ARSENAL’s NO CAP WONDERS
Well the North London derby is done and dusted and we’re deep into yet another Interlull, so I thought this would be as good a time as any to talk about six Arsenal players who were criminally overlooked by England. There are some awful players that have been capped for England. Also some pretty average ones that have 50 caps to their name as well. There are players like Dele Alli who’s only been in the game for 5 minutes and still wet behind the ears, yet he’s a full international. These six magnificent Arsenal players, without a single cap amongst them, would have every right to feel aggrieved at the injustice of being overlooked by England, especially when you see the names of some of the players that weren’t.
George Hedley Swindin
Although I’ve never seen George play there are sound reasons why he can consider himself very unlucky never to play for England. George was born in Campsell, Doncaster Yorkshire on 4th December 1914. He joined Arsenal from Bradford City in 1936 for £4,000. He then went on to have a career at Arsenal which spanned 18 years, before finally retiring in 1954 after making 297 appearances in goal for the club. It would have been far more but for WW2 when he was acting as a PT instructor for the army whilst still playing wartime matches for Arsenal. George was a tough no nonsense Yorkshireman who commanded his box and had excellent handling. He played in Arsenal’s FA Cup winning side in 1950 as well as being the only goalkeeper ever to win a title winners medal in three different decades, playing his part in Arsenal’s championship winning sides in 1938, 1948 and 1953. Despite all this he never played for England. Yet incredibly Scott Carson has 4 caps! George of course later went on to manage Arsenal from 1958 till 1962. He lived to the ripe old age of 90 before passing away on 25th October 2005.
Again I’ve never seen Reg play but he is probably the most lethal striker in Arsenal’s history & but for WW2 I’ve no doubt that he would have comfortably out-scored Thierry Henry, Ian Wright and Cliff Bastin. He was born on the 7th March 1920 in Bilston Staffordshire but brought up in South London. He played for us for 18 years, joining the club as a schoolboy in 1935, making his debut in 1938, scoring against Everton. The following season he netted 7 times in 15 appearances, before the war robbed him of some of the prime years of his career. Reg was prolific scoring 146 goals in 131 wartime games and served in the army, in the Rhine towards the end of the war. Unlike some of his 1930s teammates Reg was only 26 when league football resumed in 1946 and he formed a great partnership with Ronnie Rooke in Arsenal’s title winning 1947-48 side and famously scored both Arsenal goals against Liverpool when we won the FA Cup in 1950 at Wembley. He started to suffer from injury, retiring at the end of 1953 without playing a single game that season. Reg sadly passed away in April 1997. He scored 118 goals in 176 games for Arsenal.
How the hell did he not win a cap yet the hapless Michael Ricketts has one!
Geordie was the best Arsenal player I’ve ever seen, never to play for England. Born in Hebburn County Durham on the 9th August 1944, George joined Arsenal in 1961, making his debut at 17 against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road on 24th February 1962. Geordie was Arsenal’s record appearance holder until David O’Leary and Tony Adams overtook him. In all Geordie made 621 appearances scoring 68 goals for us. Geordie was man of the match when Arsenal defeated Anderlecht in the Fairs Cup Final 2nd leg in 1970. He was also a vital member of the 1971 Double side laying on so many goals for Radford and Kennedy with his pin point crosses with either foot.
He never stopped running, was tireless with endless stamina operating on both flanks. It must have been every Arsenal full backs dream, to have Geordie in front of them as he rarely, if ever failed to track back and help them out. What is sometimes forgotten by younger fans is Geordie was rarely injured, playing in all 64 matches of the Double season and only being substituted once that season. This was on heavy muddy pitches in the days of the hatchet men like Chopper Harris, Tommy Smith and Norman Hunter, so Geordie’s durability was amazing. Alf Ramsey didn’t like picking Arsenal players and in my opinion, he made a massive mistake not taking Geordie to the World Cup in Mexico in 1970. He would have thrived in the heat and altitude of Mexico, making lung bursting runs while others around him would be wilting. I was gutted when he left for Leicester City in 1977 but delighted when he returned to coach the young players at Arsenal. They couldn’t have a better role model. He was loved by everybody who ever met him, including myself and he is sadly missed.
Shame on you Alf Ramsey for not picking him for England. By the way has Andros Townsend really got 10 England caps!
Peter Fredrick Simpson
Peter was one of the most cultured centre halves you could ever wish to see. He was born on the 13th January 1945 in Gorleston, Norfolk. Peter or Stan as he was affectionately known joined Arsenal in 1960, before becoming an apprentice in October 1961 and turning professional in May 1962. Stan made his debut against Chelsea in a 4-2 defeat at Highbury on the 14th March 1964. He was in and out of the side for the next three seasons in a variety of positions before finally cementing his place at Centre Half in 1966-67.
He then went on to form an impressive partnership with Frank McLintock. Peter was an integral part of the Fairs Cup and Double winning sides. In the 1970-71season the defence conceded only 6 goals at Highbury in the league and Peter played a huge part in that. Stan was a ball playing centre half who was never ruffled, an excellent passer, good in the air and a great exponent of the slide tackle. He always shunned the limelight but was a great servant of the club.
Injuries caught up with him in later years and he left in 1978 to try his luck in the States. Once again Peter was another of our players Alf Ramsey overlooked, though he was part of the preliminary Squad for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. Ramsey opted for Emlyn Hughes and Brian Labone, even though Stan was more comfortable on the ball and probably better suited to international football.
Hard to imagine Stan didn’t get capped but the woeful Jeff Blockley did! Not to mention dross like Zak Knight who believe it or not was capped twice!
Paul Vincent Davis
Paul was born in Dulwich on the 9th December 1961. He signed as an apprentice in 1978 and I was there for his debut at White Hart Lane in 1980. We were facing a fixture pile up and had asked Spurs if we could move the game to another date but typically Spurs refused to help us. So we had to play 3 games in 5 days! The third game was the 1st leg of the Cup Winners Cup semi-final against Juventus. The Spurs match was just two days before so we field a weakened side with Davis making his debut. He played as if he’d been in the side for years and we beat Spurs 2-1.
Paul was very assured on the ball and although he had a slight frame, was stronger than he looked and very difficult to knock off the ball, as he had such perfect balance. He was a beautiful passer of the ball and always played with his head up. He caused a massive commotion in 1988, when he broke Southampton’s Glenn Cockerill’s jaw with a peach of a punch and copped a 9 game ban plus a £3,000 fine. This was so out of character for him so Cockerill must have said something pretty disgusting to have got that reaction from Paul. He served us well for 15 years winning 6 major honours including 2 League titles in 1989 and 1991, the FA Cup in 1993, 2 League Cups in 1987 and 1993 and the Cup Winners Cup in 1994.
Despite his glittering Arsenal career Paul Davis was never picked for England, yet Geoff Thomas (9 caps) & Carlton Palmer (18 caps) were. Paul Davis was light years ahead of those two plodders.
Kevin Joseph Campbell
Born in Lambeth on the 4th February 1970. Super Kevin Campbell was a prolific scorer at youth and reserve level for The Arsenal earning quite a reputation for himself scoring 59 goals in one season for the youth team. The Arsenal fans were eagerly awaiting his debut and it came against Everton on the 7th May 1988. He eventually established himself in the side for the 1990-91 title run-in scoring some vital goals and picking up a League winners medal. I also remember him scoring a crucial winning goal for us against PSG in the Cup Winners Cup 2nd leg semi-final at Highbury in 1994. He was quick, powerful and direct. I felt though that when Ian Wright joined Arsenal in the summer of 1991, he always seemed to overshadow Campbell. He continued to have a successful career leaving us in 1995 for Nottingham Forest before going on to play for Trabzonsport, Everton and WBA. No way was somebody like Peter Ward more deserving of an England cap. In fact Kevin Campbell is the man who still holds the record for scoring the most Premier League goals without winning a full England cap and I believe is the only player to have scored Premier League hatricks for four clubs.
Well that’s my six. Hope you enjoyed reading about them and what a travesty it is that none of them ever played for the full England side.
Ps. I see Jesse Lingard has now been called into the England squad, amazingly after just two games for Man Utd. Jesus What an absolute joke!
Our Thanks Gary Lawrence back once more as an always welcome guest columnist.
I am sure Gary won’t mind me saying he is one of the wise senior statesman of Arsenal Twitter so we suggest you get following @Garythegooner56