8 June – the day football changed forever

By Tony Attwood

It is not a day that gets any celebration, nor even a passing mention in the World Cup sodden press.  But 8 June was one of those big, big days in the history of football.

For it was the day that at its AGM in 1925 the Football League voted to change the offside rule in its matches to two men behind the ball rather than three.

This change came in the summer that Herbert Chapman left Huddersfield and moved to Arsenal, and so it was at Arsenal that he started to experiment with ways of handling the situation.  The story of the move to Highbury by Chapman is told here.

It is sometimes said that Chapman invented the WM formation (what today we would call a 3-2-2-3 line up) to meet the challenge, but that’s not quite true.

The story of the WM Formation and how Chapman and Buchan worked together to devise something even more effective is told here.

And to complete the details, here is the list of all the anniversaries today…

  • 8 June 1899: Duncan McNichol signed from St Bernards
  • 8 June 1905: Jimmy Sharp signs for Woolwich Arsenal from Fulham
  • 8 June 1910: Henry Norris tells manager George Morrell that his job is safe.
  • 8 June 1925: Football League vote to change offside rule to two men behind the ball rather than three, leading to Chapman’s variant WM formation in his first year at Arsenal.
  • 8 June 1936: Arsenal fined £250 for fielding weakened teams.
  • 8 June 1954: Lionel Smith sold to Watford
  • 8 June 1982: Tony Woodcock signed from Cologne
  • 8 June 1995: Bruce Rioch appointed manager
  • 8 June 2010: Phillipe Senderos joins Fulham on a free
  • 8 June 2011: Carl Jenkinson signed for £1m

The anniversary files on this site are now so large that they have been split once again.  Here’s the new index of the indexes.

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