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Mel Charles, 1935-2016

Mel Charles

Everyone at the club was deeply saddened to hear of the recent death of former centre forward, Mel Charles, aged 81. 

He joined Arsenal from Swansea City in March 1959 for £42,750 - a record fee between two British clubs at the time. He played 64 games across three seasons, scoring 28 goals including hat-tricks against Blackburn Rovers in his first season and Brentford in his last.

Beset by serious knee problems throughout his time at Highbury, he moved back to his native Wales, joining Cardiff City in February 1962.

Though used as a striker by the Gunners, Mel was also an accomplished centre-half, no better example of which came during the 1958 World Cup with Wales, when Pele himself said he was “the best centre half at the tournament”. In all, Mel played 31 times for his country.

From a famous footballing family, older brother John was one of the world’s greatest strikers during a career with Wales, Leeds United, Juventus and Roma among others, and Mel’s son Jeremy also represented Wales during a long professional career.

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