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GCR Books

John Snedden, one of Arsenal’s forgotten players of the 1960s

by Tony Attwood

John Snedden was born in Bonnybridge on 3 February 1942 and played for Arsenal over six seasons in a short career that was blighted by injury.

In October 1958 he joined as an amateur from a junior Scottish club, but where there is mention of it there is disagreement as to the correct name – I’d be glad to know which club it was.  This is a record of him playing for Scottish schoolboys.

Turning pro a few months after joining he started his career on 16 January 1960 in a game away to Tottenham, his only game of that season.

It seems a most curious thing – to come in and just play the biggest game in front of around 59,000 people and then drop out, but then John had the misfortune to be an Arsenal player under Swindin and Wright.

Season Lge Games Goals Manager
1959/60 1 0 Swindin
1960/61 23 0 Swindin
1961/62 15 0 Swindin
1962/63 27 0 Wright
1963/64 14 0 Wright
1964/65 3 0 Wright
Total 83 0  

John played centre half in that game and to give a flavour of the selection chaos that existed in 1959/60 we need just consider the centre half situation itself.  In the first match of the season Mel Charles was at number five.  He played 30 games that season for Arsenal, but only once more at centre half.  Bill Dodgin also played 30 games – all at centre half.  Tommy Docherty played at centre half too.  By the time we got to the Tottenham game half the team that had played at the start of the season were not in the side and John was thrown into the fray.  Arsenal ended up 13th that season.

The following season John was in the starting line up at the start of the season as he was for the next three seasons but injuries always forced him out.  He even started the first two games of the 1964/5 season – but again the body could not cope with the rough and tumble of footballing at that time.

So he finished with 83 league games and no trophies and moved on.

1959–1965 Arsenal 83 0
1965–1966 Charlton Athletic 20 0
1966–1968 Orient 27 3
1967–1968 Halifax Town 5 0
1968 Port Elizabeth City
1968 Addington, Durban, SA
Total 135 3

He joined Charlton Athletic for £150,000 in March 1965 and towards the end of his career went to South Africa.  But he finished played at the age of 25 and there is an internet report that he married a lady from West Germany and moved there with her.  Other than that I know nothing of him, and would be grateful for any other information.

The books…

The sites from the same team…

10 comments to John Snedden, one of Arsenal’s forgotten players of the 1960s

  • Mike

    John Snedden (that’s Snedden with two E’s) actually played his 2nd game just two days later in
    the F.A. Cup defeat v. Rotherham.

    Though he was not yet 18, George Swindin had a horrid injury list and had to try him a little prematurely. The “selection chaos” was in no way attributable to Swindin.

    It’s true that Snedden, a sturdy 6ft and 14st 3lb, was twice out with serious injuries. But what actually led to his exclusion and departure were the development of Terry Neill and David Court and the signing of Ian Ure and Frank McLintock. (Presumably the fee for Snedden was £15,000, rather than £150,000 !)

  • Taylor gavin

    He is my great uncle if you want to know any more about him

  • Gavin – I would love to know more – would you like to write an article for us about John’s life and work?

  • sandra tegg

    My father isEdward Sneddon his Mother’s Name was Edith and his father’s name was Robert , he told us that his brothers Son played for Arse
    nal I am under correction, but I believe, my Father’s brother’s name was a John sneddon

  • john hoy

    I remember him well,a big burly centre half, I think Mel Charles was in the team too.

  • Hugh Gavin

    John signed from Bonnybridge Rose When he was 17. He married Ingrid Sauer from Germany they clebrated their Golden Wedding in 2014. John was in the parade of legends on the pitch last day at Highbury. He has lived in Germany for over 50 years. He has two boys and grandchildren. He is my uncle.

  • Hugh very many thanks for the update. It is much appreciated

  • Bill Randall

    I saw Snedden play for Arsenal against Spurs on 23 December 1961. He had a blinder and marked Jimmy Greaves out of the game, which Arsenal won 2-1. I expected great things to follow, but his career petered out. On that day he looked like the genuine article.

  • Gary B

    I remember watching him play during his short time at Charlton Athletic during the mid 60’s. He certainly strengthened our defense and I would confidently describe as being one of our more talented players. I and many other fans at The Valley were surprised and sad to see him go.

  • Bernie Davenport

    John Sneddon played in a 4-4 drawer at the Spurs under Billy Wrights regime Vic Groves being captain,Joe Baker was injured and David Court deputised.He looked good stood up to well to the drama,often wonder if Bertie Mee/Dave Sexton/Don Howe period would have made him one of the greats,

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