Football historian LEIGH EDWARDS profiles every Arsenal player from 60 post-war League seasons.

Young forward Tommy Baldwin scored Arsenal's first-ever goal in the League Cup against Gillingham in September 1966. Signing professional for the Gunners in December 1962, he made his league debut in the 3-0 win over Birmingham City in April 1965 and netted seven times in 17 First Division games before joining Chelsea as part of the George Graham deal in September 1966. Gaining England U-23 honours, 'Sponge' helped them win the FA Cup in 1970, the ECWC in 1971 and was a League Cup finalist in 1972. Loaned to Manchester United, he finished with Brentford and is now a keen golfer living in Fulham.

England international midfielder Alan Ball gained 19 caps whilst at Arsenal. Initially with Blackpool, he featured in England's World Cup Final triumph shortly before joining Everton for £110,000 in August 1966 and starred in their 1969/70 League Championship success. He moved to Arsenal for £220,000 in December 1971 and was an FA Cup finalist that season, netting 45 goals in 177 league games before being sold to Southampton for £60,000 in December 1976. Skippering them to promotion in 1977/78, he had a spell as Blackpool's player-boss, then managed Portsmouth, Stoke, Exeter, Saints and Manchester City.

Welsh international left-back Walley Barnes was an influential figure in Arsenal's 1947/48 League Championship success. A former Southampton amateur, he joined the Gunners in September 1943 and made his league debut in the 2-0 defeat at Preston in November 1946. He starred in Arsenal's 1950 FA Cup Final triumph and was a finalist again in 1952 when a knee injury sidelined him for the following season. Captain of club and country, he scored 11 goals in 267 First Division games before retiring in September 1955, then was a football adviser for the BBC. He died in London in September 1975. 

Former England Youth goalkeeper Geoff Barnett played for Arsenal in the 1972 FA Cup final. Signing professional for Everton in May 1964, he made his league debut in their 2-0 victory at home to Sunderland in December 1965 but had limited top-flight opportunities behind Gordon West and moved to Highbury for £35,000 in October 1969. He understudied Bob Wilson as Arsenal won the 'double' in 1970/71 and played 39 league games before joining Minnesota Kicks in February 1976, featuring in that year's NASL Soccer Bowl. Later coaching Minnesota, he was a publican in Marple before settling back in the United States.

Inside-forward John Barnwell gained England U-23 recognition whilst at Arsenal. Previously with Bishop Auckland, he signed professional at Highbury in November 1956 and made his league debut in Arsenal's 1-0 defeat at Sunderland five months later. He netted 23 goals in 138 First Division games before being sold to Nottingham Forest for £30,000 in March 1964, starring as they were League Championship runners-up in 1966/67. Moving to Sheffield United in April 1970, he coached Hereford before managing Peterborough, Wolves, Notts County and Walsall. He is now chief executive of the League Managers' Association.

Winger Graham Barrett was capped by Republic of Ireland whilst at Arsenal. Signing professional at Highbury in October 1998, he made his Premiership debut as a substitute in the Gunners' 3-0 victory at Leicester City in December 1999 and also featured as a substitute in the 4-1 win over Sunderland the following month. He helped Arsenal win the FA Youth Cup in 2000 and gained experience on loan to Bristol Rovers, Crewe Alexandra, Colchester United and Brighton prior to joining Coventry City in July 2003. Loaned to Sheffield Wednesday and Livingston, he was released by Sky Blues this summer.

Goalkeeper Paul Barron understudied Pat Jennings whilst at Arsenal. He developed with Welling United, Wycombe Wanderers and Slough Town prior to joining Plymouth Argyle in July 1976. Terry Neill paid £70,000 for him in July 1978 and he made eight First Division appearances for Arsenal before moving to Crystal Palace as part of the Kenny Sansom deal in August 1980. He joined West Brom in December 1982 and was ever-present in 1983/84, then helped QPR reach the 1986 Milk Cup Final and played for Welling again. He has since been a goalkeeping coach with Birmingham, Aston Villa and now Middlesbrough.

Goalkeeper Vince Bartram gained Premiership experience with Arsenal as David Seaman's understudy. Signing professional for Wolves in August 1985, he made his League debut in their first-ever Fourth Division game a year later and joined AFC Bournemouth for £65,000 in July 1991 as Gerry Peyton's replacement. He was ever-present in 1991/92 and moved to Highbury for £400,000 in August 1994. Making 11 Premiership appearances for Arsenal, he reunited with Tony Pulis at Gillingham in March 1998 and helped them win promotion in 1999/2000. He has since become a summariser for BBC Radio Kent.

Young right-back Brendon Batson understudied Pat Rice whilst at Arsenal. Signing professional for the Gunners in January 1971, he made his league debut in the 2-0 defeat at Newcastle United in March 1972 and played ten First Division games prior to joining Cambridge United in January 1974. He starred in their 1976/77 Fourth Division title triumph and followed Ron Atkinson to West Brom in February 1978. The England B international featured in three UEFA Cup campaigns and when a knee injury ended his playing career he became PFA deputy chief executive. He then rejoined West Brom for a spell as chief executive.

England Under-21 striker David Bentley featured in Arsenal's record-breaking 2003/04 Premiership title campaign. A former trainee at Highbury, he turned professional in September 2001 and made his solitary Premiership appearance in Arsenal's 1-1 draw at Portsmouth in May 2004. He had scored a spectacular goal in that season's 4-1 FA Cup fourth round victory over Middlesbrough and was a Carling Cup semi-finalist against the same opponents. Loaned to newly promoted Norwich City for the 2004/05 campaign, he joined Blackburn Rovers initially on loan in August 2005 and helped them qualify for the UEFA Cup last season.

World class Dutch international striker Dennis Bergkamp was Footballer of the Year and PFA Player of the Year when Arsenal won the 'double' in 1997/98. Initially with Ajax, he helped them achieve Dutch League and Cup success, also featuring in their 1987 ECWC and 1992 UEFA Cup final triumphs. He joined Inter Milan in June 1993 and was a UEFA Cup winner again in 1994, moving to Highbury for £7,500,000 in July 1995. Starring as Arsenal also won the 'double' in 2001/02, the Premiership title in 2003/04 and FA Cup in 2003 and 2005, he netted 87 goals in 315 Premiership games and had a testimonial last month.

England Amateur international centre-forward Tony Biggs understudied David Herd whilst at Arsenal. A former Brentford junior, he starred for Hounslow before signing professional at Highbury in August 1956. He was a prolific goalscorer in the reserves and made his league debut in Arsenal's 2-1 victory at Wolves in April 1958. His solitary goal in four First Division games clinched a 1-1 draw at home to Wolves six months later and he moved to Leyton Orient as part of the Len Julians deal in December 1958, then played in the Southern League for Guildford, Hereford and Folkestone. Now living in Seaford in retirement. 


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22 Aug 2006