It is with deep regret that we announce the death of former chairman Peter Hill-Wood, at the age of 82.
Born in Kensington, London on February 25, 1936, Peter was educated at Eton College, where he was a schoolmate and lifelong friend of former Arsenal director Sir Roger Gibbs, who sadly also passed away this year.
Peter served in the Coldstream Guards, attaining the rank of lieutenant and, after leaving the Guards, embarked on a highly successful career in the banking industry, rising to become vice-chairman of Hambros Bank and fulfilling a number of directorships within the industry.
Peter joined the Arsenal board in August 1962 and became chairman of Arsenal Football Club in June 1982, following the death of his father Denis. He remained in position until June 2013, when ill health dictated he stepped down.
During his time at the helm, the club enjoyed unparalleled success. Early in Peter’s tenure he presided over the appointment of George Graham as manager and a subsequent, trophy-laden spell that incorporated two league titles, the FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup.
That success was followed by the remarkable era of Arsène Wenger, appointed by Peter and the board of directors to some surprise from the footballing world in 1996.
Wenger went on to redefine the club and the game in this country, winning three Premier League titles and four FA Cups while Peter was chairman, including that most remarkable of achievements, the unbeaten season in 2003/04.
Peter, who was a key part of the formation of the Premier League in 1992, was immensely proud of our successes on the pitch but equally those off it, most notably the move from Highbury to Emirates. He was instrumental in facilitating our smooth relocation during what was perhaps the most transformative period in the club’s existence.
As chairman, Peter continued a family tradition dating back decades to when his grandfather, Sir Samuel Hill-Wood, had assumed the position. From a famous sporting family in Derbyshire, Sir Samuel had been chairman at Glossop North End and – like his four sons – played professional cricket for Derbyshire before relocating to London and becoming involved with Arsenal.
Chairman from 1927 until stepping down in 1936, having witnessed the club win their first ever major trophies – four league titles and two FA Cups – under Herbert Chapman and George Allison, Sir Samuel later returned to the position at the start of World War 2, guiding the club through turbulent times until his death in 1949.
After the chairmanship passed on to Sir Bracewell Smith for 12 years, Samuel’s son – Peter’s father – Denis, took the reins. Again, periods of great success occurred under the Hill-Wood watch as Denis and his board of directors oversaw our first European trophy, the European Fairs Cup, our first league and cup double and further success – notably in the FA Cup – later in his tenure.
As we celebrate the unique achievement of 100 consecutive years in the top flight this season, the Hill-Wood family were at the helm for the lion’s share of this special century, a testament to their tenacity and judgment in ensuring we have remained a significant force in English football for so long.
Peter and his family’s influence on the club cannot be overstated, but at this most difficult time for his family and friends, it is Peter the man who we remember with great fondness. Our thoughts are with his wife Sally and his children Sarah, Julian and Charles.
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