By Tony Attwood
Peter Edwin Storey was one of the key players in the Mee era – he came into the first team a year before Mee arrived and left a year after Mee met. He is a man who, perhaps almost more than anyone else in the team, I would want to say thank you for all the memories. I’ll try and explain why.
He joined Arsenal as an apprentice player in 1961, turned pro in 1962. Here’s the timeline…
If you know about Arsenal’s first double you know about Peter Storey, how tough he was, how he had no nerves, how he scored both goals in the draw with Stoke City in the 1971 FA Cup Semi-Final…
He started out playing either both right and left back, making his debut appearance for the first team in October 1965. He then kept his place alternating between number 2 and 3 on the pitch as needed.
In fact the Double season of 1970/1 was the first in which he played as midfield, wearing either the number 4 or 8 shirt – although effectively he was throughout the remainder of his career the defensive midfielder, winning the ball, moving it forwards.
He played in both the League Cup defeats before getting the three medals of Mee’s era. He also played his first game for England in the Double year (at right back) and played 19 times, taking over from another hard man: Stiles.
In fact, Peter made more England appearances than any of the other double winning team.
He played one season for Terry Neill taking him to 501 first team appearances in the league and cups, before going to Fulham for £10,000. He played one season there before retiring.
Unusually for a footballer, Peter’s autobiography is quite readable and interesting. Called “True Storey‘s; My life and crimes as a football hatchet man,” it is interesting because it does not lead to the suggestion that Peter was a violent crook, which is the story usually told.
Rather he suggests he was a fairly ordinary lad, on the tough side of the line, but not exceptional, whose life has been made up for him by the media, interested as always only in today’s sales, not today’s truth.
The revelations are interesting therefore because they are so unexpected – like the fact that he shared a bungalow with Terry Neill.
In football terms he talks about his approach to the contact sport – and it reminded me at once of the advice I was given as a not particularly strong or big lad growing up on the streets of Tottenham in the 1950s. “The first time you hit him, give me everything you have – your most powerful hit ever. If he doesn’t go down, then run as fast as you can.” Good advice – and Peter simply applied it to the pitch, staying as close to the laws of the game as possible.
What the book does is make Peter Storey a likeable guy – which is quite something since it seems that after retirement he ran an extremely dodgy pub, and was arrested for pornography smuggling offences, and for his involvement in a counterfeit gold scam, and running a brothel. He was also it seems friends with one of the Great Train Robbery gang
From what I can gather he was fined £700 for running the brothel in Leyton High Street (Leyton High Street of all places) and got three years in prison various things including car theft, the gold half sovereign scam and the like.
I am not too sure where Peter Storey is now – the current word is he lives in France and has two sons who are regulars at the Emirates.
He must know, I am sure, that for those of us who were there, he was a great hero, a man on whom we could all depend, the man who no matter what would never let Arsenal down, and never let the fans down. That, surely is worth everything.
Peter Storey, for everything you gave us during those years, thank you.
Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football. New info on publication date. Updated information here
When Arsenal and Fulham were within moments of merging into one club… full details in “Making the Arsenal”
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