Search

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

07:11 16 May 2014

Terry Neill as player-manager of Hull City in 1971

Terry Neill as player-manager of Hull City in 1971

PA Archive/Press Association Images

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...

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!”

0 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.

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

Latest Islington Sports News

07:16

Midway through a hard-fought first half at the Liberty Stadium a rainbow appeared. Not just any rainbow, one of those glorious technicolour efforts which make you feel warm inside.

Arsene Wenger played down reports of a bust-up with Arsenal’s in-form forward Alexis Sanchez during his side’s impressive 4-0 win at Swansea City.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admitted in-form striker Olivier Giroud suffered an ankle injury during his team’s impressive 4-0 win over Swansea.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Arsenal eased to a 4-0 victory against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium with goals from Olivier Giroud, Alex Iwobi (2), and Alexis Sanchez.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Teenager Billy Underwood is content to bide his time as he prepares to take his professional bow at York Hall next month.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Oraldo Kola’s hat-trick was not enough to prevent Riviera from crashing out of the Albert Daniels Cup on penalties against Highfield.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

On paper, Saturday’s Premier League clash between the Gunners and Swansea at the Liberty Stadium has ‘away win’ written all over it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Teenage runner Terry Fawden led Highgate Harriers’ Under-20 men’s team to a comfortable victory in the Middlesex Championships at Hillingdon House Farm.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now