I feel it only right that we take a look back at what the Northern Irishman achieved during his playing and managerial career:
The former Northern Ireland international signed for the Gunners on December 1959, where he spent one year in the youth ranks before making his senior debut on the 23rd of December against Sheffield Wednesday at the age of 18.
In the 1964/65 season, Neill established himself as one of the youngest players in Billy Wright’s team, playing in either the centre-back or full-back role. Wright’s successor Bertie Mee kept Neill in his plans when he took over in 1966. During this decade Terry Neill became a regular for the Gunners, appearing in over 40 games for three consecutive seasons, as well as playing in the 1968 League Cup against Leeds in which Arsenal lost. Cementing his place in the Arsenal line-up, Neill was also an intricate apart of the Northern Ireland set-up.
The centre-back made 59 appearances for his country during the years of 1961-1973, and was also given the captaincy in 1968. Neill was an intellectual and uncompromising centre-back who also possessed flair and physicality.
Terry Neill was diagnosed with Jaundice which restricted the defender’s appearances for both club and country in the 1968/69 season. Evidently, the centre-back missed the 1969 League Cup final against Swindon Town, in which Arsenal lost. Incapable of regaining his first-team place at Arsenal, Neill only managed to make 25 appearances in the 1969/70 season and soon became a bit part player for the club. During his 11 years at Arsenal, the centre-back made 275 appearances for the club and scored a total of 10 goals along the way.
In 1970, Terry Neill signed for Hull City as a player-manager at only the age of 28 (one of the youngest ever managers in the history of the game). A year later the defender also became player-manager of his country. Neill made over 100 appearances for Hull City during the years of 1970-1973 and a year later signed for Tottenham. Neill spent 2 years at White Hart Lane before taking over at Arsenal from Bertie Mee at the age of 34 (the clubs youngest manager to date).
During his 7 year reign at Arsenal, Neill guided the North London club to a trio of F.A. Cup finals (1978, 1979 and 1980) where they won the 1979 one. Arsenal also managed to reach the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1980 but sadly lost to Valencia on penalties. This was the best Neill could do and was unfortunately sacked in 1983 after a League Cup exit to Walsall.
Terry Neill retired from the game at the age of 41, and has since opened up several sports bars in Hendon and Holborn in Central London. In his spare time the former Arsenal player-manager also appears on Arsenal TV where he commentates on games. Neill is also well respected amongst the Arsenal faithful and at times loves to go and see the current squad at the Emirates.
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