Joe Mercer had been coaxed out of retirement from playing following the 1953 title win for another season. When Jack Crayston’s unsuccessful reign reached its conclusion, the former captain was the preferred candidate to replace him as Arsenal manager when the role became vacant.
Sheffield United had given him his break in the management game and stood by him when the club was relegated at the end of his first season in charge. No doubt that loyalty played a part in the decision although reading between the lines of his comments, the Arsenal role was turned down somewhat reluctantly.
Ron Greenwood is mentioned as a possible replacement but remained on the staff not considered for the top job. He left for West Ham in December 1961, four months or so before Crayston’s eventual replacement, George Swindin vacated the manager’s office in May 1962.