Joe Haverty (17 February 1936 – 7 February 2009) played for Home Farm FC and St Patrick’s Athletic in Ireland (reaching the country’s Cup final), and then signed for Arsenal in 1954 joining the side on 25 August 1965 aged 18. At 5 feet 3 inches he is one of the smallest players ever for Arsenal.
Although he played immediately for the club, he actually played only seven matches in his first season and eight in the next one. He did also join the Irish national team on 10 May 1955 before becoming the first choice number 11 in the following season, playing 32 games and scoring nine goals.
Along with a number of other players in the Arsenal team of the era he played in the Inter Cities Fairs Cup for London in the semi-final.
However he only lasted as the undisputed number 11 for a very short amount of time, with injury and a concern about his form meaning that he had only two seasons where he played over 25 league games (1996/7 with 28 games and 8 goals, and 1959/60 with 35 games and also 8 goals.
After that highest performing season he had one more with 12 games and 4 goals. In that final season Henderson and Skirton was challenging for his position and the writing was on the wall. The season after he left Skirton played 38 games on the wing and was top scorer with 19 goals.
It was Joe himself who felt he needed to move on, and he demanded a transfer, going to Blackburn Rovers in August 1961 for £25,000. He had played 122 matches for Arsenal, scoring 26 goals – only 7 more in his whole Arsenal career than Skirton managed in one season.
Joe spent one year with Blackburn, before moving on to Millwall, Celtic and Bristol Rovers. He returned to Ireland and played for Shelbourne, before moving to the USA in December 1966. He returned to Ireland in 1969, with Shamrock Rovers before moving on to Drogheda.
After a period in retirement for which I can’t find records Jo became a scout for Arsenal – and if you have any details for this period, or the date he rejoined Arsenal I would be very grateful.
He was much valued by Liam Brady, who by then had himself rejoined Arsenal. Speaking of Joe, Liam said, “I used to watch him in the League of Ireland and the Irish team, when I was about 10, to when I went to Arsenal, at 15. Other fans always tell me what a crowd-pleasing player Joe was at Highbury. He was an old-fashioned winger, small in stature but very quick. He really enjoyed his time at Arsenal and constantly talked about it. He was an excellent scout for us.”
In 2000 he was inaugurated into the FA of Ireland Hall of Fame having played 32 times for this country. He died on 9 February 2009, in Dublin, aged 72.