Saturday, 29 January 2011

1930 FA Cup Final video - Arsenal v Huddersfield Town

Arsenal have got a lot to be grateful to Huddersfield for. I found this great footage of the 1930 FA Cup semi-finals and final on YouTube. Arsenal won their first ever trophy after beating tomorrow's opponents Huddersfield 1-0 the final with a rare goal by the classy Alex James, the Dennis Bergkamp of the 1930s.

Arsenal's manager on the day was Herbert Chapman. Chapman won the title twice with Huddersfield in successive seasons (1923-24 and 1924-25) and the FA Cup in 1923 before moving on to Arsenal at the end of the 1924-25 season and repeating those feats (winning the FA Cup with Arsenal in 1930 and the League Championship in 1930-31 and 1931-32).

Chapman was acknowledged as one of the grandfathers of modern football, introducing many of the features of the game that we are so familar with today such as white footballs, numbered shirts, floodlights and modern training regimes including the use of physiothrapists and masseurs. He also insisted on picking the team himself without interference from the board (a pracitce almost unheard of at the time) and encouraged the players to discuss tactics at weekly team meetings, another new innovation.

Chapman's Arsenal legacy was equally impressive. As well as introducing the famous white sleeves before the match against Liverpool on 4 March 1933, he was also instrumental in the development of Highbury into a modern football stadium (complete with the new 'Clock End') and in changing the name of Gillespie Road tube station to Arsenal. He was also a big fan of the continental game and was an early pioneer for bringing foreign players to the English game. Beginning to sound like someone we know?

Chapman would undoubtedly have won more honours if it had not been for his untimely death from pneumonia on 6 January 1934. Arsene Wenger said this week that:
"We can call him a ‘super pioneer’ because he really turned this Club into one that was ready for the modern era. He was ahead of his time and he was certainly the most influential manager."
So let's hear it for Huddersfield. And I hope we give them a good tanking tomorrow!

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