Herbert Chapman on Football

The reflections of one of Arsenal’s greatest managers

2011, GCR Books Ltd.

Herbert Chapman had a long-lasting influence on English soccer with his “invention” of the WM system, which was adopted by most English teams and much longer kept than it was good for them. The book reprints a collection of newspaper articles written by Chapman which cover all aspects of soccer, whether it is tactics, how to lead a club, how players should behave or what influence the media and the public have. Although Chapman’s career as a manager took place between the first and second World War many of the views shared, seem to be timeless and if adjusted to the modern leagues would fit into a current newspaper as well. Want to know why the possession play of Barcelona and Spain never came to England? Maybe because it was old news to them:
“How different from the football of my time, when the hallmark of class was the way in which wings worked in close triangular fashion, making headway by means of six-yard passes, and taking a dozen kicks to advance as far as is often covered by two or three today. Those were supposed to be the days of science, and there was, of course, much to admire in the close work.[…] The modern style, if not quite so spectacular, undoubtedly brings quicker results, and I doubt very much whether the public would appreciate a return to the old conditions.”
Chapman’s ideas, whether it is that he gives his player’s the freedom to decide themselves how they spend their free time, or that all player’s have to participate in defense play or that he includes his players in tactical discussions all shows that he was a modern coach, not only at his times but also measuring with today’s standards.

Biography: 0/3
History: 2/3
Background: 2/3
Tactics & Game philosophy: 1/3

Next book: Das L steht für Leben (Aug 17th, German)


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