The greatest change ever has ever made

By Tony Attwood

Of course in the history of Arsenal there have been many major changes in the way the club exists and works.  The move to become the first professional team in the south in 1891, the rescue of the club from liquidation in 1910, the move to Highbury in 1913, the appointment of Arsene Wenger in 1996… all these could be seen as the most momentous of occasions – but you will undoubtedly have noticed one that is missing from that list.  The appointment of Herbert Chapman which was on this day in 1925.

It was not just that Arsenal appointed the man who had built Huddersfield Town into a championship winning side, but the contrast between the perfidious Leslie Knighton and Chapman was overwhelming.  And so were the results.

For his last two seasons Knighton’s prime claim to fame had been escaping relegation at the last moment twice, and a bizarre drugs scandal.   In his first season, Chapman took Arsenal to second in the league.  By 1929/30 he was breaking records for first division results and starting Arsenal on a trophy run that lasted until the outbreak of war.

Here are the anniversaries…

11 June 1920: The third reading in Parliament of Sir Henry Norris’ anti-gambling legislation.  At this time bookmakers would hand out coupons on the street for punters to complete. At one Liverpool match in 1915 138,500 coupons were handed out and 79,000 were returned with money.  With Liverpool players found guilty of match fixing Parliament felt it was time to act.

11 June 1925:  Herbert Chapman became the manager of Arsenal, replacing Leslie Knighton who had been manager since the resumption of football after the first world war.   Chapman went on to become the manager who gave Arsenal its first Championships, and its first FA Cup triumph before his untimely death.

11 June 1971: Liam Brady joined Arsenal as apprentice professional from St Kevin’s Boys, aged 15. He turned pro two years later.    See also here and then again here

11 June 2002: Despite Vieira and Wiltord playing, World Cup holders France went out of the competition to Denmark in South Korea.

11 June 2009: Arsenal opened an Arsenal shop in Bahrain as part of the deal with Emirates Airlines.

11 June 2012: Sylvain Wiltord retired from football. In 2015, he competed on the reality show Dropped, which puts sportspeople in inhospitable environments. The day after his elimination from the programme, three contestants died in a helicopter collision.  Wiltord played 104 league games for Arsenal and 526 league games all told.


“Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football” and “Making the Arsenal” are both available in paperback, as well as on Kindle. Please see here for more details.

Henry Norris at the Arsenal:

Arsenal in the 1930s: The most comprehensive series on the decade ever

Arsenal in the 1970s: Every match and every intrigue reviewed in detail.

2 Replies to “The greatest change ever has ever made”

  1. But now that its an expensive transfer erra why can the bourd member act now instead of way laying conditoins to release money when late comers like celsea and man-city were able to just out push us when we are named among the top ten.Is there no motion of removing Kroenke and replace him with some one who has Arsenal at heart?

  2. Mr Kroenke is 100% owner of Arsenal. He can do what he wants. That is the tragedy of the way repeated directors have acted across the years. From 1910 to 1927 the aim was to have a club owned by its fans. Then with the start of the Hill-Wood era that process went into reverse.

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