The former Arsenal and Tottenham manager Terry Neill has died aged 80. Neill led Arsenal to three consecutive FA Cup finals from 1978-80, winning one, and to the 1980 Cup Winners’ Cup final.
Neill played for Arsenal, Hull and Northern Ireland as a defender, joining Hull as player-manager in 1970 at the age of 28. He left Hull to succeed Bill Nicholson at Tottenham in 1974 and was recruited by Arsenal two years later.
He stayed there until his sacking in December 1983 and never managed again even though he was then only 41.
The 1979 FA Cup final win over Manchester United in a dramatic game settled by Alan Sunderland’s late winner provided Neill’s only trophy, the victory sandwiched by Cup final defeats against Ipswich and West Ham.
Arsenal reached the 1980 Cup Winners’ Cup final against Valencia by beating Juventus but lost on penalties after misses by Liam Brady and Graham Rix. The club’s highest league finish under Neill was third in 1981, one of four top-six finishes.
Neill had spent more than 10 years as a player at Arsenal after joining from Bangor City for £2,500 in December 1959. He played 275 games for the club and at 20 became the youngest captain in their history, later returning as their youngest-ever manager. He played 59 times for Northern Ireland and had a spell as their part-time manager.
Arsenal said: “Terry Neill’s status as both club captain and manager made him a major influence on 20th-century Arsenal. His fantastic contribution – and indeed his character – will always be appreciated by everyone associated with the club.”
Tottenham narrowly avoided relegation in Neill’s first season there but he led them to ninth a year later.