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By Tony Attwood
With all the arrogance that comes from feeling so clever in terms of being the guy who suggested to Ivan Gazidis that we should have statues around the Arsenal ground, I went onto Untold Arsenal a couple of days back, proclaiming that I knew exactly who was depicted in the statues.
I suggested to Mr Gazidis at my meeting with him in August last year that the starting point must be Chapman, and then I went on to talk about our founder Jack Humble, and then add Mr Wenger as our most successful manager.
When the story broke about the statues being opened tomorrow I was influenced by a bit of news I got from the contractors – that the people being represented were all deceased. From which I took Chapman, Allison and Mee, our three great managers from the 1930s to the 1970s.
But the BBC yesterday started running with what I presume must be the real story, that it is Chapman, Adams and Henry – the initiator of our great success, our most successful captain and our top scorer.
Whoever we have, I think it is a great move by the club, and it opens the way to more work around the ground. I would still love to see a statue of Jack Humble, as I would love to see one of Henry Norris (the man who brought Chapman to Arsenal). In that regard however I think I will have to work with colleagues on a book that rehabilitates Norris somewhat.
As matters stand, the club in particular and football in general, carefully ignore the fact that both Chapman and Norris were banned from football at different stages in their careers. I don’t want to go further down that route, except to say, just being banned from football is nothing – not when you look at the people who never get banned (the Liverpool and Manchester United boards of 1915 for example in the great match fixing scandal), and the people who do the banning.
But that’s for another day. For now, let’s welcome the statues tomorrow. Andy and Paul of the AISA Arsenal History Society will be at the formal opening and I guess Mr Adams and Mr Henry will be there too.
They won’t know that all this happened because of the AISA Arsenal History Society. But we know, and we won’t forget. It’s a major triumph for our Society, and I’d like to thank everyone who has given us support and good wishes over the past couple of years.
I’m looking forwards to seeing the pictures, and to see the statues for myself on Saturday.
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