New book commemorates legendary Arsenal winger Geordie Armstrong
- Credit: Archant
Every Arsenal fan of a certain vintage will remember the legendary career of player and coach George “Geordie” Armstrong.
The mercurial midfielder helped the Gunners win League and FA Cup double in 1970/71 and played a whopping 621 times for the club - the third most anyone has donned the famous red shirt.
However the hero’s sudden death at 56 years old meant that he never got to meet his five grandchildren.
Jill Armstrong, who grew up in the stands of Highbury Stadium watching her father flying down the wings for the Gunners, has spent the best part of the last 14 years putting together a book “written by the people who knew him best”.
She said: “I started to write to various people and it just sort of grew.
“It is an absolutely phenomenal tribute to my dad and I just wanted to put something together that his grandchildren could read later on.”
The ball really got rolling last year when Jill enlisted the help of amateur Arsenal blogger, David Seager, and they managed to create a tribute to “the best player who never played for England” using interviews, memories and letters from the people who were fortunate enough to be with Geordie throughout his career.
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David said: “No one had a bad word to say against him.
“We spoke to players who became coaches and still do the drills that he did in the 80s.
“Geordie was incredibly well-liked.”
The book is set to be launched next month at the Tollington Arms on Hornsey Road, Holloway – a do which will be attended by the icon’s friends and family, including double-winning teammate and captain Frank McLintock.
The tome includes a chapter written by the fans, as well as words from Arsene Wenger, Bob Wilson, Liam Brady and Dennis Bergkamp.
“He was given an amazing talent and he never abused it,” Jill said.
“Dad was always the last one standing signing autographs.
“I grew up at Highbury and me and my brother were always saying ‘come on dad’ because he always had time for everybody.”
The all-action winger-turned-coach influenced the lives of hundreds of players and thousands of fans throughout a career which spanned almost four decades.
Following a coaching career which took him around the world, including leading the national side of Kuwait, he returned to England only to be snapped up by George Graham to take on the reserve team.
He died suddenly in 2000 from a brain haemorrhage while on the pitch at the Gunners’ training ground in London Colney just four months before his first grandson, George, was born.
“He is 13 years old now and is an Arsenal supporter,” said Jill, who now lives in Cambridge.
“This book will be nice for him to be able to read about his grandfather and know how wonderful he was.”
Geordie Armstrong on the Wing: Memories of George Armstrong Arsenal Legend is available to pre-order now.