Where is the statue of Herbert Chapman at the Emirates?

By Tony Attwood

OK, I know there is a bust, and it used to be in the marble halls at Highbury.

Now it is at the Directors’ Entrance at Emirates Stadium and (according to the club) “greets the thousands of guests which visit the stadium each year.”

Well, yes, up to a point.   (Apart from the fact that it should be “who visit” and not “which visit”).  The directors’ entrance is on the Emirates Stadium’s official tours so yes lots of people see it.

Actually, just to be accurate, this ain’t the original Herbert Chapman bust, but a replica – they left the original at Highbury (hopefully on purpose).

But here’s the problem.  Chapman is revered as the founder of the modern club – the man brought in by Norris who completed the Great Task, of the transition from a small club from Kent to a giant in world football.

And I don’t get to go in the Directors’ Entrance.

So how do I venerate Chapman upon arrival at the Ems?  How do I say to people who I take along for an occasional visit when my partner can’t use her ticket, “This is the Founder.  This is the man who started the Great Task”.

(Sorry I seem to have slipped a bit into North Korean here – but you know what I mean).

There is not any Chapman anywhere as far as I know, on the way into Arsenal. (OK maybe there is and I don’t happen to pass it so I have missed it so you can now tell me, and I will issue a full apology for wasting your time).

At a time when the club has put the old south bank clock on the outside of the stadium opposite the south bridge, and put a new replica giant inside the stadium and given us back the North Bank and the Clock End, where is the tribute to Herbert Chapman?

Chapman was the visionary, as well as the man who gave us success.  He introduced numbering on shirts (the FA and League told him to stop), he wanted to take floodlighting forward (it had been tried for years, and he wanted it as a regular feature), he proposed the ten-yard penalty semi-circle (the “D”).    He got Gillespie Road tube station change to Arsenal, and indeed he changed the name of the club from The Arsenal to Arsenal.

And perhaps most of all, he gave us our first major trophy – the Cup in 1930, and then the League in 1931, before tragically being cut short in his prime.

Which therefore leads to the question – why is there no HERBERT CHAPMAN STATUE at the Ems?

Now I know you can’t go round putting statues up all over the place in an area that has 60,000 people walking around it at the time of a match.  But the designers have been innovative in building the Highbury Wall which commemorates every player who ever played at Arsenal.

So surely there must be somewhere to put a statue to Chapman that each and every one of us can pass, and reflect upon as we go to the go and point it out to guests and visitors, and be photographed next to?

I’m going to start my own little bit of lobbying on this – I hope you feel it is a good idea.

About this site

The Woolwich Arsenal web site exists to explore all aspects of Arsenal’s history.  To give some focus much of the reporting is on Arsenal 100 years ago (hence “Woolwich Arsenal”) but the site does also pick up on other historic issues – such as this campaign to get a Chapman statue.

Want to know how Tottenham have stolen our history?  Read the story of the 1919 promotion from an Arsenal perspective, and much more – all indexed on the index page.

And if you fancy knowing about what football and life was really like 100 years ago, trying “Making the Arsenal” which is available from that last link, or via Amazon.

20 Replies to “Where is the statue of Herbert Chapman at the Emirates?”

  1. Tony, the last time I looked (which a couple of years ago now) there was a bust of the great HC in the Armoury shop, plainly visible on completion of the stadium tour which conveniently ‘finishes in the gift shop’.
    Myself and my fellow tourists (all around your age) were shocked to see it there but rationalised afterwards by concluding that one of Chapmans great contributions to the Club was, indeed, ‘marketing’. It was he, after all, who introduced the distinctive white sleeves, the numbered shirts, playing under floodlights and, of course, changing the name of the local tube station – one of the greatest marketing coups of all time.
    I later heard a rumour that Nike had actually asked for it to be placed there to give a feeling of tradition to the shop which sold a lot of stuff that relied on that feeling.

  2. “every player who ever played at Arsenal.” ?? Bit over the top, don’t you think?

    Apart from that, an excellent article which should be sent to all the powers that be at Arsenal.
    Nice one, son.

  3. I think we should get partition signed before the games to show we want this, Untied leeds and newcastle have theres and there hugely popular between the fans

  4. When i last visited the emirates, the bust of herbert chapman was located in the Arsenal shop. I took photographs of it

  5. Hi Tony,
    I visited the original bust today. I took my elderly neighbour shopping this morning and he wanted to visit Highbury.At the entrance to the old marble halls there he was in all his glory. I do agree that there should be a place for him at the EMS though.

  6. There used to be a statue of HC (not sure if it was THE statue) in the Arsenal shop at the Emirates. Near the polo shirts!

  7. So few comments on such an important, valid and relevant issue!!! it appears most gooners dont acknowledge importance of HP!


  8. “every player who played…”

    Yes, what I meant to say about the Highbury Wall at the Emirates is that it has a picture of every Arsenal player that ever played at Highbury, and all the managers during that time. Not the players from every other club of course.

    Last time I looked at the wall, towards the end of last season, I found that there were about half a dozen players missing from the picture on the wall, but it is always possible that research has dug up the last few pics.


  9. And just on the 3 copies, it looks like we’ve unearthed all three through the comments…

    1 is in the directors lobby
    1 is in (or was in) the shop
    1 (the one from the marble halls) remains at Highbury.

    But I think the feeling is that a statue would be a decent thing. I will try and develop this further in the coming days and look into how the idea can be put to the club. I will also be talking to AISA (Arsenal Independent Supporters Association) about this.

  10. Hey Tony, its a bit off topic but i just wanted to say that there should be a Facebook group of this blog… i mean it will be a big hit n other Arsenal fans can also get in touch…

  11. agree with tony a full statue ( not a bust) of Chapman and i want to add Norris outside the Emirate would be the icing to the cake to a great stadium .Chapman was the brain but Norris give us life moving us up north .Later after Wenger left one of him too as he modernise us and help the move to the Emirate.

  12. Lord Gunner that is an interesting point, and one that needs exploring. I think I’ll make that the next article


  13. Good idea indeed – a full statue of HC! Reminds me a bit of what they do outside OT but that’s how we honour great men in the game. Yes we should do it!

  14. of course all this idiot of health and safety money grabber would be opposing to the idea on the ground of heeerrrrr safety.Imagine arriving at the stadium and see the statue of our great men just outside the stadium would be marvelous.But it s only a dream because the arsenal board gone tell us you can see the bust of HC somewhere.
    Anyone know when the sponsor (naming) of the Emirate stadium finish and if the board will be planing to name the stadium of an Ex gunner (The Rocky Rocastle Stadium sound nice to me 😀 ) or again sign a sponsoring name

  15. @Lordgunner
    The stadium naming rights deal was for 15 years. Unless anything happens to change that the name will stay till at least 2021. The shirt deal was for 8 years. That’s assuming both deals started in the 2006-2007 season.

  16. @Kevin.

    Think I’m right that the kit deal also had a three year option that Nike have taken up.

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