Monday, 30 April 2007

Arthur Milton

Arthur at the farewell parade
Highbury Stadium, 7 May 2006
See Highbury Bye for more pictures

Arthur Milton died last Wednesday; he was the last man to have represented England at both football and cricket. Read the Guardian obituary for the details of his life - they describe him as "a spectacular outside right, possessed of fine acceleration, a classical body swerve and neat control". We could do with someone like him now . . .

He has a special place in my affections - along with 10 others *- as he played in the first Arsenal match I ever went to: v Aston Villa, 2 Jan 1954.

I can't claim to have seen much of him, though - a typical 50s fog shrouded the pitch, and this little 9-year-old could see no further than the halfway line from his perch on a teenage friend's shoulders. We were stood halfway up the Clock End terrace, and Arsenal had stuck 3 in at the North Bank end, 100 yards away, within 25 minutes, before the referee called it off as he couldn't see anything either. Most of the play was up the other end, and the only clue we had as to what was happening was when the North Bank roared every so often and the Arsenal players came trotting back to our end to line up for another kick off. I was mightily impressed, however - just think, 3 in 25 minutes - it could have been 10-0! I was hooked for life.

This abandoned match doesn't appear in any of the on-line results listings I've found, and I didn't note down the scorers in my programme . . . It was eventually re-played on 5 April, and Villa got away with a 1-1 draw. Typical.

* Kelsey; Wills, Wade; Dickson, Dodgin, Forbes; Milton, Lawton, Holton, Lishman, Roper.

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