The curious life of John Hollins, once of Arsenal

Looking at the anniversaries for today I particularly noticed John Hollins, who played 127 games for us in the late 1970s and early 1980s before moving on to Chelsea for one season.

After playing he moved into management, and his record really does look rather poor – or maybe he was just unlucky.  He obviously believed in himself since he kept on trying over and over.

He started in management with Chelsea but was sacked as the club entered a four month non-winning run which ended in them going down.   Then he had various times managing Swansea, Rochdale, Stockport and Stockport Tiger Star – a Chinese affiliate club of Stockport!

He did take Stockport from the 4th to the 3rd division, but was then sacked there as they looked like going straight back down.  He then took Rochdale into the play offs but was sacked because he wouldn’t immediately sign a new contract.  (I presume he was hoping for a better offer!)   Then there was a few months at Raith, Crawley (10 points deducted for going into administration) and then still moving downwards, Weymouth, where the Football Conference started to investigate contractual issues at the club.  They sacked him before his year was up.

After that he seems to have got the message and stopped trying to work as a manager.  But full marks for persistence. 

Here are the anniversaries.

15 July 1946: Cyril Grant joined from Lincoln and was seen as a possible replacement for Ted Drake.  He was one of 18 players newly recruited to the club for the first post-war season, but as with many others, was not a success.

15 July 1953: Freddie Cox sold to WBA for £3500.  In 1956 he moved to Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic of the Third Division South as manager and in
1957 oversaw their Cup victories against Wolverhampton and Tottenham losing finally to Manchester United.

15 July 1979 John Hollins joined from QPR.  He played initially for Chelsea (including a spell as captain) and in 12 years knocked up 436 appearances including 167 consecutive games and then had four seasons at QPR before moving to Arsenal aged 33.

15 July 1995: Stephen Hughes signed professional contract.  He went on to
play 49 times for Arsenal before moving on to Everton in 2000.

15 July 2002: Arsène Wenger became a member of Legion d’Honneur.  The Order was established by Napoleon Bonaparte on 19 May 1802 and is the highest decoration in France.

15 July 2006: Barnet 0 Arsenal 0.  This opening of the pre-season games was played just before the first match at the Emirates – the Bergkamp testimonial.

15 July 2015: Singapore XI 0 Arsenal 4 (Akpom 3, Wilshere).  This was the start of only the second unbeaten pre-season in Arsenal’s modern history.  The first was in 2005.  In the early 20th Arsenal had several unbeaten end of season tours.

15 July 2017: Arsenal played the second game of their Australian tour, against  Western Sydney Wanderers, in front of 83,000 people. Arsenal won 3–1 after first-half goals from Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny.


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