by Tony Attwood
We’ve played Huddersfield Town 75 times so far, and beaten them 34 times, drawn 25 and lost 16.
Of course the most interesting historic period is what happened when Herbert Chapman left Huddersfield and came to Arsenal as manager in 1925. Chapman managed Huddersfield from 1 February 1921 until the summer of 1925 when he changed clubs, and Arsenal’s results against him during his period at Huddersfield were
|22 Oct 1921||Huddersfield Town v Arsenal||L||2-0||Division One|
|29 Oct 1921||Arsenal v Huddersfield Town||L||1-3||Division One|
|16 Dec 1922||Arsenal v Huddersfield Town||D||1-1||Division One|
|23 Dec 1922||Huddersfield Town v Arsenal||L||4-0||Division One|
|15 Dec 1923||Arsenal v Huddersfield Town||L||1-3||Division One|
|22 Dec 1923||Huddersfield Town v Arsenal||L||6-1||Division One|
|11 Oct 1924||Huddersfield Town v Arsenal||L||4-0||Division One|
|14 Feb 1925||Arsenal v Huddersfield Town||L||0-5||Division One|
Total dominance of Huddersfield over Arsenal was as we might expect given that they had Chapman and we had Highbury’s worst ever manager, Leslie Knighton.
The final match in that list is interesting historically because it is the one that was chosen by the international authorities to test out the new offside rule which reduced by one the number of defending players who needed to behind the ball when it was kicked for the attacker not to be offside. Chapman and Huddersfield had got it right, Arsenal hadn’t got a clue.
Thus Chapman completed his rout of Arsenal with a record of having played eight, won seven, drawn one.
It is sometimes assumed that Chapman instantly turned Arsenal around, but in fact he struggled in his first few years – struggled so much that he handed in his resignation at one point. Fortunately Sir Henry Norris, the chairman of Arsenal, turned his resignation down and told him to get on with it.
But although Chapman was not happy with what he was achieving at Highbury, if we look at the next sequence of results we see a change. These are the first 11 matches between the two when Chapman was manager of Arsenal…
|05 Dec 1925||Huddersfield Town v Arsenal||D||2-2||Division One|
|17 Apr 1926||Arsenal v Huddersfield Town||W||3-1||Division One|
|13 Nov 1926||Huddersfield Town v Arsenal||D||3-3||Division One|
|02 Apr 1927||Arsenal v Huddersfield Town||L||0-2||Division One|
|03 Dec 1927||Huddersfield Town v Arsenal||L||2-1||Division One|
|14 Apr 1928||Arsenal v Huddersfield Town||D||0-0||Division One|
|29 Sep 1928||Arsenal v Huddersfield Town||W||2-0||Division One|
|09 Feb 1929||Huddersfield Town v Arsenal||W||0-1||Division One|
|14 Dec 1929||Arsenal v Huddersfield Town||W||2-0||Division One|
|19 Apr 1930||Huddersfield Town v Arsenal||D||2-2||Division One|
|26 Apr 1930||Arsenal v Huddersfield Town||W||2-0||FA Cup Final|
That change over of managers led to six matches between the two in which Arsenal were unbeaten, concluding with Arsenal’s second cup final – and their first trophy on 26 April 1930. That run carried on to 1937 – a run of over 22 matches in which Huddersfield failed to beat Arsenal. Of course by then Herbert Chapman was tragically long since gone, but what he had set up remained and the most successful Arsenal team of any decade was born: it concluded with five league titles and two FA Cup victories in 10 years.
The last ten games between the two clubs shown below, start with a defeat in the Double season during a spell of three defeats in five games.
|16 Jan 1971||Huddersfield Town v Arsenal||L||2-1||Division One|
|17 Aug 1971||Huddersfield Town v Arsenal||W||0-1||Division One|
|22 Jan 1972||Arsenal v Huddersfield Town||W||1-0||Division One|
|30 Nov 1982||Arsenal v Huddersfield Town||W||1-0||League Cup|
|23 Sep 1986||Arsenal v Huddersfield Town||W||2-0||League Cup|
|07 Oct 1986||Huddersfield Town v Arsenal||D||1-1||League Cup|
|21 Sep 1993||Huddersfield Town v Arsenal||W||0-5||League Cup|
|05 Oct 1993||Arsenal v Huddersfield Town||D||1-1||League Cup|
|30 Jan 2011||Arsenal v Huddersfield Town||W||2-1||FA Cup|
|29 Nov 2017||Arsenal v Huddersfield Town||W||5-0||Premier League|
One defeat in ten outings across 47 years.
But of course the connection between Huddersfield and Arsenal is always remembered. It was the Arsenal History Society, which I’ve been delighted to run since its inception, that went to the club and proposed a statue of Herbert Chapman looking up at the Emirates Stadium… the exact phrase used in the proposition for the statue was “Looking up at the ground as if to say, ‘I created this’,” which of course he truly did. Given the state of the club when he took over, it is doubtful if Arsenal would have survived as much more than a middle of the road club alternating between the first and second division, with occasional visits into the third, if Chapman had not arrived. 15 years later we were the greatest team in the world.
If you are interested in the history of the club and the period when Arsenal and Huddersfield were seen as the two greatest teams in the country you might care to glance at…
Meanwhile on Untold Arsenal…
- Huddersfield v Arsenal. A team with a home record almost as bad as Arsenal away.
- Huddersfield v Arsenal Sunday 13 May 2018 – The Match Officials
- Arsenal v the team that will present a giant toothbrush to our captain
- Arsenal squad for Europa League game
- The abuse of female footballers is appalling, but there is a wider context
- Why Arsenal v Glimt might be tougher than the game against Tottenham
- Is the team that passes the most, the team that gets the best results?