Clark's a bad loser, just like Wenger – and old Herbert

Spirit of Thirties is revived as young Huddersfield manager shares opposite number's fear of failure

"Arsenal Football Club is open to receive applications for the position of team manager. He must be fully experienced and possess the highest qualifications for the post both as to ability and personal character. Gentlemen whose sole ability to build up a good side depends on the payment of heavy and exorbitant transfer fees need not apply."

It was an advertisement that might have attracted Arsène Wenger. Instead it brought Herbert Chapman to Highbury to forge what Wenger said was "the common history" between Arsenal and Huddersfield Town. Arsenal recruited Chapman, the first recognisable football manager who selected, trained and bought his players, because they did not want to pay big fees. But they were not above paying big wages; his salary of £2,000 a year was the equivalent of £377,000 in today's terms. He was worth it.

Today marks the first meeting of the clubs in the FA Cup since Chapman's death in January 1934 as he was attempting to win a third championship with Arsenal to add to the two he had seized at Huddersfield.

The two teams walked out together for the 1930 final, a tradition that has endured since; that was Chapman's idea. Before kick-off he brought a gramophone into the Arsenal dressing room to calm the players down. He had floodlights installed at Highbury, though Arsenal were not allowed to play under them.

He pioneered European trips and tried to buy European footballers until he was blocked by the Football Association. He perfected a strategy for signing young players by being friendly to their families, something Sir Alex Ferguson would turn into an artform. He converted the position of centre-half from an attacking to a defensive player. "The Napoleon of Football" the papers called him.

Before big games, Chapman would take his Huddersfield players off to Blackpool to prepare. His distant successor, Lee Clark, will be making no special preparations for the League One side's encounter with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium today.

"It's my toughest challenge but I wouldn't say it's my biggest," he said in the deep accent of the North-east, a region that after a catastrophic third round has no representatives left in the competition. "Our biggest challenge is to get this club out of this division and into the Championship.

"But it is my toughest task and the most exciting because of where we're going and who we are up against and who my opposite number is this weekend. The style that Arsenal play is what I aspire towards. My dream as a manager is to have a team full of young footballers, playing like that."

Huddersfield's chairman, Dean Hoyle, is the type that Abu Dhabi oil money and American leveraged buy-outs have driven from the Premier League. A local boy made very good, who has dreams for his home-town club. When Hoyle, who sold his greetings card business The Card Factory for around £350m, brought Clark to the beautiful, futuristic sweep of the Galpharm Stadium two years ago, he admitted it was a risk. "It is a gamble as he has no track record as a manager," Hoyle said at the time.

Clark (pictured) was 36 and it says something for the long afterglow of Kevin Keegan's Newcastle teams that Clark's image is still that of the football-daft Geordie who played midfield with a big grin. At the 1999 FA Cup final he turned up in a T-shirt ridiculing Sunderland supporters, which would have been funny had he not been playing for the club.

Peter Reid, his then manager, was forced to fire him, although the two have remained good friends. Earlier this month, Reid sat in Clark's small office at the Galpharm discussing Huddersfield's 3-2 victory over his Plymouth side, part of a string of results that has taken them to the edge of the automatic promotion places.

The image is wrong, as images often are. Clark is deeply serious about football and was 23 when he took his first coaching badge. His win record of 50 per cent is the same as Chapman's but both lag behind Cecil Potter and Ambrose Langley, forgotten men who succeeded and preceded Chapman at Huddersfield. "I wanted to be a manager. I didn't want to be a coach. I wanted to take the big decisions," he said in the kind of language Chapman would have understood.

Soon after taking the job, Clark took himself off to the Emirates to attend a seminar at which another manager who can be very unlike his public image was speaking. Wenger has an acidic temper and as a young manager he would sometimes be physically sick after a defeat. He told Clark he would not want to be working in the lower leagues where defeats are so frequent.

"I remember it word for word," said Clark. "I keep going back to the conversation I had with Arsène at the seminar. Everything he said has stuck in my mind. I can relate to what he said about losing. I am not a bad loser in that I always congratulate the opposition and shake hands, but I hate it. It hurts." And there was no pain quite like losing an FA Cup semi-final, as he had when his Fulham side faced Chelsea in 2002. "I cannot imagine anything quite like it."

Arsenal v Huddersfield Town is on ESPN today, kick-off 12pm

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments