Arthur Milton had a relatively unremarkable career at Arsenal but, at the same time, he was one of the most remarkable men ever to pull on a red and white shirt.
Until his death on Wednesday aged 79, he was the last living person to have represented England at cricket and football. He made his bow for the soccer side after only 12 games for Arsenal. The winger had joined the Club as an amateur in 1945 and, following his National Service, played mainly for the Reserves until making his debut on March 10, 1951 against Aston Villa. His only England cap came in a 2-2 draw with Austria on November 28 the same year. He went on to play 84 games for Arsenal, scoring 21 goals and helping the Club lift the League title in 1952/53.
He moved to Bristol City in 1955 and retired altogether that summer to concentrate on cricket. He represented Gloucestershire for 26 years and captained the side in 1968. He won six England caps as an opening batsman between 1958 and 1959, a run that included an unbeaten 104 in his debut against New Zealand. In that game he also became the first English player to be on the pitch throughout a Test match.
He retired from first-class cricket in 1974 aged 46 with 32,150 runs and a then record 758 slip catches. He stayed in the game, coaching Oxford University, and then scouted for the England selectors.
Wishing to remain active, he took a job as postman one Christmas time. He enjoyed the social side of the job so much he later went full time until compulsory retirement at 60. However Arthur was not ready to give up his 'round' so, at pensionable age, he delivered papers for another 14 years.
I had the privilege to interview Arthur at his house two summers ago as part of the build-up to Highbury's "Final Salute" season. It was a humbling experience. He was a man of stunning sporting talent (he was an exceptional rugby fly-half as well by the way) whose 'marketable' value these days would be stratospheric. However he had little time for his own achievements. "I just wanted to play sport with my mates," he said.
Arthur remained close to Arsenal and played a full part in the celebrations before and after the Wigan game last season. He even got a look at Emirates Stadium as it neared completion. However perhaps just as worthy was the honorary degree awarded to him by Bristol University in 2002.
Arthur Milton was a truly great sportsman but the esteem in which he was held by his community demonstrated he was a great man as well.
Richard ClarkeArthur Milton's Arsenal Appearances (Goals) Season League FA Cup League Cup Europe 1950-1 1 - - - 1951-2 20 (5) 1 (1) - - 1952-3 25 (7) 4 (1) - - 1953-4 21 (3) 2 (1) - - 1954-5 8 (3) 2 - - Total 75 (18) 9 (3) - -
Arthur at Highbury's farewell
Club photocall 1952
Arthur in action v Newcastle Utd, 1952
Batting v New Zealand in 1958
Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 26 Apr 2007