Joe Haverty: a beacon of light in an era of Darkness

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.

He is survived by his wife and three daughters. 

6 Replies to “Joe Haverty: a beacon of light in an era of Darkness”

  1. In your research of pre-1900, did you run across teams named something like Castle Swifts? I ran across a PDF which said that a person from their team went on to join Arsenal, but before he joined Arsenal, this Castle Swift team beat an Arsenal reserve team 4-0 in 1895.

    I spent some time arguing with Google about Eastern Wanderers, to basically get a result which I think you probably know already. The only football game in Google’s vast memory of Eastern Wanderers, is this mythical game against Dial Square on Isle of Dogs. As I was getting towards the end of the cache, mentions of Eastern Wanderers showed up a phenomenal number of times in arabic (with that 6-0 score line).

    One source interjected another mythical game, between the Eastern Wanderer game and the Christmas meeting to form the club, that being Dial Square against Chiswick Park. I can’t find anything other than this one mention, and I looked in records here and see nothing like it either.

    The Dial Square pillars date to 1720/1721, but that sundial wasn’t installed until 1764. Apparently there was some kind of clock there before, and it was replaced with the sundial because it wasn’t reliable. I see no mention of what kind of clock, this unreliable clock was.

  2. I’ve found 3 games between Woolwich Arsenal and Old Castle Swifts. All were friendlies involving Arsenal’s reserve team and all were played at Swifts’s ground:
    8 Sep 1894 – WA won 5-2
    17 Nov 1894 – WA won 1-0
    12 Jan 1895 – Swifts won 4-0

    The pdf has some interesting information, especially that Old St Luke’s and St Luke’s were two different teams. I will have to revisit my records and make sure that I haven’t assumed that they are the same team. Thanks for that.

    Eastern Wanderers played Millwall Rovers on 5 December 1885 at Millwall (probably on the same “ground” that we played EW in 1886). We also played Eastern Wanderers on 22 January 1887, winning 1-0 on Plumstead Common.

    I’ll contact Bill Wallsgrove and ask him where he got the information regarding a game against Chiswick Park from. The earliest game I have against Chiswick is 8 Feb 1890. I can’t see that Arsenal would have played a team as established as Chiswick so early in its lifetime. A good spot, I’d read Bill’s article recently but obviously not close enough!

    All in all lots of food for thought, thanks Gord.

  3. I’m glad I found something of use.

    With respect to Eastern Wanderers again (still), is this the Cricket Club which apparently still exists? I’ve seen cricket scores mentioning them occasionally. I don’t find their web site very useful.

    It doesn’t really look like new information from 100+ years ago is coming online very quickly. There are archives of newspaper articles, but they don’t seem to be freely available. Maybe they don’t have OCRed output (which is seldom perfect), or maybe they just want to make money. But if people had scans (preferably higher resolution) of articles, perhaps some of us (geeks) could look at converting them to text to make searching them easier.

    I’ve gone on similar “fishing trips” in the past, because my Mom’s side of the family are people of German heritage in the Ukraine. Not a lot of information; and its scattered all over.

    Once I fix a program used for GIS work, I should be able to rubber-sheet and georeference some of these older maps and drawings of the parts of Woolwich and/or London where this history is taking place. Then people should be able to use any of those images and navigate to the same GPS coordinate on all the images. Which might help people in finding things. I have noticed that the GoogleEarth images are not perfectly registered, which is probably because I don’t think they were ever rubber sheeted.

    As far as I know, the best image format for this is TIFF, in particular something called GeoTIFF. But, if people here want other formats, it would be nice if they could say what they are looking for.

  4. Andy.
    Gremlins have entered ….”joining the side on 25 August 1965 aged 18.” “(1996/7 with 28 games and 8 goals, and 1959/60 with 35 games and also 8 goals.”

    Good memories…esp. Joe against Stoke in an FA cup game (?1957?) when he led them such a dance that in the second half we were just singing “Give it to Joe.”

  5. I remember Joe before I left Ireland in 1947.He used to come to have a meal with us at 36 summerhill in Dublin.I was a 2nd cousin.I have lived in South Africa since 1971.

  6. I used to watch Joe play with my Dad and uncles in 1960s great to watch i also have his autograph great player never forget those days

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