Frank Stapleton
Frank Stapleton

Frank Stapleton

Not many players have Arsenal and Manchester United on their CV but Frank Stapleton is a member of that elite group alongside the likes of George Graham, David Herd, Viv Anderson and Brian Kidd.

The Republic of Ireland striker won the FA Cup with United in 1983 and 1985 while Arsenal were in the doldrums. But Stapleton enjoyed plenty of good times in the eight years he spent at Highbury before his transfer to Old Trafford in August 1981.

Profile

Name Frank Stapleton
Arsenal Career 1972 - 1981
Position:
Appearances 300 (297 starts, 3 as a sub)
Goals 108

A powerful centre-forward with great aerial ability, Stapleton played in three successive FA Cup Finals with Arsenal from 1978 to 1980. Two of those ended in disappointment but he scored the second goal in the famous 'Five Minute Final' triumph over - guess who? - Manchester United in 1979.

Stapleton nodded in Liam Brady's cross at Wembley on that sunny May afternoon and, although United equalised with two late goals, Alan Sunderland's winner brought the Irishman his first major honour. He had waited four years for it after making his debut against Stoke City in 1975.

Stapleton benefited more than most from the talismanic Brady's promptings in the mid to late 1970s and finished as Arsenal's leading scorer for three successive seasons from 1978. The year before, he was part of a formidable strike partnership with Malcolm Macdonald which spawned 46 goals in one campaign.

By the time Stapleton left Highbury he had plundered 108 goals in exactly 300 appearances and was already a regular for the Republic of Ireland. He went on to win 71 caps, scoring a then record 20 goals for his country. But at club level Stapleton will be remembered for his FA Cup exploits - the first man to score in the Final for two different, but very famous, clubs.