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GCR Books

Tom Whittaker: Arsenal’s 4th longest serving manager

Tom Whittaker is one of Arsenal’s managers.  Here is his record

Season League FA Cup
1947/48 1st 3rd (Bradford)
1948/49 5th 4th (Derby)
1949/50 6th Won
1950/51 5th 5th (Man U)
1951/2 3rd Final (Newcastle)
1952/3 1st 6th (Blackpool)
1953/4 12th 4th (Norwich)
1954/5 9th 4th (Wolverhampton)
1955/6 5th 6th (Birmingham)
1956/7* 5th 6th (WBA)

* Jack Crayston took over in October 1956.

Tom Whittaker was Arsenal’s 12th manager, and is the 4th in our list of long serving managers (behind Wenger, Mee and Graham).   He had the fifth best win percentage among managers with over 100 games, behind Wenger, Bradshaw, Chapman and Graham.  The full set of tables are here.

He was born in Aldershot on 21 July 1898 but moved to the north east in infancy, so we watched Newcastle.   He was conscripted into the army at the end of the first world war, and following a posting to  Royal Garrison Artillery had a trial with Woolwich Arsenal resulting in Leslie Knighton giving him a job at Arsenal, although he didn’t become a full time pro until 6 April 1920 when he played in the away 0-1 defeat to WBA, wearing the number 9 shirt.

He soon converted to left half, and then later to left back.

His playing career came to a halt in 1925 when he was injured playing for an FA XI in Australia, during which time he took courses relating to maintaining player fitness and health, and began to work in the treatment room.

Chapman saw potential in him and moved him into the Highbury support regime, and when Chapman sacked George Hardy for giving instructions to players on the pitch which had not been authorised by himself, Tom Whittaker was instantly made first-team trainer apparently telling Whittaker, “I am going to make this the greatest club ground in the world, and I am going to make you the greatest trainer in the game.”

Tom Whittaker, Alex James and Herbert Chapman watching the 1932 Cup Final.

Tom Whittaker worked with Joe Shaw on team affairs in the season when Chapman died, before continuing as first-team trainer, aiding the winning of the league in 1935 and 1938.

In the second war he came an air warden and was involved in planning for D Day.  He was promoted to Squadron Leader and given the MBE for his services.

George Allison resigned in 1947 and Tom Whittaker took over.  He won the league twice, (having three top four finishes in all) and the FA Cup once, being runner up in the Cup once.   He died of a heart-attack on 24th October 1956 and his autobiography was published the following year.  He was just 58 years old.

Tom featured in our iconic moments series in relation to winning the league at the first attempt.

Latest articles:

The main series: 

 

7 comments to Tom Whittaker: Arsenal’s 4th longest serving manager

  • Andy Kelly

    I heartily recommend his autobiography which you can read online here:
    http://stats.woolwicharsenal.co.uk/arsenalbooks/index.htm

    It’s one of my favourite Arsenal books.

  • Notoverthehill

    Andy, thank you!

    Herbert Chapman and the LSD of Football chapter is most revealing and very relevant to the current situation prevailing. I am surprised that Tony for example is not quoting Herbert Chapman verbatim, day in and day out.

    I was too flippant about the Arsenal debt owed by Rangers over the Bartley loan.

    on the 5th April the debt was reported as £136,560.00.
    on the 29th May 2012 again reported as £136,560.00.
    on the 20th June 2012 the Proxy Acceptance is shown as £438,982.63.

    This raises 2 thoughts, Arsenal were acting as a proxy for someone else as well, or more probably someone was lax in invoicing or D&P were somewhat behind the times in quantifying the true debt.

    In similar circumstances I would submitted 9 monthly invoices from August 2011 to May 2012. The salary + win, draw bonuses + Employers’ NIC + 20% VAT. Holiday Pay would be pro-rata for the 9 months. Possibly 9 return Air Fares to London at cost with no VAT. Hotel Expenses etc at cost with 20% VAT. Insurance again 9 months pro-rata with no VAT. Bartley signed a new contract last year so I would imagine on a pay scale of £7500/£10,000 per week for that stage of his career, it would be near to the top rate.

    All quess work, of course, but it is interesting?

  • @Notoverthehill

    You mentioned LSD early on… are you on it?
    You lost me after “Andy, thank you!”

  • @Notoverthehill

    Recommended listening:

    The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
    Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced? (1967)
    Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow (1967)
    Captain Beefheart – Trout Mask Replica (1969)
    Cream – Disraeli Gears (1967)
    Spirit – Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus (1970)
    Red Krayola – The Parable of Arable Land (1967)
    Pink Floyd – A Saucerful of Secrets (1968)
    Gong – Angel’s Egg (1973)
    Kaleidoscope – A Beacon From Mars (1968)

    I think these sounds be your bag.

  • @Notoverthehill

    Recommended listening:

    The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
    Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced? (1967)
    Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow (1967)
    Captain Beefheart – Trout Mask Replica (1969)
    Cream – Disraeli Gears (1967)
    Spirit – Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus (1970)
    Red Krayola – The Parable of Arable Land (1967)
    Pink Floyd – A Saucerful of Secrets (1968)
    Gong – Angel’s Egg (1973)
    Kaleidoscope – A Beacon From Mars (1968)

    I think these sounds may be your bag.

  • @Notoverthehill
    Only joking buddy! Hope I didn’t offend.
    I’m not very clever as it happens, and I get a bit envious of others who write proper stuff.
    I was half-expecting you to tell me to bog off.
    All the best.

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