Why did Terry Neil become Arsenal manager?

From 1959 to 1970 Terry Neill was an Arsenal player, and for some of that time Arsenal’s captain, playing 241 league games for the club.  After that he moved to Hull City as player manager as well as being part time manager of Northern Ireland before moving on to be manager of Tottenham.#

At Hull, as manager, his team came 5th, 12th, 13th and 9th in the second division – around their normal positions before and after his arrival.  At Tottenham the team just missed relegation and then came in ninth.  And then he moved to Arsenal.

Was his profile good enough to suggest he should be Arsenal manager?  Yes he had been an excellent player for the team, but his managerial time at Hull and Tottenham did not suggest he was a wonder manager.  Tottenham were relegated the season after he left, suggesting either he was getting them to punch above their weight, or he left them in a poor condition.   As for Arsenal, he made major signings including Malcolm Macdonald and Pat Jennings, and developed the talent of in the side such as Liam Brady and Frank Stapleton.  He also took Arsenal to the Cup finals of 1978, 1979 and 1980, but we only won one of those three.   Plus the 1980 final of the Cup Winners Cup.  And ultimately in 1981 we came third in the league.

He was given a new three year contract in 1983, and signed Charlie Nicholas as the new goal scorer – his previous centre forward signing one year before was Lee Chapman.  He was sacked on 16 December 1983 with Arsenal 16th in the league.  Arsenal had just suffered four consecutive defeats, including a defeat to Walsall in the league cup.

On this day in 1976, he became Arsenal’s manager

Here are the anniversaries…


9 July 1910: William Rippon joined Arsenal.   He had already played for Hackenthorpe, Rawmarsh Albion, Sandhill Rovers, Kilnhurst Town, and Bristol City.

9 July 1921: The two sides in the Irish War of Independence signed a truce to come into effect on 11 July, but on 10 July, 23 died in Belfast and the surrounding area and around 200 homes were destroyed

9 July 1938:  As a sign of things to come, gas masks were issued to the population at large.

9 July 1976: Terry Neil became Arsenal manager, after having spent two years at Tottenham in which he narrowly avoided relegation and came 9th in his second season. (see also main index on Terry Neill)

9 July 1999: Barnet 1 Arsenal 6.  Arsenal started a three year sponsorship with
SEGA worth £10m, with this match.

9 July 2004: Graham Stack went to Millwall on a year long loan spell.  Despite
six years at Arsenal he never played a league game, but did get games with
Millwall and Beveren.  He later had extended runs with Hibs and Barnet,
where he was also a coach, and in 2018 joined Watford as a coach.

9 July 2007:  A season long loan spell to Colchester for Matthew Connolly was announced, but this was curtailed on 2 January 2008 after he had played 16 games and scored two goals, and his permanent transfer to QPR was announced.  He was called up for the England under 21s shortly after.  He has most recently been playing for Cardiff.

And here are the main features from the site   There is an index to all our series on the home page.

Henry Norris at the Arsenal:  There is a full index to the series here.

Arsenal in the 1930s: The most comprehensive series on the decade ever

Arsenal in the 1970s: Every match and every intrigue reviewed in detail.


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