Tom Whittaker is one of Arsenal’s managers. Here is his record
|1950/51||5th||5th (Man U)|
* Jack Crayston took over in October 1956.
Tom Whittaker was Arsenal’s 12th manager, and is the 4th in our list of long serving managers (behind Wenger, Mee and Graham). He had the fifth best win percentage among managers with over 100 games, behind Wenger, Bradshaw, Chapman and Graham. The full set of tables are here.
He was born in Aldershot on 21 July 1898 but moved to the north east in infancy, so we watched Newcastle. He was conscripted into the army at the end of the first world war, and following a posting to Royal Garrison Artillery had a trial with Woolwich Arsenal resulting in Leslie Knighton giving him a job at Arsenal, although he didn’t become a full time pro until 6 April 1920 when he played in the away 0-1 defeat to WBA, wearing the number 9 shirt.
He soon converted to left half, and then later to left back.
His playing career came to a halt in 1925 when he was injured playing for an FA XI in Australia, during which time he took courses relating to maintaining player fitness and health, and began to work in the treatment room.
Chapman saw potential in him and moved him into the Highbury support regime, and when Chapman sacked George Hardy for giving instructions to players on the pitch which had not been authorised by himself, Tom Whittaker was instantly made first-team trainer apparently telling Whittaker, “I am going to make this the greatest club ground in the world, and I am going to make you the greatest trainer in the game.”
Tom Whittaker, Alex James and Herbert Chapman watching the 1932 Cup Final.
Tom Whittaker worked with Joe Shaw on team affairs in the season when Chapman died, before continuing as first-team trainer, aiding the winning of the league in 1935 and 1938.
In the second war he came an air warden and was involved in planning for D Day. He was promoted to Squadron Leader and given the MBE for his services.
George Allison resigned in 1947 and Tom Whittaker took over. He won the league twice, (having three top four finishes in all) and the FA Cup once, being runner up in the Cup once. He died of a heart-attack on 24th October 1956 and his autobiography was published the following year. He was just 58 years old.
Tom featured in our iconic moments series in relation to winning the league at the first attempt.
- Punch McEwen: Arsenal’s manager in the first world war
- Terry Burton: the return of the Youth Team captain
- George Graham – Arsenal’s 2nd most successful manager
- Stewart Houston: managed Arsenal twice, still at the club
- Bruce Rioch: a life of argument
- Steve Burtenshaw: our least successful manager
- 23 June – Patrick Vieira’s birthday
- 22 June 1893 – the date the modern Arsenal was launched
- Sylvain Wiltord, a tribute
- Tottenham’s strange election to the football league – an update
The main series:
- Arsenal’s Anniversaries (Latest – the selling of Andy Ducat)
- The Managers index has been updated with new charts and analyses.