By Tony Attwood
Chapman began his time at Arsenal by buying a number 8 – Charlie Buchan. That gave him the figure who could lead the club on the pitch, and who could score: 19 in the first season, 14 in the second and 16 in the third.
But as we look beyond this one legendary player we find a huge amount of swapping of position. One simple example is David Jack who played in all the front line positions – although here I only count the appearances at number 8.
Ray Bowden was the man brought in to replace Jack – he signed in March 1933 for £4500, and he mainly did hold the number 8 position, playing behind Ted Drake. Like the other number 8s that Chapman preferred he could be counted on to knock in the goals – and such was the recognition of him that he represented England six times. He also won a cup winners’ medal in 1936.
He was sold to Newcastle in November 1937 for £5,000 – an interesting profit for a player who was moving down a league and was starting to have injury problems with his ankle. In all he played 138 matches for Arsenal and scored 43 goals.
Of the players left to Chapman by Knighton there were two regular number 8s: Neil and Brain. Neil was converted to a number 10 and Brain to being a centre forward.
- The pattern clears – the outside right
- Knighton’s greatest triumph – Chapman’s number 6
- Chapman’s centre halves – the number 5
- Chapman’s problems with the number 4
- Chapman’s left backs
- 16th September 1912 – Woolwich Arsenal look set for a season of struggle
- Chapman and the issue of right backs
- Chapman’s problems with keepers