Denis Clapton

Denis Clapton may not have reached the same heights as elder brother Danny - but he will always have a place in Arsenal history.

The siblings were only the third and most recent brothers to appear on the pitch at the same time for Arsenal. The fixture was a 1-1 draw at Blackpool in November 1960 but it proved to be the forward's final league appearance for the Club after four years in north London.

Clapton joined as an amateur in August 1957 and turned professional one year later before making his senior debut in a friendly against Reading.

While brother Danny played 225 times for the Gunners in a memorable nine-year career, Denis managed only four appearances during his spell at Highbury.

He won two England youth caps in 1958 and was a regular in the Football Combination, where he scored 16 goals in 54 appearances.

But with first-team opportunities limited, Clapton transferred to Northampton Town in August 1961.


"I was fortunate enough to play some of my junior football alongside Dinny, he was never Denis to his friends, and he was the most talented player I've ever seen; arguably a better potential than elder brothers Les and Danny. We tend to forget that at a very young age he was given a game at centre forward ahead of Mel Charles who at the time was Arsenal's most expensive signing. (37,500 quid if my memory is still functional.) Although I don't claim to know the full story of his Arsenal demise I believe it was a result of bad team management rather than lack of player ability. In short we had a manager incapable of dealing with the hot headedness of youth. Had we had a manager with greater people skills at the time Dinny could have been as good as John Charles who at that time was playing for Juventus in Serie A. I will always regard Denis Clapton as an opportunity lost for Arsenal; a player we deserved to see develop to his full potential and were denied the chance. His close ball control with either foot or head was a few light years ahead of many players that have had a long career with the team. In front of goal he could be as sharp as Ian Wright in his heyday and this was a young man who was just developing."
David McCarthy, Sydney, Australia

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