John Matthews was born in Camden on 1 November 1955 and joined Arsenal as an apprentice in 1971 turning professional in 1973. He made his league début in the opening match of the 1974/5 season – a 1-0 away win against Leicester.
Matthews played right back while Sammy Nelson was left back. The rest of the team contained Storey, Simpson, Kelly, Armstrong, Brady, Radford, George and Kidd.
Now if you were selected to play the first match of the season within such a team you might be excused for thinking your time had come, but in fact although Matthews played 10 of the first 12 games and was moved between midfield and full back, after a draw with QPR on October 12 he was dropped from the squad until the following January.Worse in 1975/6 he broke his ankle and was out of the team for the season.
The other problem he had (other than the broken ankle) was that David Price made his first appearance in 1972/3 and went on to make 116 starts. A certain Liam Brady made his first appearance in 1973/4 and went on to make 50 starts. With established players fighting for their places, (including the move of Storey between full back and defensive midfield) and these other newcomers John Matthews effectively had arrived on the scene just at the wrong time.
Here is the year by year record…
|Total||38 (7 as sub)||2|
He was transferred to Sheffield United for £90,000 and then after four years there began to move around clubs.
He helped Plymouth get promotion to the second division during his period there.
I have no information on what happened next – if you do, please do write in.