Storey signed as an apprentice at Arsenal after leaving school in 1961. As a young player he was focused on his career, and was not interested in frequenting nightclubs with his fellow apprentices. He signed professional forms in September 1962 and spent the 1962–63 season playing for the Arsenal third team in the Metropolitan League. A buildup of senior player on the books at Arsenal meant that Storey had little chance to play for the reserve team.
He made his senior debut on 30 October 1965, taking Billy McCullough’s place at left-back in a 3–1 defeat to Leicester City at Filbert Street. The Daily Telegraph reported that he had a “promising” game against a “clever” opponent in right-winger Jackie Sinclair. He retained his first team place and went on to play all of the remaining 29 games, though the season would prove to be a poor one for the “Gunners” as manager Billy Wright was sacked after dropping top-scorer Joe Baker and disillusioning the dressing room. Arsenal finished in 14th place in 1965–66, just four points above the relegation zone, and were knocked out of the FA Cup at the Third Round following a 3–0 defeat to Blackburn Rovers, who would end the season bottom of the First Division.
Storey quickly made a name for himself as a rough player early in the 1966–67 season as he injured Manchester City winger Mike Summerbee; the Daily Express reported that “Storey… is overdoing the tough guy act”. He was warned by new manager Bertie Mee not to get sent off after Storey got involved in a brawl during an FA Cup win over Gillingham. The team improved under Mee’s strict leadership, and finished the season in seventh place, cutting goals conceded to 47 from the previous season’s tally of 75. Storey started 34 league games, missing eight matches due to injury and illness. He scored his first professional goal on 22 April 1967, in a 1–1 draw with Nottingham Forest at Highbury.
Bob McNab established himself at left-back in the 1967–68 season, and so Storey was moved over to right-back. Despite being a full-back he was sometimes given the job of marking a dangerous and creative opposition player closely, and though he was never ordered to use rough play he was on these occasions told “you know what to do, Peter”. He was sent off for the first time in his career, along with Frank McLintock, in a 1–0 defeat to Burnley at Turf Moor in December 1967; despite his tough tackling he was actually dismissed for bad language. Arsenal finished the season in ninth place, but advanced past Coventry City, Reading, Blackburn Rovers, Burnley and Huddersfield Town to face Leeds United in the final of the League Cup at Wembley. Leeds won the game through a Terry Cooper volley on 20 minutes, and Arsenal barely created any chances in the game.
Arsenal reached fourth place in the 1968–69 season after conceding just 27 league goals, and advanced past Sunderland, Scunthorpe United, Liverpool, Blackpool and North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur to reach the final against Third Division side Swindon Town. Swindon won the match 3–1, with left-winger Don Rogers scoring two extra-time goals after evading the close attentions of Storey.
Their league position meant in 1968–69 that Arsenal qualified for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in the 1969–70 season, and they advanced past Glentoran (Northern Ireland), Sporting (Portugal), Rouen (France), FCM Bacău (Romania) and Ajax (Netherlands) to reach the final against Belgian club Anderlecht. Anderlecht won 3–1 at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium after their possession football controlled the entire game until substitute Ray Kennedy scored a crucial header in the 82nd minute. Arsenal turned around the tie with a 3–0 home victory to claim the club’s first trophy in 17 years. Despite their European exploits the team still struggled in England, and finished the league in 12th spot.
They defended their European trophy up until the quarter-finals, knocking out Lazio (Italy), SK Sturm Graz (Austria) and K.S.K. Beveren (Belgium), before losing to German side 1. FC Köln on away goals despite a rare goal from Storey. The First Division title race was contested largely between Arsenal and Leeds, and the “Gunners” recovered from an indifferent winter to claim nine successive victories between 2 March and 20 April and eventually they finished on 65 points, one place and one point above Leeds. The most crucial match of the campaign came against Leeds at Elland Road on 25 April, which Leeds won 1–0 after an injury-time goal from Jack Charlton. During the game Billy Bremner stamped on Storey’s face, though this was an accidental collision during a goalmouth scramble. Arsenal won the title on the final day of the season with a 1–0 win over Spurs at White Hart Lane, though Storey missed the final two league games of the season after damaging ligaments in his ankle. They secured the double in 1970–71 after winning the FA Cup, though their progress in the competition was slow, as they beat Yeovil Town, Portsmouth (in a replay) – Storey scored a penalty in both the original tie and the replay, Manchester City, Leicester City (in a replay), and then Stoke City (in a replay). Storey gave a man-of-the-match performance in the original semi-final tie against Stoke at Hillsborough, scoring two goals to rescue a 2–0 half-time deficit; with the first goal he beat Gordon Banks with a volley on the edge of the penalty area, and with the second he sent Banks the wrong way with an injury-time penalty kick. The replay at Villa Park was less dramatic, and Arsenal won the tie with a comfortable 2–0 result. In the final he was assigned to mark Liverpool’s Steve Heighway, and kept the Liverpool winger quiet until Storey was substituted for Eddie Kelly after 64 minutes. Both Heighway and Kelly scored in extra-time, but the winning goal came from “Gunners” striker Charlie George.
“In time, I became immensely proud of what Arsenal achieved in 1970–71, constantly defying the odds and coming from behind. Only special teams do the Double. One word summed us up – remorseless. We never knew when we were beaten; our powers of recovery during 90 minutes, and sometimes beyond, were immense.”
— Storey reflects on the double-winning season in his autobiography.
He helped Arsenal to get off to a solid start in defence of their title in the 1971–72 campaign, before he picked up a thigh injury which caused him to miss a few weeks of games from late September. In December, Mee spent £220,000 on Everton midfielder Alan Ball, who took Storey’s place in the first eleven for his debut on 27 December. In the new year Storey and numerous other Arsenal players confronted the club’s management after learning that Ball was paid £250 a week – more than double most of the rest of the squad. Storey returned to the first team for an FA Cup clash with Derby County on 26 February, as Eddie Kelly was out injured.The next month Arsenal lost three away league games in a row, which all but ended their chances of retaining their title. Storey was out of the team as Arsenal progressed to the quarter-finals of the European Cup – though he did feature in the Second Round victory over Swiss club Grasshopper – and he proved unable to prevent a Johan Cruyff inspired Ajax from claiming a 3–1 aggregate victory. Arsenal progressed past Swindon Town, Reading, Derby County, Orient, and Stoke City to reach the 1972 FA Cup Final. Leeds United limited Arsenal in the final and a headed goal from Allan Clarke was enough to win the cup for Leeds with a 1–0 victory.
Storey failed to pick up a winners medal in the 1972–73 season as Arsenal finished second in the league – three points behind Liverpool – and lost 2–1 to Sunderland in the FA Cup semi-finals. Arsenal had won at Anfield in February, but dropped points in the end of season run-in and ended the season with a 6–1 defeat to Leeds.
Arsenal started the 1973–74 season poorly and exited the League Cup at the hands of Third Division Tranmere Rovers before being knocked out of the FA Cup by Second Division Aston Villa. They eventually finished the league in tenth place, 20 points behind Leeds. The decline continued in the 1974–75 campaign, which ended with Arsenal finishing four places and four points above the relegation zone. Storey was mostly limited to the reserve team during the 1975–76 season, but injuries to Sammy Nelson and Eddie Kelly forced his return to the first team in the build-up to Christmas. On 8 March Storey was suspended by the club after refusing to turn up for work with the reserve team.
Mee retired in the summer of 1976, and his successor was Terry Neill, who was the Arsenal captain when Storey made his debut. He returned to the first team in spells, but the purchase of Alan Hudson in December 1976 spelt the end for Storey at Highbury. Storey played his final game for Arsenal on 29 January 1977, replacing Malcolm Macdonald as a substitute in a 3–1 victory over Coventry City in the FA Cup. He refused to train with the reserves and was again suspended by the club before accepting a free transfer to Fulham in March 1977.
- Full Name: Peter Edwin Storey
- Position: Midfield
- Date of Birth: 07.09.1945
- Birthplace: Farnham, Surrey
- Nation: England
- Club Career: Arsenal
- Period: 1962-1977
- League Games, 391
- League Goals, 9
- Previous Club: –
- Transfer Fee: –
- More Facts
- Photo Gallery
Leave a Reply