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GCR Books

Andrew Neil: joined and left Arsenal on 13 March

By Tony Attwood

Andrew Neil joined Arsenal from Brighton & Hove Albion for £3,000 on March 13 1924.

He was born in Kilmarnock on 18 November 1892 and died in 1941 – sadly I don’t have the date or knowledge of why he died so young.

He played for Kilmarnock, Galston, Stevenston United, and Brighton and Hove Albion before moving to Arsenal on March 13 1924.

Galston were an East Ayrshire club who played in the Scottish Football Union, although around the time Andrew was joining Arsenal they were in the Third Division of the Scottish League.   Stevenston United played in north Ayrshire.

Quite what made a man who had lived his whole life in Ayrshire suddenly turn up in Brighton, I have no idea, but it is one of those odd facts that makes the search of players who played for Arsenal so interesting.

He played both inside left and inside right for Arsenal, and made his debut for Arsenal in a 2-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest two days after signing.  Neil played the remainder of the season and scored twice before appearing 16 times in the 1924/25 campaign.

Andrew’s  final season at the Club (the first under Chapman) proved to be his best with 27 appearances and six goals.

Neil returned to Brighton exactly two years to the day after he signed for Arsenal, March 13 1926.  He later moved on to QPR and then retired from football in 1930 – my guess would be returning to Ayrshire, but there is no evidence to hand.  He died at the tragically early age of 48.

Season Games Goals Manager
1923/4 11 at no 8 2 Knighton
1924/5 16 at no 8 2 Knighton
1925/6 27 at no 10 6 Chapman

Chapman used Neil from the start of his first season, and he was a regular in the side, until just before he was sold.  It took Chapman until 1929 to find the number 10 that he really wanted.  That year he introduced Alex James.

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