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Arsenal’s managers analysed by history, games and success

By Tony Attwood

With each of the articles on managers in this long-running series I have tried to do a little summary of their achievements.  But I felt that before I went further with Terry Neil it would be good to have an overall summary of all Arsenal managers.

The table of Arsenal management and its success exists in many forms – I have added my own little bit by adding a “Top 4” column.  By which I simply mean, achieving a place in the top 4 of the top division.

Although it is only in recent years that the top 4 finish has brought its own rewards it is nevertheless a guide as to how well the club was doing above and beyond the ultimate accolade of winning things.

Having done this I suppose it might be a good idea to add how many Cup Finals the manager achieved – but I’ll leave that for another day.

 Here is the table in historical order

 

Name

From

To

P

Win%

Top 4

Honours

Thomas Mitchell August 1897 March 1898

26

53.85

William Elcoat April 1898 Feb 1899

43

53.49

Harry Bradshaw August 1899 May 1904

189

50.79

Phil Kelso July 1904 Feb 1908[

152

41.45

George Morrell Feb  1908 April 1915

292

35.27

James Punch McEwen April 1915 April 1919

1

100.00

Leslie Knighton April 1919 May 1925

268

34.33

Herbert Chapman June 1925 Jan 1934

403

49.88

4 2 Leagues, 1 FA Cup
Joe Shaw January 1934 May 1934

23

60.87

1 1 League
George Allison May 1934 May 1947

279

46.24

3 2 Leagues, 1 FA Cup
Tom Whittaker June 1947 Octobe1956

429

47.09

3 2 Leagues 1 FA Cup
Jack Crayston October 1956 May 1958

77

42.86

George Swindin June 1958 1 May 1962

179

39.11

1

Billy Wright May 1962 June 1966

182

38.46

Bertie Mee June 1966 May 1976

539

44.71

3 1 League  1 FA Cup1 Fairs C.
Terry Neill July 1976 Dec 1983

416

44.95

2 1 FA Cup
Don Howe Dec 1983 March 1986[

117

46.15

Steve Burtenshaw March 1986 May 1986

11

27.27

George Graham May 1986 Feb 1995

460

48.91

6 2 Leagues 1 FA Cup, 2 Lg Cups1 CWCup
Stewart Houston Feb 1995 June 1995

19

36.84

Bruce Rioch June 1995 August 1996

47

46.81

Stewart Houston August 1996 Sep 1996

6

33.33

Pat Rice Sep 1996 Sep1996

4

75.00

Arsène Wenger October 1996

848

57.78

15 3 Leagues  4 FA Cups

 

If we do the table again by win percentage order we get quite an interesting run:


Name

From

To

P

Win%

Top 4

Honours

Steve Burtenshaw March 1986 May 1986

11

27.27

Stewart Houston August 1996 Sep 1996

6

33.33

Leslie Knighton April 1919 May 1925

268

34.33

George Morrell Feb  1908 April 1915

292

35.27

Stewart Houston Feb 1995 June 1995

19

36.84

Billy Wright May 1962 June 1966

182

38.46

George Swindin June 1958 1 May 1962

179

39.11

1

Phil Kelso July 1904 Feb 1908[

152

41.45

Jack Crayston October 1956 May 1958

77

42.86

Bertie Mee June 1966 May 1976

539

44.71

3 1 League  1 FA Cup

1 Fairs C.

Terry Neill July 1976 Dec 1983

416

44.95

2 1 FA Cup
Don Howe Dec 1983 March 1986[

117

46.15

   
George Allison May 1934 May 1947

279

46.24

3 2 Leagues, 1 FA Cup
Bruce Rioch June 1995 August 1996

47

46.81

Tom Whittaker June 1947 Octobe1956

429

47.09

3 2 Leagues 1 FA Cup
George Graham May 1986 Feb 1995

460

48.91

6 2 Leagues 1 FA Cup, 2 Lg Cups

1 CWCup

Herbert Chapman June 1925 Jan 1934

403

49.88

4 2 Leagues, 1 FA Cup
Harry Bradshaw August 1899 May 1904

189

50.79

William Elcoat April 1898 Feb 1899

43

53.49

Thomas Mitchell August 1897 March 1898

26

53.85

Arsène Wenger October 1996  

848

57.78

15 3 Leagues

4 FA Cups

Joe Shaw January 1934 May 1934

23

60.87

1 1 League
Pat Rice Sep 1996 Sep

1996

4

75.00

James Punch McEwen April 1915 April 1919

1

100.00

 

And just for the hell of it, by number of games…

 

Name

From

To

P

Win%

Top 4

Honours

James Punch McEwen April 1915 April 1919

1

100.00

Pat Rice Sep 1996 Sep

1996

4

75.00

Stewart Houston August 1996 Sep 1996

6

33.33

Steve Burtenshaw March 1986 May 1986

11

27.27

Stewart Houston Feb 1995 June 1995

19

36.84

Joe Shaw January 1934 May 1934

23

60.87

1 1 League
Thomas Mitchell August 1897 March 1898

26

53.85

William Elcoat April 1898 Feb 1899

43

53.49

Bruce Rioch June 1995 August 1996

47

46.81

Jack Crayston October 1956 May 1958

77

42.86

Don Howe Dec 1983 March 1986[

117

46.15

   
Phil Kelso July 1904 Feb 1908[

152

41.45

George Swindin June 1958 1 May 1962

179

39.11

1

Billy Wright May 1962 June 1966

182

38.46

Harry Bradshaw August 1899 May 1904

189

50.79

Leslie Knighton April 1919 May 1925

268

34.33

George Allison May 1934 May 1947

279

46.24

3 2 Leagues, 1 FA Cup
George Morrell Feb  1908 April 1915

292

35.27

Herbert Chapman June 1925 Jan 1934

403

49.88

4 2 Leagues, 1 FA Cup
Terry Neill July 1976 Dec 1983

416

44.95

2 1 FA Cup
Tom Whittaker June 1947 Octobe1956

429

47.09

3 2 Leagues 1 FA Cup
George Graham May 1986 Feb 1995

460

48.91

6 2 Leagues 1 FA Cup, 2 Lg Cups

1 CWCup

Bertie Mee June 1966 May 1976

539

44.71

3 1 League  1 FA Cup

1 Fairs C.

Arsène Wenger October 1996  

848

57.78

15 3 Leagues

4 FA Cups

 

What the table overall in its various formats shows that Arsenal have tended to move on unsuccessful managers fairly early in their careers – although perhaps not always fast enough.  The 1959-67 era without a top four finish or a cup final was only exceeded in the pre-Chapman years.

But all of our top four finishes except two have come via our successful managers – and one of those (Joe Shaw) came because Herbert Chapman died half way through the season, and Joe, the reserve team coach and ex-captain of the side, took over.  George Morrell was a long serving manager, but working at a time when Arsenal were stretched financially – a situation none of the later managers had to contend with.

In terms of overall success, if we take out the three short term managers of Joe Shaw (see above), Pat Rice (stand in while we awaited Mr Wenger) and Punch McEwen who served the club through his working life, and was (as it were) the caretaker manager through the first world war, it is obvious who Arsenal’s greatest manager is.

Arsenal History


 

5 comments to Arsenal’s managers analysed by history, games and success

  • The Spartan

    I love this site.I have only been a gooner for 3 years but I already know a lot!

  • colario

    Interesting to see that 2nd to Arsene in number of games managed is Berti Mee.
    I have a West Ham v Asenal programme in which Berti states that he could see the time coming when players from all over Europe will play for Arsenal. Who would have thought then that the next Arsenal double manager would not be British but from main land Europe.

    To rephrase an Arsene quote regarding his choice of players.
    Its a man’s ability to do the job not his passport that counts.

    I ‘ve said elsewhere how I rued the day when T Neil came our way.
    I knew of Arsene’s reputation in Europe and I was excited at the prospect of him coming to us. It was he who persuaded Tottys most skilful player Glen H to leave them and play for Monoco a small club in France that under Arsene’s helm was going places.

  • Joshua

    I love this site… nothing but hard, indisputable facts. What your table probably doesn’t quite reflect is the circumstances under which Wenger has had to work and succeed, not just the huge financial disadvantage in terms of transfer spend, not just that he oversaw our stadium move and kept us competitive when even the likes of david dein didn’t think it possible… but also the ugly low level xenophobia that is always there in the media comments about Arsenal’s manager. Apparently Gary Lineker was making fun of Wenger on MOTD. Would he make fun of Fergie or Redknapp?

  • Mark Aughterlony

    So sad that Don Howe passed away just before Christmas. A sad day for English football, but particularly for our club and WBA. RIP Don, thank you so much for all that you did for The Arsenal

  • Nigel

    Mark

    I agree with you completely. A great Arsenal man. RIP Don Howe.

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