Eddie Hapgood

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Eddie Hapgood
Eddie Hapgood crop (Tolnai Világlapja, 1939).jpg
Personal information
Full name Edris Albert Hapgood
Date of birth (1908-09-24)24 September 1908
Place of birth Bristol, England
Date of death 20 April 1973(1973-04-20) (aged 64)
Place of death Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England
Position(s) Full-back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1927 Kettering Town 12 (0)
1927–1944 Arsenal 393 (2)
Total 405 (2)
National team
1933–1939 England 30 (0)
Teams managed
1944–1947 Blackburn Rovers
1948–1950 Watford
1950–1956 Bath City
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Edris Albert "Eddie" Hapgood (24 September 1908 – 20 April 1973) was an English footballer, who captained both Arsenal and England during the 1930s.

Playing career[edit]

Hapgood was born in Bristol and started his footballing career in the mid-1920s as an amateur playing in local football (while employed as a milkman), before getting his big break at Kettering Town in the Southern League. He was signed by Herbert Chapman's Arsenal for £950 in 1927. Initially a thin and fragile player, Arsenal's trainer Tom Whittaker forced him to take up weight training, and abandon his vegetarianism, and Hapgood eventually became known for his physique and power. He supplemented his footballer's maximum wage by fashion modelling and advertising chocolate.[1]

Hapgood made his Arsenal debut on 19 November 1927 against Birmingham City but was initially used as backup for left back Horace Cope; he did not become Arsenal's regular left back until early 1929, but after that he made the position his own, right up until the outbreak of World War II in 1939. He played in Arsenal's 2–1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday in the Charity Shield at Stamford Bridge in October 1930.[2] Arsenal won the match 2–1.[2] He played 35 or more matches in every season in that period, earning a reputation as an elegant and unruffled defender; he even deputised as goalkeeper on two occasions when Frank Moss was injured.[3] Hapgood went on to succeed Alex James as Arsenal captain,[4] leading the side to the league title in 1937–38, whilst personally winning five League Championships and two FA Cups.

Hapgood also played for England 30 times, making his debut against Italy in Rome, on 13 May 1933, which finished in a 1–1 draw. Hapgood became England captain and wore the armband 21 times; his first match as captain was the infamous "Battle of Highbury" on 14 November 1934, against Italy, who were reigning World Champions at the time. England had not taken part in the World Cup, so the match was billed as the "true" World Championship match. The match was notoriously dirty, with many players sustaining injuries, including Hapgood himself with a broken nose; England beat the Italians (who were reduced to ten men for most of the match) 3–2.[5]

Hapgood also captained England in another infamous match, against Germany in Berlin on 14 May 1938, where Hapgood and his players were made to give the Nazi salute before the match, under pressure from British diplomats. Hitler was not in attendance; England won the match 6–3.

The Second World War cut short Hapgood's playing career (he was only 30 when hostilities broke out). Hapgood served in the Royal Air Force during the war, whilst also playing for Arsenal and England in unofficial matches. In June 1940, he was one of five Arsenal players who guested for Southampton in a victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage.[6] He also appeared as a guest player for West Ham United later in Second World War.[7] It was during the war that Hapgood fell out with the Arsenal management, after he was loaned out to Chelsea[8] and eventually left the club under a dark cloud. He played 440 times in all for Arsenal, scoring two goals.[9]

Post-playing career[edit]

In 1945, he wrote one of the first footballing autobiographies, entitled Football Ambassador, and after the war moved into management. He had stints in charge of Blackburn Rovers, and then Watford and Bath City. After that he left football completely; he fell on hard times and wrote back to his old club Arsenal asking for financial assistance (as he had never been given a testimonial match) but the club only sent him £30.[10][11]

He spent his later years running a YMCA hostel in Harwell, Berkshire and Egdon Hall (hostel for UKAEA apprentices) in Lynch Lane Weymouth, Dorset.

He died in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire on Good Friday 1973 at the age of 64.[9]





  1. ^ Jeffrey Hill, 'Hapgood, Edris Albert [Eddie] (1908–1973)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2010
  2. ^ a b "Fortune smiles on the Arsenal". Sheffield Independent. 8 October 1930. p. 10. Retrieved 22 March 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  3. ^ "Arsenal goalkeeper scores whilst on left wing". The Arsenal History. 29 November 2016.
  4. ^ Kelly, Andy (15 August 2012). "Alex James: great player and fantastic (but forgotten) captain". The History of Arsenal.
  5. ^ "Eddie Hapggod". England Football Online.com.
  6. ^ Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (1992). The Alphabet of the Saints. ACL & Polar Publishing. p. 391. ISBN 0-9514862-3-3.
  7. ^ Hogg, Tony (1995). West Ham Who's Who. London: Independent UK Sports publications. p. 223. ISBN 1-899429-01-8.
  8. ^ Glanville, Brian (30 September 2006). "Raising hell". Sportstar Weekly. Archived from the original on 11 October 2008. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  9. ^ a b c d "Eddie Hapgood". Arsenal. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  10. ^ Equivalent to £797 in today's pounds
  11. ^ Glanville, Brian (16 December 2006). "Other side of Arsenal". Sportstar Weekly. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  12. ^ "1930 FA Cup Final Match". FA Cup Finals. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  13. ^ "Arsenal beat the champions". Dundee Courier. 9 October 1930. p. 7. Retrieved 22 March 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  14. ^ "1933/34 F.A. Charity Shield". footballsite.co.uk. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  15. ^ "1934/35 F.A. Charity Shield". footballsite.co.uk. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  16. ^ "Football Legends list in full". BBC Sport. 5 August 1998. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
  17. ^ "THE FOOTBALL LEAGUE 100 LEGENDS". football-league.co.uk. Archived from the original on 19 March 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  • Harris, Jeff (1995). Hogg, Tony (ed.). Arsenal Who's Who. Independent UK Sports. ISBN 1-899429-03-4.

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