Focus On; George Armstrong

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Armstrong was born in Kipling Avenue, Hebburn, County Durham. After leaving school he took up an apprenticeship as an electrician, at Hawthorne Leslie and played works football with his older brothers. He had an unsuccessful trial with Grimsby Town, and was on the books of Newcastle United as an amateur.

The Newcastle United coaching staff fell out with Armstrong following a mix up which resulted in Armstrong missing one game, consequentially as a result of the fall out, the stubborn Newcastle staff would rarely pick him. He signed for Arsenal early in the 1961–62 season.

Armstrong arrived at Highbury as an inside forward but was soon switched to the wing. He made his senior debut while still only 17, against Blackpool on 24 February 1962 in a match that Arsenal won 1–0. Although he started out as understudy to Johnny MacLeod and Alan Skirton, by the 1963–64 season he had become a regular in the side, and in 1964–65 he missed only two matches.

Over time Armstrong became one of Arsenal’s most consistent players, who was noted for the quality and accuracy of his crossing and corner kicks, as well as for his tireless running along the wing. He primarily played on the left, but was also effective on the right. Signed by George Swindin but maturing under Billy Wright’s management, he was one of several players from the Wright era such as Jon Sammels and Peter Storey who became an integral part of successor Bertie Mee’s Arsenal side.

After losing two successive League Cup finals, in 1967–68 and 1968–69, Armstrong was instrumental in the Gunners winning the 1969–70 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, and was voted Arsenal’s Player of the Year for 1970.[11] He played in every match the following season as Arsenal completed the League and FA Cup double,[12] and according to the club’s website, “it was estimated that [he] had a hand in more than half of the goals scored in the Double season”. These included Ray Kennedy’s winning header in the last match of the season, against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, that won Arsenal the League title.

Armstrong remained with the club through the 1970s, as Arsenal failed to win any further trophies after their Double win; he played at least thirty matches in each season he was at the club during that decade. However, after falling out with Mee’s successor, Terry Neill, he moved to Leicester City in September 1977 for £15,000. He played only 14 League matches in his single season with the Foxes, and finished his career in England with Stockport County. In 1980-81 he was the player-manager for Mjølner, Norway, playing his last match against Bodø/Glimt on 5 July 1981.

Having spent fifteen full seasons at Arsenal, most of them as an ever-present, Armstrong set an all-time club record for appearances – 621 competitive first-team appearances, which included exactly 500 in the league; his record has since been overtaken only by David O’Leary and Tony Adams. He also scored 68 goals for Arsenal. His profile on the club’s website suggests he was “one of the most accomplished players never to have won a full cap” for England, despite being capped at youth level and five times for the under-23 team; this was attributed to England manager Alf Ramsey’s policy of not using wingers


  • Full Name: George Armstrong
  • Position: Winger
  • Date of Birth: 09.08.1944
  • Birthplace: Hebburn
  • Nation: England
  • Caps: –
  • Goals: –
  • Club Career: Arsenal
  • Period: 1961-1977
    • League Games, 621
    • League Goals, 68
    • Previous Club: N/A
      • Transfer Fee: N/A
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