Stephen Studd
Herbert Chapman, Football Emperor
A study in the origins of modern soccer
London, Peter Owen, 1981
London, Souvenir Press Ltd. 1998

Herbert Chapman (1878-1934) was the first, and perhaps the greatest, of the modern-style football managers. During the 1920s and ’30s, as manager of Huddersfield Town and Arsenal, he not only achieved an astonishing run of successes in the League Championship and the FA Cup, but transformed the manager’s role and led the way for such later legends as Matt Busby, Bill Shankly and Jock Stein.

Chapman was the first to make himself responsible for team selection, tactics and buying and selling players, and to arrange specialist medical treatment for the players and improved facilities for spectators. He was also the first to fly his teams to matches abroad and to suggest the use of floodlights for evening matches. Many of these practices we now take for granted, but at the time they were revolutionary. Through them Chapman changed the face of English football.

This detailed account of Chapman’s career, illustrated with many important archive photographs, is not only a gripping success story, but a fascinating study of how football came of age. Beginning in a world of roped enclosures and a game dominated by the amateur spirit, it moves on by way of Huddersfield (Cup-winners in 1922, League champions in 1925) to end with the legendary Arsenal team of the 1930s – Cup-winners in 1930, League champions in 1931, 1933, 1934 and 1935. Chapman’s sides, whilst containing great individual stars such as Alex James, David Jack, Cliff Bastin and Eddie Hapgood, were above all teams moulded by his professionalism into a single, organic unit of thrilling and devastating efficiency.