11 May 1925: Arsenal advertiser for a new manager

On this day an advertisement for a new Arsenal manager appeared in Athletics News after the sacking of Leslie Knighton.

The advert ended, “Gentlemen whose sole ability to build up a good side depends on the payment of heavy and exhorbitant [sic] transfer fees need not apply.”

That was very much a Henry Norris comment.   He had constantly tried to persuade the Football League that transfer fees should be limited in order to avoid a ceaseless inflation of fees.  The other League clubs would not hear of such a restriction and instead continued to limit the salaries that could be paid to players – which Sir Henry Norris objected to.

However in an ironic move, Sir Henry appointed a man who created a new, vibrant, trophy-winning club, by spending more than ever on transfers.

But to return to the advertisement, it appears that Herbert Chapman had already heard that this advertisement would be appearing and had had discussions with Henry Norris about the possibility of moving to Arsenal.   So it is possible that the wording of the advertisement was either to put off other managers, or to remind Chapman of the discussions that the two men had already had.

So, Herbert Chapman duly applied for the job and quickly became the highest spending manager thus far in Arsenal’s history.

Quite why Henry Norris chose to write the advertisement as he did was never revealed, but it could also have been as a rebuke to Chapman’s predecessor Leslie Knighton who had been negotiating with Sunderland in secret for the transfer of Charlie Buchan, and had offered Sunderland a far higher fee than Arsenal eventually paid for the player, once Chapman was appointed.  Or it could have been a message to Sunderland that anything Knighton had said or offered could now be thrown away.  Discussions would start again.

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