On this day in 1976 Arsenal appointed former club captain Terry Neill as manager, after Bertie Mee had stepped down. But Neill wasn’t first choice, as the Chairman’s notes for the first game of the 1976-77 season (against Bristol City) confirm.Arsenal tried to lure their first foreign manager to Highbury 20 years before Arsene Wenger arrived, in what would have been a truly revolutionary appointment for the time. Madrid of course were not the force in the 1970s that they are now, but even so it was an audacious move from a forward thinking Board.
Both Chairman Denis Hill-Wood and Terry Neill welcome record signing Malcolm ‘Supermac’ MacDonald to Highbury, though Terry refers to him only as ‘Mac’ – can’t have him thinking he’s super before he’s even pulled on an Arsenal shirt! Neill also repeats something he’d written for the Arsenal programme as a guest two seasons before, on the lines of “I can’t tell all the players exactly what to do, they need to take responsibility.” He’s right of course, but it does sound a bit like a get-out clause! In other news, the Programme price had increased from 10p to 15p to accommodate the extra cost of colour photographs, which had been removed the previous season to keep the price down. This meant we could have things like Liam Brady relaxing with his record collection, which appears to consist of such things as Thin Lizzy, Bob Dylan and ‘Dancehall Sweethearts’ by Horslips. Liam’s garden swing is also featured, proving that colour pictures are not always an advantage.
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