking and defensive positions, a role he performed admirably until his retirement.
Charlie Jones (Half Back) – Initially signed as a left winger, Jones was one of many players Chapman converted to fit into his Arsenal side, eventually ending up as a half back. Jones proved his versatility by moving to the position, and became known across the country as a tenacious ballwinner and committed tackler.
Inside Forwards & Wingers
Alex James (Inside Forward) – The playmaking lynchpin at Arsenal. Scotsman James was widely revered as one of the best of his time, with his style of play leading to comparisons with Dennis Bergkamp. A creative mastermind, he won six trophies with the club between 1930-1936 and his passing and vision was the ammunition that led Arsenal to sustained glory.
David Jack (Inside Forward) – A breaker of records, Jack was the first footballer to be transferred for a fee in excess of £10,000 and the first to score at the old Wembley. More importantly, however, he was a goal machine, scoring 124 times in 208 outings for the club and being one of only three players to score more than 100 English top-flight league goals for two different clubs.
Cliff Bastin (Winger) – 12 titles with the Gunners and naturally heralded as a club legend. Bastin had already won an England cap, lifted the FA Cup trophy and won a league title by the age of 19, the youngest player ever to do so. Given the nickname of “Boy Bastin” due to his youthful appearance, Bastin was anything but boyish in attack. He had remarkable coolness in front of goal and deadly precision, scoring a scintillating number of goals, made all the more impressive given his role as a winger was primarily to assist. His 178 goals was the club’s record-ever total, until he was surpassed by Ian Wright and Thierry Henry.
Joe Hulme (Winger) – Lining up on the opposite flank to Bastin, the pair formed a formidable attacking force down the wings. A real speed merchant, Hulme was a superb crosser of the ball and provided his own excellent finishing ability, repeatedly scoring well for the Gunners under Chapman and lifting numerous trophies during the Yorkshireman’s reign.
George Brown (Centre Forward) – Huddersfield’s all-time leading goalscorer Brown naturally received the nickname of “Bomber” for his unbelievable scoring rate and devastating pace.He scored 159 goals for the club over an eight-year spell, spearheading Chapman’s attack on the way to back-to-back titles in 1924 and 1925. The year after Chapman left to join Arsenal, Brown finished the season as the First Division top scorer on 35 goals, as the Terriers claimed another league title.
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Source : 90min
Original article: http://www.arsenal-world.co.uk/news/tmnw/herbert_chapman_the_yorkshire_tacticians_alltime_best_xi_933778/index.shtml