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A Legend in the Locker Room


The only Arsenal player that I ever met was Arthur Milton.

We were both members of Long Ashton Golf Club near Bristol and I used to see him teeing off with his son quite often. Apart from the odd nodded hello we never actually conversed, until one day in the locker room he spotted my Arsenal holdall and asked if I had played for the club!

Arthur went on to tell me a bit about his time as an Arsenal player regaling how so impressed he’d been with Highbury when he first arrived. “I was just a swede basher,” he told me. Suddenly he was up in the big city, walking the Marble Halls and playing with great players at the all-conquering Arsenal. 

If you don't know Arthur's career stats you can look them up on Wikipedia, but to summarise, he played around 80 games for Arsenal winning one league championship medal. He was actually better known as a cricketer who opened the batting for Gloucestershire and England. The last of the double internationals playing for his country at both football and cricket – his enduring claim to fame is a very handy fact that sometimes pops up in quiz nights!

I told Arthur that I'd just missed seeing him play for Arsenal having started going to matches in the mid 50s with my dad and then in turn taking my own sons. He seemed to like the idea of generations of Arsenal fans.

This conversation would have been around 1999 and he told me that he'd recently been invited to Highbury and had taken his grandson up to show him around. When they entered the dressing room he'd made straight for his old peg which was now occupied by Patrick Vieira's shirt. Arthur was invited back to Highbury to take part in parades of former players including the one before the final game at Highbury.

In later life Arthur worked as a postman and I used to see him occasionally riding his bike around Clifton as I drove to work. At that time, I was a lecturer at Bristol University but I had left Bristol by the time the University honoured him with an MA in 2002.

Arthur died in 2007 around the same time as Alan Ball and I attended the next home match when a minute's silence was held in memory of both players.

If you’re looking to learn more about Arthur Milton’s life, Brian Glanville wrote a splendid obituary for the Guardian which can be viewed here

Reader Comments (1)

Fabulous reading.

A short piece that somehow still contains so much emotion.

Well done

November 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTerry
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