This is part of the continuing series of articles looking back at Arsenal from the perspective of the managers. There is an index to the series at “The Managers”
At the moment we are currently looking at the Terry Neill era, you can see exactly how Terry Neill got on as a manager from these two pieces…
- Arsenal managers analysed by top four finishes
- Arsenal’s managers analysed by history, games and success
We’re looking here at the players that Terry Neill brought through as he refreshed the team after the downturn in the latter part of the Bertie Mee era.
Graham Rix joined Arsenal in 1974 while Bertie Mee was still manager, and turned pro in 1975. His first ever match for Arsenal was against Leicester on 2 April 1977. It was a rather curious 3-0 win, for Graham scored the first and David O’Leary scored the other two. The match marked the end of an awful 11 match run without a victory – a run which had included seven successive defeats. That run not only saw the entry of Rix but also David Price and Willie Young.
It is sometimes suggested that Rix replaced the long time player George Armstrong, but this is not how it started – for in this first season both players were on the pitch. It was in fact a time of chopping and changing.
It was only in the next season – 1977-78 that Rix replaced Armstrong, giving Arsenal a new attacking midfield and forward line of Brady McDonald Stapleton and Rix – with Sunderland joining the quartet in November of that season.
This was in fact the team that got to the League Cup semi-final and FA Cup final in 1978.
Graham Rix was a regular in the team until 1984, playing just 18 games in 1984/5, returning for 38 games the following season, and then having two years of occasional games, before ending in 1988 having played 388 league games and scoring 41 goals (464 games including cup matches).
He played in the three FA Cup finals (putting in the cross for Sunderland to score the winner against Man U), and in the Cup Winners’ Cup final against Valencia, where his missed penalty kick lost Arsenal the game.
His highest position in the league was 3rd in 1981. In 1983 he became club captain but was unable to claim any trophies. During the 1980s he also played for England including in the 1982 World Cup.
After he was replaced by Martin Hayes, Graham Rix moved to Brentford on loan and then surprisingly (for the era) went to Caen in France, followed by Le Havre and then Dundee. He retired in 1993 from playing. I must admit I would love to know what was behind the Caen move – I am sure it is common knowledge and in a book somewhere, but I just haven’t seen it.
After retiring from playing Graham went to Chelsea where he became youth team coach, and also played once in an end of season game in 1995 against Arsenal (Chelsea having run out of players at the time). When Ruud Gullit became manager Rix became assistant in 1996 and he stayed there during the Vialli reign, when Chelsea won the FA Cup, League Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup.
However in March 1999, Graham Rix was found guilty of having sex with a 15 year old girl, and was sentenced to a year in prison. The FA banned him from working with under 16 year olds. Chelsea however did take him back, and he stayed there until 2000 when Vialli left the club. He then managed Portsmouth in 2001/2 and Oxford United (2004) which was undoubtedly the lowest point in his managerial career. In November 2005 he returned to Scotland as manager of Hearts who were run by Vladimir Romanov – a man who was deeply involved in the day to day running of the club and who got through a whole host of managers. After four months Rix left.
To the best of my knowledge he now works at the Glenn Hoddle Academy in Spain along with Nigel Spackman, Dave Beasant and Enrique Caballero. The Academy works to help young players who have been rejected by their clubs get back into football, and also runs (or ran, sorry I am not sure) Jerez Industrial – a club that was bankrupt, and which the Academy took over.
The Academy has recently launched GHA Arabia which is creating ways for young players in Dubai to progress in football via the Initiative for the Development of Health, Physical Education and School Sports and the Dubai Educational Zone. There is also a partnership with Cape United FC in South Africa.
The Updated Database of Arsenal Anniversaries
How it all began: the book that re-writes Arsenal’s history
When Arsenal almost died. The story of 1910: “Making the Arsenal”
- 23 years ago. Liverpool 0 Arsenal 2. The day we won the league.
- Updated – our guide to Arsenal’s managers
- Malcolm MacDonald – Terry Neill’s first big signing
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- Steve Bould: Arsenal’s new number 2