Arsenal Football Club is saddened to hear of the death of former player and scout Joe Haverty at the weekend, aged 72.
The diminutive left-winger was already an Irish youth international before he came to the Club from St Patrick’s Athletic in July 1954.
He made his debut at Everton the following August, the same day as Jimmy Bloomfield, but would only become a proper fans’ favourite in the 1956/57 campaign. Haverty was famed for his joyful personality and dribbling skills. At just 5ft 3ins, he was dubbed “Little Joe” after a character from TV’s Bonanza.
Haverty also played for the London XI in the first Inter-Cities Cup campaign in 1957/58, scoring the crucial away goal in the 2-1 defeat at Lausanne Sports in the Semi-Final first leg. Goals from Tottenham’s Jimmy Greaves and Arsenal’s Cliff Holton ensured the team from the capital made the Final, however Haverty would not be involved in the 6-1 defeat to Barcelona in the two-legged showpiece tie.
Back trouble would curtail his progression at Highbury. He contributed 37 appearances and eight goals in season 1959/60 but was transferred to Blackburn at the start of the 1961/62 campaign. He later represented Millwall, Celtic, Bristol Rovers, Shelbourne, Shamrock Rovers and, in the nascent North American Soccer League, Chicago Spurs and Kansas City Spurs. He also won 32 full caps for Ireland between 1956 and 1967.
He returned to Ireland after his playing days were over and rekindled his relationship with Arsenal by scouting for the Club.
Liam Brady, Head of Youth Development, remembers: “Joe had a long time in the game but he had his last six or seven years in Ireland.
“I used to go and watch him in the League of Ireland and the Irish team from when I was about 10 to when I went to Arsenal at 15. He played a long time for the international team. From his Arsenal days right up almost to the 70s.
Older fans always tell me what a crowd-pleasing player [he was] when he was at Highbury. Joe was an old-fashioned winger, small in stature but very quick. He would take on players, get past them and get crosses in.
“He really enjoyed his time at Arsenal and constantly talked about it. He did some work for the Club prior to me coming back. But I asked him to do some more and he was delighted to do that. He was an excellent scout for us.
“Joe and our other Irish scout, Bill Darby, were instrumental in us getting Anthony Stokes when there was a real scramble on.
“We all are sad at this news because he was a bubbly character right until the end.”
Haverty was inaugurated into the Football Association of Ireland’s Hall of Fame in 2000. He leaves a wife and three daughters.
The thoughts of everyone at Arsenal Football Club are with his family and friends at this sad time.
|Born||February 17, 1936. Dublin, Republic of Ireland|
|Arsenal Career||1954 - 1961|
|Arsenal Debut||Everton 1-0 Arsenal (Division One) August 25, 1954|
|Arsenal League Appearances||114 (25 goals)|
|Arsenal FA Cup Appearances||8 (1 goal)|
|Total Arsenal Appearances||122 (26 goals)|