Steve Williams

Steve Williams

During his four-year spell at the Club it was often said that when Steve Williams played, invariably Arsenal would do too.

Williams was a local boy, a fan, and was bought to Highbury late in 1984 from Southampton by the then manager Don Howe. He made his debut against Tottenham on the first day of 1985 and went onto establish himself as a regular that season.

Injury hampered his second season at Arsenal but when George Graham arrived a year later Williams flourished, playing some of the best football of his career. He finished the campaign with a League Cup winner's medal after Liverpool were defeated at Wembley.

From the outset, Williams' unerring ability to pick out passes made him a Highbury favourite. He had guile and artistry but, equally, was uncompromising in the tackle. That could lead to run-ins with referees  and opponents but, when Williams' skills were to the fore, they were a joy to behold.

'Willow' was especially effective in a central-right position, linking with David Rocastle and Viv Anderson to often devastating effect. He could transform a patient, cul-de-sac of a move into a goal-scoring opportunity, at his best, was one of the finest distributors of the ball in country. 

International recognition duly came and Williams went onto win six caps for England, all earned while at the Club. In July 1998, at the age of 30, he sought pastures new and moved to Kenilworth Road before finishing at Exeter City under Alan Ball.

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