John Hollins MBE – squad man who became a regular

John William Hollins MBE  was born 16 July 1946 and played for Arsenal between 1979 and 1983:

Season Lge games Goals Manager
1979/80 23 (3) 1 Neill
1980/81 38 (5) 5 Neill
1981/82 40 (1) 1 Neill
1982/83 22 (1) 2 Neill
Total 123 (4) 9

He was born in Guildford into a family in which both father and grandfather played football, as well as his three brothers.

He played initially for Chelsea (including a spell as captain) and in 12 years knocked up 436 appearances and scored 47 goals, including at one point playing 167 consecutive games.

After this he went to QPR in 1975 where he worked for another four seasons including one in which they became runners-up in the first division.

He was 33 when he moved to Arsenal as Terry Neill tried to bolster the squad.  To many people’s surprise (including mine) he actually became a regular defender and played as a sub in the 1980 Cup Winners’ Cup Final.   He was awarded an MBE for services to football in 1981 during his time with Arsenal.

Aged 36 he then returned to Chelsea and played a further 30 games for them as they won promotion back to the first division.  He ended his career in the summer of 1984 after playing 939 matches.

Hollins then moved immediately into coaching, and one year later became a manager of Chelsea, winning the “Full Members’ Cup” – a competition for first and second division clubs.  He was relieved of his duties in March 1988 as the club headed back to the second division.   Hollins then played one further game – with Cobh Ramblers in County Cork, Ireland.

He turned to coaching with QPR next, and was caretaker manager after Stewart Houston’s dismissal in the 1997/8 season (Houston had been Arsenal’s manager from February to June 1995).

Subsequent work included management at Swansea (winning Division 3), Rochdale (reaching the play offs) and Stockport, and then punditry with BBC radio.   He was assistant to Claude Anelka (Nic’s brother) at Raith in 2004,  before moving onto Crawley Town, then in the Conference.

His final job was with Weymouth, then also a Conference side, during the first part of the club’s slide into financial disaster, but in November 2008 he was suspended and then fired for having an unprofessional attitude.  He then retired from football.

The books…

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