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A motley crew of candidates which surprisingly included David Pleat. You wonder what meltdown such strong links with the former Tottenham manager would have induced on Twitter.
An interesting short-termist approach toward Bobby Robson given that he continued at Newcastle for nine years beyond this story. Personally, he was my favoured choice at the time. Who knows how that might have turned out as I doubt that he would have been as unpopular with the players (or certain ones) as Rioch became.
In the immediate aftermath of winning the FA Cup, Terry Neill went out to strengthen his squad. Johan Neeskens was a key member of the Ajax side which dominated European football in the early years of the 1970s.
By the time his contract at Barcelona was finished in 1979, he had won all European club trophies, an intercontinental title and been in both losing World Cup finals with his country. He was 28, in his prime; in today’s market, he would have had his pick of any club he wanted.
Despite newspaper reports of a preference for Arsenal or Strasbourg, Neeskens signed for New York Cosmos. Arsenal displayed ambition but it came to nought.
The nature of football is speculation about the manager’s future, it always has been, always will be. There had been speculation over Jack Crayston’s future but the manner of his departure was a surprise in its suddenness.
As a player, Crayston joined Arsenal in 1934 from Bradford Park Avenue, scoring on his debut in the 8 – 1 victory over Liverpool at Highbury; Ted Drake and Ray Bowden with hat-tricks and Cliff Bastin were the other scorers that day. He would go on to make 190 appearances for the club, winning two League titles and the FA Cup before the war intervened. By the time it ended, he was in his mid-thirties and his playing career had been finished by an injury in a wartime match against West Ham.
Appointed Assistant Manager when the war ended, he took over from Tom Whitaker upon his untimely death in 1956. He was fighting a losing battle as the club’s fortunes were declining and he bore the brunt of the criticism. That the Board offered no reluctance to accept his resignation is telling as to the conversations which must have taken place.
Having finished fifth in both of the previous seasons, twelfth was disappointing. Perhaps a good cup run would have made a difference but having exited the FA Cup in the Quarter-Finals in his first two seasons, defeat in the third round at the hands of Northampton Town would not have helped his cause.
More from the club’s Brazilian tour, this time with the view that Arsenal’s 5 – 1 victory over Fluminense was good for the country’s exports to the South American country.
For the first time, both domestic cup finals featured the same teams. Arsenal had beaten Sheffield Wednesday in March to win the League Cup (in its Coca Cola guise). My mind’s eye, albeit influenced by alcohol at the time, tells me this was a poor affair. It probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn that I have never watched the entire 120 minutes since.