by Tony Attwood
About a year ago I met with Ivan Gazidis at a private meeting arranged by Arsenal Independent Supporters Association, and put forward my thoughts on what could be done to commemorate Arsenal’s history, both generally and in the coming 125 year anniversary.
One of the ideas I put forward both at that meeting and in a subsequent paper to Mr Gazidis was the erection of statues outside the ground – statues that commemorated some of the great names from Arsenal’s past.
I made my point by saying that although I could appreciate that the current directors of our club undoubtedly wanted to show the bust of Herbert Chapman to visiting directors, which was why it was in the directors’ lobby, we the regular supporters, also wanted to give thanks to the man who won the club our first trophy.
Therefore, I suggested (never knowing when to shut up) we ought to have a series of statues. To Herbert Chapman I added Jack Humble (the man who helped found the club, and who was a committee member, director and chairman throughout most of the period from our foundation in 1886 to 1927. He was also the only one of the founders who was there to see Arsenal win its first trophy).
I left the notion of the 3rd statue hanging in the air.
Mr Gazidis was extremely kind and patient, letting me ramble on with my thoughts on this, and other ways of commemorating Arsenal’s past, and we spoke for over an hour on the topic.
However matters were left that this was something that was going to take a lot of consideration, and had to be brought into line with other thinking about the development of the area around the club.
You might imagine my surprise when I heard a few days ago that three statues were being built and would be opened for the 125th anniversary proceedings.
I have had no further discussions with the club on this topic, and it is of course quite possible that Mr Gazidis already had all the plans in mind when we met. But I like to think that maybe, just maybe, my plea on behalf of AISA Arsenal History Society for statues which would symbolise the club’s past, had a little bit to do with this decision.
Arsenal are currently running a competition on Twitter about the statues which reads…