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Arsenal History: 1976-1986 – Terry Neill, Don Howe and lots of cup runs

Arsenal History: 1976-1986 – Terry Neill, Don Howe and lots of cup runs

Arsenal History continued: 1976-1986 – the era that brought us Brady and Stapleton to name a few!

Another up and down decade would yet again test the resolve of another former player who became manager of our club.

And taking over from Bertie Mee, was former centre back Terry Neill who came in 1976. After playing for the club between 1959 and 1970, Neill made 241 appearances scoring eight goals.

But this time he was back to try his luck as manager.

It was no doubt a controversial move though as after two years managing our rivals Tottenham Hotspur, taking them to ninth place in his second year in charge, Neill decided to jump over to the red side of North London to see what sort of success he could have at Arsenal, at the time and at the age of 34 he would be the youngest manager of our time, at that time.

It didn’t take him long to grab hold of the reins and bring in some new signings though.

And he did so with the likes of Malcolm Macdonald from Newcastle whom he would spend a club record £333,333.34 to sign and Pat Jennings, the latter whom he stole from his old side Spurs.

These additions, along with rising talents like Liam Brady and Frank Stapleton, made Arsenal a top-eight side again in the League. But the most successful times would only come in the Cups and not the League.

Neill looked to be doing a good job as the club reached a trio of finals. The 1978, 1979 and 1980 FA Cup Finals.

Although we lost the 1980 European Cup Winners’ Cup Final on penalties, the club’s only trophy during this time was the 1979 FA Cup which was achieved with a last-minute 3–2 victory over Manchester United. And as you can guess we lost the 1978 and 1980 finals in-between lifting the 1979 trophy.

The final against United was widely regarded as a classic and was dubbed the five-minute final because after seeming like we were in control at 2-0 up, United would come back to draw level with a brace in the closing stages. However it fell to Arsenal striker Alan Sunderland who would break United hearts by scoring an injury time winner to bring the cup home for The Gunners.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – MAY 12: Arsenal player Liam Brady (l) wearing a Manchester United shirt leads the celebrations after their 3-2 victory in the 1979 FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on May 12, 1979 with back row, left to right David Price, Pat Jennings, Willie Young, Alan Sunderland and David O’ Leary and front row Pat Rice and Sammy Nelson with cup and Brian Talbot (standing) (Photo by Allsport/Getty Images)

In 1979, if pulled off, Arsenal could have been a very different side, but although he came close, Neill was unsuccessful in his attempt to pull off a major transfer coup for Arsenal by signing Diego Maradona. Whom at the time was a highly rated teenager from Argentinos Juniors and within years we all saw why.

Neill also wanted to cheekily try and sign midfielder Glenn Hoddle from Spurs, but Hoddle had reservations about moving across North London to join his team’s arch…

Read Full Story At: Just Arsenal.

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