Tom Whittaker

Tom Whittaker was born in Aldershot, Hampshire and joined Arsenal in 1919 from Army football. 

A wing half by trade, Whittaker also featured prominently at full back and centre forward during his time at Highbury. 

A man with an impressive skill set, Whittaker served in both world wars. From school he qualified as a marine engineer, going on to serve as an ordanance engineer in the Great War. 

During the Second World War he was a Squadron Leader in the RAF on secret operational work, for which he was awarded an MBE in 1947. 

On the pitch, Whittaker made 70 starts in an Arsenal shirt over a six-year period. He made his senior debut in a 1-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion in April 1920, before making his final league appearance for the Club against West Ham in March 1925.

Sadly his playing time at Arsenal was cut short by a severe knee injury suffered in Wollongong, Australia in June of that year. 

Not to be deterred, however, a young Whittaker studied physiotherapy before becoming the club’s first-team trainer under Herbert Chapman in 1927. He was also trainer to the England international and FA Representative teams. 

Whittaker had an important role under Chapman in reforming the training and physiotherapy regimes at the Club before taking over the reigns from Chapman’s successor, George Allison, in 1947. 

He won the League in 1948 and 1953 and the FA Cup in 1950 before his tragic death from a heart attack in 1956, aged 58.

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