July 31 2014 Latest news:

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 24°C

min temp: 17°C

Five-day forecast

Former Hull and Arsenal boss gives his verdict on FA Cup final

Terry Neill as player-manager of Hull City in 1971 Terry Neill as player-manager of Hull City in 1971

Jem Maidment
Friday, May 16, 2014
7:11 AM

Arsenal face Hull City in Saturday’s FA Cup final – and Terry Neill managed both clubs, with the highlight of his career coming when his Arsenal side beat Manchester United 3-2 in the 1979 final. Jem Maidment caught up with him ahead of the Wembley showdown...

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

People forget Hull is where you started your management career..

“It is a club and a city that will always have a special place in my heart. I always say I worked for the two best chairmen in football; Denis Hill-Wood at the Arsenal – the ‘Old Man’ as we affectionately called him – and Harold Needler at Hull.

It was 1970 and I had hepatitis, which forced me out of the Arsenal team for quite a few months and was unlikely to get back in as the Double team began to take shape. I’d taken my coaching badges and was looking to make the move into management when Bertie Mee told me Hull wanted me as player-manager.

I met Mr Needler a few times – he had a house down in Sloane Square for when he was on business in London – and I liked him a lot so I decided to take up the offer. I’m pleased I did.”

How long were you at Hull for?

“Four years and I really enjoyed it. We were in Division Two and finished a few points off promotion in my first season. We also had a couple of good FA Cup runs but, in all honesty, I inherited an ageing side so I couldn’t do as much as I liked. I sorted the infrastructure out and improved the training facilities massively too. It was a great learning experience, but the other problem I found up there was that I don’t think the locals every truly believed that they could make it to the top flight because they had underachieved for so long.

It is a big city and the support there – or potential support – is huge. You could see that even in 1970. Thankfully now they are a Premier League side – and an established one at that – in a great stadium with big crowds. I always knew the potential was there and it is great it is being fulfilled.”

So are you a little torn as to who you want to win on Saturday?

“I spent far longer at Arsenal and everyone knows where my allegiances lie – I want Arsenal to bring the Cup back to north London. It has been too long. But I am absolutely delighted Hull are in the final – it has been 84 years since they last even got to the semis so it is about time! It is an intriguing final and one that is very personal to me.”

How do you see the game panning out?

“As I said, it is an intriguing one. Arsenal should win this – and they now have their best players back and have won their last five – but Hull’s manager Steve Bruce knows all about the FA Cup. He won a few with Manchester United and has managed lots of teams in the competition. In addition, the pressure is all on Arsenal.

Bruce is an impressive manager who improves clubs, no two ways about it – he knows what he is doing. Hopefully, though, it is the real Arsenal team who turn up – if that is the case they will win the match.

But we all remember the Carling Cup final against Birmingham when that was presented as a formality. Arsenal didn’t turn up and that defeat damaged them.

Bruce will make it very tough and the one thing I will say is they will have to fight to earn the right to play their natural game. If they win they will get huge coverage because the longer this run without a trophy goes on the more the media and the fans will focus on it negatively.”

Will you be there?

“Yes, of course, I am absolutely delighted that the FA have invited me as their guest. I am truly honoured – despite what some people think, the FA do get some things right!”

Share this article

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.


We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Forgotten your password?


Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

   Local advertisers

More Arsenal news

Click here to read the Digital Edition of the Islington Gazette on screen
Use our Wedding site to help you plan your big day!
At WeddingSite we know how much you have to organise for your wedding day, that's why we have designed a set of FREE, simple-to-use tools to make the planning process easy & hassle-free. FIND OUT MORE
Find a date using our online dating and friend finder
You can meet new friends, find romance or simply meet up online with people sharing similar interests and hobbies. FIND OUT MORE
Find a local business using our online directory search
Need a plumber? Or a florist? Or anything else? Search our business directory to find Islington businesses in just a few seconds. FIND OUT MORE
Family notices from the Islington Gazette, with readers' tributes
In memoriam, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, best wishes & special days. FIND OUT MORE

Around the Web See all