History

Bertie Mee is appointed as manager

Bertie Mee

More than a few eyebrows were raised when Bertie Mee was appointed as Arsenal manager in 1966.

He had done sterling work as the Club's physiotherapist, but was he really the man to replace Billy Wright? The answer was an unequivocal yes.

Quite simply Mee restored Arsenal to the highest echelons of the European game. He led the Gunners to their first European trophy - the 1970 Fairs Cup - and will always be remembered for masterminding the Double triumph of 1970/71.

"Quite simply Mee restored Arsenal to the highest echelons of the European game. He led the Gunners to their first European trophy - the 1970 Fairs Cup - and will always be remembered for masterminding the Double triumph of 1970/71."

Coaching was never Mee's forte and he wisely delegated those duties to Dave Sexton and, later, Don Howe. But Mee instilled discipline; his attention to detail earned him respect and raised standards at Highbury on and off the pitch.

Mee joined Arsenal as physiotherapist in 1960, succeeding Billy Milne. Six years later he would follow in the footsteps of a much more famous Billy - former England captain Wright. Arsenal, without a trophy since 1953, were in the doldrums.

Mee changed all that. Drawing largely on a new generation of talent which had lifted the Youth Cup in 1966, the new boss led his team to successive League Cup Finals in 1968 and 1969. Both were lost, but Arsenal were back in contention for trophies.

In 1970, they finally got their hands on one. Trailing Anderlecht 3-0 in the first leg of the Fairs Cup Final, Arsenal threw themselves a lifeline with Ray Kennedy's late away goal. On a momentous night at Highbury, Mee's team completed the comeback to win 4-3 on aggregate and lift the Club's first European trophy - and their first trophy of any kind for 17 years.

That was a proud moment for Mee but his finest hour was another year away as Arsenal won the fabled Double. The league title was clinched with a 1-0 win at Tottenham; five days later Charlie George's extra-time strike secured a 2-1 win against Liverpool in the FA Cup Final.

Further success eluded Mee and critics argue he allowed that Double side to break up too quickly. But Mee, who died in 2001 aged 82, will always have a place among the pantheon of Arsenal greats. He brought the good times back to Highbury.

01:42

A Day In Time - June 1966

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