By Tony Attwood
Paul Mariner played 60 times for Arsenal in the league and 10 times in cup games. He was with us for three seasons and scored 17 goals. Arsenal was the third at which he played – his overall total was 561 games and 214 goals.
Prior to Arsenal Paul had four seasons with Plymouth, then eight with Ipswich (who for much of that time were quite a force in English football) and then just the three with us.
To explain what I mean about Ipswich, during his time with Ipswich Paul won the FA Cup, the Uefa Cup, and the club was twice runners up in the First Division.
Paul was born 22 May 1953 and played as a centre forward in the traditional number 9, bustling, hustling and running forward to score, approach. He started with Chorley, before turning professional at 20 with Plymouth. At Ipswich he worked under Bobby Robson, and became an England international at that time.
Paul was in the Ipswich team that beat Arsenal in the cup final, when he was given the man of the match award in the 1-0 victory.
At Arsenal Mariner really only had one season where he was first choice. In 1983/4 he played 15 games after joining the club, with Tony Woodcock playing at number 9 until Mariner played his first game on February 18, at which point Woodcock moved to number 10. Arsenal ended that season in 6th and were out of both cups before Mariner arrived.
In 1984/5 he played 41 games, mostly with Woodcock beside him, but his 34 league starts only saw him score 7. Arsenal finished 7th in the league and were humiliated in the FA Cup by York who beat Arsenal (fielding Woodcock, Charlie Nicholas) and Mariner 1-0.
In 1985/6 he made just 14 appearances, replaced as number 9 by Charlie Nicholas (who played 41 league games, but only scored 10). Mariner’s solitary goal came in a league cup defeat to Aston Villa as Arsenal went out in the 5th round.
George Graham took over the following season and gave him a free transfer to Portsmouth – where he remained for two seasons before going on to Albany Capitals in the American league where he played for three years and also acted as an assistant to the coach. He then took up a similar dual role with San Francisco Bay Blackhawks before making 15 appearances with Naxxar Lions in Malta, and then returning to England with non league clubs Chorley and Bury Town.
After retirement he worked as a pundit on local radio, and a school football coach. Then he went into coaching youth football in the US ultimately becoming assistant coach at Harvard University and later New England Revolution.
By 2009 he was back in England working under Paul Sturrock at Plymouth, becoming manager in 2009 but only lasted until 2010 having failed to avoid relegation with the club with Mariner returning to his role as coach for a little while longer. After that it was Director of Player Development at Toronto, and after the sacking of the manager he became Head Coach in June 2012, but was sacked in January 2013.
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