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HERBERT CHAPMAN: WE REMEMBER

6 January 2014

Club commemorates legendary manager

Eighty years ago today Town’s legendary, pioneering Manager Herbert Chapman passed away, aged 55. 

Herbert is well known to Town fans as the man behind Town’s 1922 FA Cup win, as well as the first two of the Club’s famous ‘Thrice Championships’ in 1924 and 1925. 

He subsequently joined Arsenal in the summer of 1925 and scooped the FA Cup at his new home, setting the Gunners on their way to their own hat-trick of titles in 1933.

Herbert’s history with Huddersfield Town began early in 1921, when the Board of Directors appointed him as assistant to Manager Ambrose Langley in February. His role, in conjunction with the Manager, was ‘to have control of the players and discharge all such other duties as the Board may direct’.

Herbert’s appointment to the role made ripples across the football world and is directly accountable for the signings of two Town legends, future England right back and captain FR Goodall and record goalscorer George Brown. Indeed, Director Dick Parker recalls that Brown ‘dropped his (wheel)barrow’ when he heard that Chapman wanted to recruit him.

Perhaps Chapman’s greatest skill lay in his ability to correctly assess the needs of a side under his control and then to obtain the players to fit his requirements and following the further recruitment of Clem Stephenson and Sam Wadsworth.

In his first full season as Manager in 1921/22, Chapman steered the Club to its only FA Cup win in history, with a single goal from record appearance holder Billy Smith enough to beat Preston North End at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge.

Chapman steered the side to an all-time high third place finish in the top flight in 1922/23 before going two better the next season, with his side winning their final game by three clear goals to scoop the Division One title on goal difference over Cardiff City. 

The second title followed next season, with Chapman’s greats suffering a club record low of just two defeats in a single season.

At the end of that season Arsenal came knocking, offering Chapman the irresistible salary of £2,000 per annum. Town’s Directors, in their efforts to keep Herbert, offered to match that incredible amount, but the lure of London, where his two teenage sons would have better career opportunities, was too great. 

Sadly in January 1934, after watching an Arsenal third team match against Guildford City nursing a cold, Chapman’s condition quickly worsened. Soon afterwards, pneumonia set in. During the early hours of 6 January, 1934, Chapman died at his home in Hendon aged 55.

As well as his impressive winning record, Chapman is also widely credited as being responsible for several innovations in football such as floodlighting, numbers on shirts and in modernising tactics and training. 

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