The man who was Arsenal’s number 6 – and those who filled in

By Tony Attwood

When we look at Arsenal under Chapman and the number six position we have one name – Bob John – one of the outstanding players of the era.

Arsenal signed him in January 1922 for £750, and as such is recorded as one of Leslie Knighton’s most successful transfers.   He made his first team début on October 28 that year in a 2-1 defeat at home to Newcastle and and went on to make 24 league appearances that year, taking over the number 6 shirt from Tom Whittaker.

A look at the table of appearances in the number six shirt of Arsenal during Chapman’s time tells it all.

25/6 26/7 27/8 28/9 29/30 30/31 31/32 32/3 33/4
John 3 22 25 32 34 39 36 36 31
Blyth 39 17 16 7
Bartley 3 3
Sneddon 1
Thompson 2 1
Jones 6 4 1
Male 2 6
Hill 1 10
Sidey 1

He came, he had a few warm up years and then he dominated.   On the plus side for Chapman he knew exactly what he had got, and used him to the full.  On the negative side, this was not a Chapman signing, and is one of those few players that can be called a brilliant piece of work by Knighton.









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