Don Howe Talks Of The Danger Men To Arsenal In Europe, On This Day 22nd June 1971

Having secured the double a month earlier, Arsenal’s attention was already turning to their first Champions Cup campaign. European club football had commenced in the mid-1950s, just as Arsenal entered a fallow period. Had the competitions existed in the 1930s, Arsenal would have qualified based on their domestic form most seasons in the decade and also beyond the recommencement of League football at the end of World War II.

It is an interesting piece by Don Howe on football in Europe at the time, not just for the content but also in the context of his own circumstances. He was heavily courted by Leicester City to take their managerial role but always lurking in the background were West Bromwich Albion, the club for whom he made nearly 350 appearances as a player.

Before he had chance to savour the tactical battles with European counterparts ahead, he had departed for The Hawthorns. It was not a successful spell, ending two years later with The Baggies relegated to Division Two.

I wonder if he regrets making that move, not just for the way it ended at Albion but he was an astute tactician and would surely have relished pitting his wits against top European clubs. Would Arsenal have progressed further than the quarter-finals with his input? It is conjecture of course, but not unbelievable to think that they might have pushed Ajax a little closer than the eventual margin of defeat.

Sorry for the poor quality of this scan.

Advertisements