Forgotten Arsenal Heroes – The Prolific John Radford


22nd FEBRUARY 1947




FA TROPHY 1980-81

1962-1964 – ARSENAL YOUTH


John joined The Arsenal as an apprentice in 1962 and his goalscoring abilities in the youth and reserve teams, saw him awarded with a professional contract in February 1964.

His very first senior appearance was against WHU on the 21st March 1964 and this turned out to be his only run out in that season.

The next season saw him being used slightly more, with 15 first team appearances, which included an Arsenal record at that time.

It was against Wolves on the 2nd January 1965, that he scored a hat trick thus becoming the youngest ever Arsenal player to do so at the ripe old age of 17 years and 315 days…and this record still stands today.

Another point worth making is that “Raddy” is our fourth highest goalscorer, with a tally of 149 goals and his 100th goal was scored against Leicester City on the 25th September 1971 – his 306th game for the Gunners.

Some of the illustrious fellow forwards to have played alongside him are:
Joe Baker – Brian Kidd – Ray Kennedy – George Graham and it was only when Frank Stapleton and Malcom McDonald formed their own lethal partnership, that John was seen to be a saleable player and he joined West Ham in December 1976.

But The Arsenal was always his club and his complete record as representing the club is as follows:

Appearances = 481 games – Goals scored 149:

One of the more memorable of those 149? Well, the wonderful header that gave us the overall lead against Anderlecht and the eventual Inter-Cities Fairs Cup trophy.

He was also a great team player and made many “assists” for others – cast your minds back to the double winning 1970-71 Fa Cup final. It was John who supplied both passes for Eddie Kelly and Charlie George to score the goals that beat Liverpool that day.

He also scored 21 goals in the league during that double winning season – so he certainly was a player who impacted the great years of 1969, 70 and 71.

It was after Bertie Mee decided to break up that great double winning side to early, that we fell back in the pecking order and Raddy suffered as well, as his goals started to dry up. This, along with the injuries during the 1975/76 campaign saw The Arsenal sign McDonald and promote Stapleton and this led to the parting of the ways.

Living in Saffron Walden at the time when John played and managed Bishops Stortford, I was able to see him still involved in the game he gave so much too.

He actually took Stortford to their own unique double in 1981, promotion and the FA Trophy before retiring to run The Greyhound pub in Thaxted.

His two England caps were really not a fair measurement of his skills, but The Arsenal benefited from the short sightedness of Sir Alf Ramsey regarding Raddy, as he committed himself fully to our club.

John married his Dutch born wife, Engel, in 1968 and they have two sons.

Raddy was never a “showman” centre forward, but was a dedicated, hardworking team player, who is represented at The Emirates with his name amongst the murals and an individual section along the outside walls, giving his personal stats and history.

A real Arsenal man, who helped to win us our first silverware in 17 years, John’s favourite memory of his career at our club.

Thank you for some great memories as well John, you were a superb player and part of our clubs great history – I was at the Anderlecht game, in the North Bank crowd and that night will remain with me till the day I die – Wonderful wonderful memories.


Thanks to Wikipedia – and transfermarket for information used.


  1. He was my first Arsenal hero; an incredible team player, as you say, and my MOTM in the ’71 Cup Final. Seem to remember that he scored at least one hat-trick every season for 7 consecutive seasons. Great deadpan humour whenever interviewed on TV.

  2. No one who ever seen this man lead the Asn’l attack – will forget him. He was a great player, a true gunner. One of the 70-71 heroes. I hope he is in good condition and feeling well.

  3. As a young man growing up I loved John Radford as an Arsenal player; however with his tattoos, uncommon at that time in the main stream, he was one player who looked like someone you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. At a time when the game was rougher and more physical than today, the opposition players, who went out to foul him found out how tough he was the hard way.

  4. Another interesting read and a great player who was at Arsenal during their success in the league and Europe.
    I certainly didn’t know he was our 4th highest goal scorer. I’m organising a family quiz on zoom next week and that priceless piece of information will form a question.

    1. Here is a question for you SP.
      Name the player that
      Scored 16 Goals at Highbury
      Won a Premiere League Winners Medal
      Is still playing in the Premiere League

      @Ken1845 didn’t get the answer so I had to tell him who it was.

      1. I thought it might be Ashley Young or Gareth Barry. Only because they are of a certain vintage and I’m sure they are playing- aren’t they?😬

  5. The kind I’ve always liked best – and still do. An old school heavy weight center forward. How rare today. Like Bob Latchford, or – if you excuse me – Martin Chivers. Yeah, I respect Chivers. He were the only Spur who said congrats and shook hands with any of the gunners after that 1-0 win at White Hart Lane on Monday in the double week 1971. All the other Tottenham players just ran of the pitch as fast as they could. Just like fleeing rats.

  6. One of our all time most underrated club and team players who gave his unselfish all to us for 14 years and the sort of playr who his teammates know better tah anyone else, how VALUABLE a team player he was. Just short of greatness but avery very good player and definietly an Arsenal legend. YET ANOTHER WONDERFUL READ Ken and please keep going for the long haul. You have many players still to tell us all about, even the “old fogies” like me.

    I actually wanted to change my surname by deedpoll to Radford at the time but was not old enough to defy my unwilling parents. Were BIG RADDY here and in his prime today, he would be the FIRST player on my teamsheet, bar none, if I were in charge.

    1. Jon- JR does match day hospitality at the Emirates in the Executive Boxes and I can tell you he has as much presence now as he had when playing. He was born to wear that shirt and will always be a legend for all those fortunate enough to remember him. The fact he is one of the former players whose shirt surrounds the stadium says it all

      1. Hope I Remember it right Phil, but didn’t he once, or even twice, answer fans questions after the game in the West Stand concourse while standing, on a platform, perhaps 5 or 6 years ago? Went down a storm and I was in raptures as were all Gooners there!

        1. So I believe JF- my wife had 2 Club Level seats and most games a past player would do exactly what you said JR did. I would have loved to have seen those: A proper Arsenal Man

  7. To be honest Robert, I think the spud players ran for their lives as thousands and thousands of Gooners ran onto the pitch at the final whistle – that night, WHL belonged to The Arsenal – such great memories.

    1. I guess you’re right, Ken. But Martin Chivers didn’t run. That big strong ox showed a bit of sportsmanship.

      1. I take your word for that Robert, I was too busy getting on the pitch, grabbing a handfull of WHL turf and singing until I couldn’t speak!!!!
        Coming out of hte ground was a nightmare as well, literally thousands of Gooners singing and chanting and I swear not a spud scarf anywhere – then we went and did it again just to rub their noses in it!!!!
        For Raddy see Thierry…same result, we were CHAMPIONS.

        I wish I could put into words how that night went down, but suffice it to say, we proved beyond any doubt who were and still are, the kings of North London.

    2. Can’t see the point in putting your ex players posts up Ken, they’re gone the next day, Eddie Clamp ‘s disappeared, Radford one will be gone in the morning. Don’t get a chance to see if their was a response. Wasting my time.

        1. Now there’s a thought Phil!!!

          Next up it’s Ray Kennedy and though I take your point Kenny, the Eddie Clamp article was a little obscure for most fans, having only spent ten months at the club – Raddy is getting much more feedback, as did Alan Sunderland and Cliff Bastin and they did stay up for a while.

          1. Exactly Phil, especially a negative one. Ken, like to see an article on one of our three, IMO, best strikers I’ve seen in an Arsenal shirt, the great Joe Baker, without doubt up there with Ian Wright and Thierry Henry. Joe Baker, with an astonishing goal scoring record of 100 goals in 156 games over just 4 seasons, was my idol as a kid growing up. got his autograph on many occasions, never refused any of the many kids that surrounded him when he arrived at the stadium and after meeting him later in life at the Arsenal centenary celebrations realised what an absolute Gentleman he was . Would have got many more England caps than his did if it wasn’t for his strong Scottish accent having been born in Liverpool and brought up in Scotland and also Walter Winterbottoms and Alf Ramsey’s preference for the big lump Bobby Smith which was probably the most bias selection decision of the Sixty’s

      1. Kenny, There is a lot of favouritism on this site, esp to in house writers! We can all see that, even if the Admins try to deny it. I doubt they will even try though,as it is so very obvious. Perhaps they also train these biased refs you talk about!
        The thing is some of we older ones are not aware every moment a new post goes on, as the savvy tech youngsters with smartphones are , so it takes us longer to get round to reading some of them.

        1. Jon, only seen this article for the first time and must say make you 100% right Ha Ha. Yes, I post from my computer which I get out usually just once a day unlike these youngsters stuck into their iPhones all hours of the day. I was even going to say that how the site is now reminding of Sky Sports with it’s favourite Players, Managers, Referees etc but as usual Jon you beat to it LOL

          1. I was at Raddy’s first game at Upton Park, not sure but think he deputised for the injured Joe Baker. I’ll check it online 11×11

          2. Yes,team that day. Furnell, Magill, McCullough, Neil, Ure, Simpson, Skirton, Court, Radford, Eastham, Anderson. drew 1-1

          3. Went on to manage Bishop Stortford, a team I played for in the 70’s, however many years before Radford arrived

          4. Kenny, interesting to note you played for BS – a really big, flat pitch and they used to attract fairly big crowds back then.

            Local rivals Saffron Walden and Stansted ensured a goold level of amateur football in those days – with a fair bit of money being “found” in the boots of players!!!

            I managed a local team, who played cup finals at Stortford and italways made me laugh at the difference between the home dressing room and the away one.

            Being local, I used to ensure I got there early and put all our gear, including the shirts, in the home dressing room and, at one final, I told the lads that two scouts from The Arsenal were there to run an eye over them – in actual fact they were working colleagues of mine and it didn’t work anyway as we lost the final 1-0!!!

            When I told them afterwards, I got drenched with a bucket full of cold water, we returned the next year and won the cup!!

          5. Yeah, I played under Ted Hardy who was in charge, great non league manager, wasn’t a long spell, found it too far to go for training Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. Payments weren’t illegal illegal by the mid 70’s but the late 60’s and early 70’s, shamaterism, for want of a better word is what they called it, payments used to be in a little brown envelope after a Tuesday training session, they’d moved on from slipping it in the boots. LOL

          6. KENNY so good to read you also rate the fabulous Joe Baker, also my first real hero, unless you count Jack Kelsey, who I also loved but sadly he had to retire in 1962, having got hurt playing for Wales, against Brazil, if I remember rightly. Joes first game was away at Orient and he scored in a 2-1 win as I recall. That was the opening game of that season, 61-62 I think, but may be wrong, at my advanced age. I THINK Geoff Strong scored our other goal.

      2. Oi! I created the Opinion section for discussion articles and guest posts. This has worked well but I’m afraid there is only room in each section for 5 or 6 posts. As others arrive they get displaced. This is not favourites it is simply timing controlled. As Kenny pointed out recently the match reports still had articles from before lockdown. That was coz that was the last time their was a game!!! I am trying my hardest to keep everyone happy and stop saying ozil posts coz there hasn’t been one for yonks!!!

        Please complain on factual matters and not your perception that not please.

  8. While talking about oxes: How do we convince senior Arteta to sign Axel Disasi (Reims, France)? We need that big strong guy on our side. He is cheap and we get so much for the money. I hate the thought of seeing him in white and blue. If we let Spurs get him we maybe have to regret it for ten years. By the time for every XXX North London Derby. OK?

  9. Close Jon, Joe’s debut was in 62/63, the year the O’s came up with Liverpool who went on to greatness but the O’s sadly went straight back down. I went to that first game at Orient with my mates, I remember getting off the bus in Lea Bridge Rd and walking along Oliver Rd that led to the ground thinking I was in the countryside. You’re right, Joe scored that day, the beginnings of a great career, gutted when we sold him, didn’t make sense, but Radford was emerging.

  10. Should have received the MOM award in the 1971 Cup Final without a doubt. 120 minutes of non-stop effort.

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