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Terry Neill

Thu 28 July 2022, 19:50|Tottenham Hotspur

We were saddened to hear of the passing of our former manager, Terry Neill, who has died at the age of 80.

It was in September, 1974, that Terry had the unenviable task of succeeding Bill Nicholson as our manager and he spent just under two years in charge at White Hart Lane before his resignation in the summer of 1976.

Born in Belfast in May, 1942, he started his career with Bangor before moving to Arsenal in December, 1959. He made his first team debut for the Gunners aged 18 and at 20, he became their youngest-ever captain, a record which still stands today. He featured 275 times for Arsenal and won 44 caps for Northern Ireland while at Highbury.

He joined Hull City as a player-manager in June, 1970, and took on a similar role with Northern Ireland in October, 1971, playing over 100 league games for the Tigers and winning a further 15 caps before retiring from playing to concentrate on management.

Terry took over as our manager following the resignation of Bill Nicholson and, after a difficult first season in charge, in which relegation was only avoided with a final-day win over European Cup finalists Leeds United, the 1975/76 campaign showed signs of promise. Terry’s policy of introducing fresh young talent started to pay off with a ninth-place finish in Division One, together with a run to the League Cup semi-finals.

In May, 1976, he did in fact pull on the Spurs shirt as a player when he came on as a substitute against Northern New South Wales in Australia during a post-season tour but, within a matter of weeks, he resigned as our manager.

Terry was appointed Arsenal boss almost immediately and over the course of the next seven years, led them to three successive FA Cup Finals between 1978 and 1980 – winning the trophy in 1979 – and the European Cup Winners’ Cup Final of 1980, which they lost on penalties.

Retiring from football aged 41 in 1983, he worked in the media, most notably as a radio pundit, and opened and ran sports bars in London with his wife Sandra, while he also established himself as a successful business developer.

We extend our condolences to Terry’s family and friends at this sad time.