Today’s whimsical offering inspired by the international break but keeping it pure Arsenal will give you many a nugget to throw into the convo in the pub tonight. Time to impress the hell out of your mates with useless Arsenal and England related quirkiness and little known and long forgotten facts. If this is not enough I will spice it up with a sardonic look and a raised eyebrow or two at some England Manager’s decisions when it comes to a few Highbury heroes.
Arsenal’s One Cap Wonders
Jeff Blockley – I think it might be safe to say that Blockley got his one cap because he had been signed for the might Arsenal to replace double winning skipper and centre half Frank McLintock in 1972. He got it in his first season and was never to play again. In fact he made is England debut only four days after his Gunners debut against Yugoslavia. Bertie Mee later was to describe Blockley as the worse signing of his career. Put it this way in 72/73 Arsenal conceded 41 with Big Frank still there and in Blockley’s first full season 1973/4 without McLintock Arsenal conceded 51 and finished 10th.
Arsenal’s one cap wonder number 1 – Jeff ‘not blocking enough’ Blockley.
Alan Sunderland – or as the terrace chant I grew up with call him ‘Alan Alan Alan Sunderland!’ Forever proudly integral to Arsenal Folklore and sat in Highbury Valhalla, or retired in Malta, which is not so poetic? The man who won the most dramatic of FA Cup Final’s in the final minute against United, after Arsenal had dominated and then thrown away a 2 goal lead. This of course ended an 8 year wait for a trophy!
Always in the side at Arsenal after joining from Wolves in November 1977 Sunderland was a firm fans favourite and Terry Neill switched him over time from midfield into the attack and after the demise through injury of Malcolm Macdonald he partnered Frank Stapleton for 3 seasons, all of which ended in Cup finals, the last one 1979/80 in 2. It was after the disappointment of losing both FA Cup and Cup Winners Cup and resigned to losing Brady that Alan secured his one and one England Cap in a 2-1 win over Australia in Sydney.
Arsenal’s one cap wonder number 2 – Alan ‘Natural Afro’ Sunderland.
Brian Marwood – I think it would be fair to say they may have been a collective ‘Who?’ for the Arsenal faithful when George Graham signed Marwood from Sheffield Weds in the Match of 1988. Particularly since our own home grown Martin Hayes had become the first Gooner to score 20 in a season since Stapleton the previous season. However it soon became apparent that Marwood was at a different level and the following season, his first full campaign he was simply sensational. His ability to cross early or head to the byline and whip the ball in gave Alan Smith goal after goal. Of course assists were not recorded then as they are now but I would estimate 12 as a minimum.
Sadly injury caused Brain to miss the last 5 games including the dramatic night at Anfield but I would go as far as to saying that had he not missed them it would not have gone to the final day. Our collapse in the final month for me was closely linked to the injury to our talisman left winger.
His form in that historic season gave him his one cap in a friendly against Saudi Arabia in the November of 88 but further injury in 1989/90 and the arrival on one Anders Limpar curtailed his Arsenal career and made additional caps unlikely.
Arsenal one cap wonder number 3 – Brian ‘Brian, Brian Marwood, Brain Marwood on the wing’Marwood
Francis Jeffers – Poor Francis Jeffers. You have to admire the man’s confidence in signing for an Arsenal side that already has Henry, Bergkamp, Wiltord and Kanu. I cannot imagine what Wenger and Dein must have sold him but he never really did become the ‘Fox in the Box’ some felt we were missing.
You have to feel sorry for a guy who was plagued with injury and missed out on the number of appearances for a Premiership medal in 02 and missed out on being in both the 02 and 03 Cup Final squads. He did score 3 goals on the Cup run in 03 and it was this brief run of games and form that one him his one cap which include a superb flying header of a goal Australia in a friendly. It was a consolation as England lost 3-1.
His final ignominious bow for the Gunners came in the Community Shield in August 03 when he came on against United only be sent off shortly afterwards. He then went on loan back to Everton and his career has downward spiralled ever since and he has become the man to prove the expression ‘If you don’t drink your milk you will only ever be good enough to play for Accrington Stanley!
Arsenal one cap wonder number 4 – Francis ‘Actually not the fox in the box’Jeffers.
Sort of Arsenal one Cap wonders
A quick paragraph on 3 Arsenal favourites who whilst not capped at Arsenal did only manage to earn the one solitary cap and I would argue all who should have earned more.
In this category I would have:-
Charlie George – Never capped whilst at Arsenal between 1968 and 1975 primarily perhaps due to his rebellious nature and trouble maker tag. His talent was there and he was always the North Bank darling despite arguably under achieving, like Charlie Nicholas a decade later. Ironically is one cap came in 1976 when at Derby under Don Revie but there were to be no more.
John Hollins – Charlie George is understandable but I cannot personally fathom why Johnny Hollins only played once for his country. I am not saying he should have been capped whilst at Highbury in his later career between 1979 and 83 but how a man who played 743 times for Chelsea, QPR and Arsenal at the highest level, never putting in an under par performance got one cap in 1967. Perhaps he should have elected to play for Wales like his brother did. This is a man who got an MBE for services to football whilst still playing week in week our for Arsenal in1981. This of course is when Queen’s honours did not come in with vouchers from Tesco’s and in cereal boxes.
Kevin Richardson – A title winner in 1989 with Arsenal and previously with Everton, Richardson was probably the ‘Defensive Midfielder’ before they became fashionable and every team had to have one. He did not stay for the second title triumph and ended up at Aston Villa via a season in Spain. Sadly Kevin was another player to fall out with GG. However at Villa he was ever present for 2 seasons went on to captain them and led then to League Cup triumph. His man of the match performance which saw his side defeat Man United earned him his one and only England call up under Venables in a friendly defeat of Greece the following month in April 94.
A few stunning and inexplicable Gunner 2 Cap Charlie’s
Category three will become known as the ‘Are you sure Dave, I cannot believe…… only won 2 caps section!
John Radford – As Radford blossomed under Bertie Mee in the late 60’s and early 70’s so did Arsenal. Radford scored 19 in the 1969/70 season leading Arsenal to the first trophy in years and years, in the Fairs Cup. In 70/71 he contributed 21 goals and countless assists in a 47 goal partnership with Ray Kennedy. The problem was the Sir Alf Ramsey had his favourite’s players and clubs and Radford made on 2 appearances for him in 70 and 71. Kennedy who was scoring for fun for Arsenal from 1970 until 1974 got not call up from Ramsey. As we will later read the fact he played without wingers did not help Radford or Kennedy.
Nigel Winterburn One of my favourite Arsenal players ever and in my view one of the best defending left backs of a generation. I include Winterburn in this section because he only one 2 caps but I just wanted to explode the myth that this was his pure misfortune to be playing at the same time and same position as Stuart ‘Psycho’ Pearce. Yes this is true and yes Pearce was a better footballer. No argument from this Gunner on that one. However what does grate and is totally ridiculous is that a bloody over rated Australian called
Tony Dorigo went to the World Cup as understudy to Pearce in 1990 instead of Nutty. Yes I know!!!
The fact that Dorigo between 1989 and 1993, when Nutty was winning titles for Arsenal and was unquestionably part of the best back 4 in the league, won 15 caps and Nigel 2 is absurd.
Steve Bould – The above travesty of justice neatly links us in the next one. Bould like Winterburn played in the back great back 5 from 1990 onwards and while Adams, Seaman and Dixon played regularly and superbly for their country Bouldie like Nutty had to watch on with envy.
In fact it should be noted that for the Euro’s in 1992 at which England failed spectacularly Graham Taylor actually took none of the Arsenal back four. I winder is he regrets that now?
Oh the irony that Bould won both his caps in friendlies under Venables at the end of 1993/4 when he was 31 and Arsenal were half the team they had been 3 and 4 years earlier
Michael Thomas – Finally I give you Arsenal history maker Mickey Thomas, scoring of the legendary final minute goal at Anfield in 89. Both his caps came in friendlies in 1988/89. Now I am not going to argue that Thomas fulfilled his potential and should have gone on to have an illustrious career for club and country. He did not and that I regret as he is one of our own but I would argue that in 1989/90 he was a better central midfielder than David Batty or Carlton Palmer were that season. Of course what do I know and I am sure once again Graham ‘Turnip’ Taylor has no regrets. Of course he left Rocky out too.
Arsenal No Cap Blunders
Just to conclude I will leave with a few Arsenal victims of the total and incredulous injustices when it comes to lack of England recognition in my time as a supporter.
Paul Davis – One of the most cultured midfielders of his generation with the sweetest left foot Paul Davis played 447 times for his own club, Arsenal. He has his ups and downs with George Graham to be fair and missed much of 1988/89 and 1989/90 though suspension of being out of favour. However he was virtually ever present in the side that lost only one game in the whole 1990/91 playing alongside Thomas in the main and still Graham Taylor ignored him. Perhaps at 30 he was deemed to old but he still went on to win 3 more major trophies with Arsenal. In 1991/92 Paul Davis got no caps and Geoff Thomas got 9 – I leave you with that horrific thought.
Peter Simpson – Along with Frank McLintock a mainstay of the Arsenal defence for the whole of the Bertie Mee era and despite 2 call ups in 1969 and 1970 Simpson never got to play for his country. Like Paul Davis he too played so many games for Arsenal, in Simpson’s case 468 and never once got to pull on the 3 Lions as his form and talent surely merited.
Kevin Campbell – No I am not suggesting Super Kev necessarily did deserve to play regularly for England but I loved the guy and have to include him just for the now well known fact – He has the distinction of being the English player who has scored the most goals in the Premier League without earning an England cap. This I think also by being the only player or one of them to have scored 4 hatricks for 4 different Premier League teams – I could be wrong on that.
George Armstrong – I will leave the greatest injustice until last. Armstrong one of Arsenal’s greatest ever players, could play on either flank, was effective with either foot and for years the best crosser and corner taker in English football. Geordie has been described my many as the ‘greatest English player never to play for England.’ Those who player with him will tell you he could take a corner in training and hit a coin ion the floor in the 6 yard box. There is little doubt that after 621 games all Gunners knew his worth but his peak between 1966 and 1974 coincided with the Ramsey era for England and his insistence on playing with no winger.
Well I hope you have enjoyed the 1ND2OU Interlull special now go forth to the pubs and bars this Friday watch the game and bore your pals courtesy of this far too long piece. I was tempted to include Perry Groves but decided against it!!!
There will be players I have missed so feel free o comment and let me know.
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