History: Arsenal’s tough-guy Peter Storey who spent 15 years at the club

Peter Storey

In 1945 one of Arsenals 1970/71 crucial defenders for the campaign was born, his name is Peter Storey.

Storey joined Arsenal as an apprentice after finishing school in 1961. As a youngster he was laser focused on his career and was far from amused by going out to nightclubs regularly with his apprentice mates. He agreed to professional terms in September 1961 and enjoyed the 1962/63 season in the Gunnersthird team in the Metropolitan League at 17 years of age.

He would later make his first team debut three years later on October 1965, replacing Billy McCullough’s position at left-back in a 3-1 beating of Leicester City at Filbert Street. 

Within two years during the 1966/67 season Storey rapidly started to standout from his teammates in Arsenal’s defensive wall. The Daily Express declared “Storey is overdoing the tough guy act.” He was cautioned by manager Bertie Mee not to receive the red card after a clash in Arsenal’s FA Cup win against Gillingham. During the campaign Storey picked up 34 league appearances, failing to show up in eight games because of injury and illness. In April Storey recorded his first Arsenal goal when The Gunners drew 1-1 with Nottingham Forest.

The following season Storey transitioned to right back after Bob McNab came into the side at left back. For the first time in his career Storey was awarded a red card in December 1967 alongside teammate Frank McLintok in a 1-0 shock defeat to Burnley at Turf Moor, however his red card was for foul language rather than his hardy tackling.

Storey would keep on turning out for Arsenal for the next three years where he clinched his first piece of silverware during the 1969/70 season when Arsenal beat RSC Anderlecht 4-3 overall in the final of the Inter-Cities Fair Cup.

A season later Storey helped in Arsenals double winning story of the 1970/71 season, which saw them clinch the 1970/71 league title and FA Cup 2-1 over Liverpool.  During that years league campaign in April Storey had his face stamped on by Leeds United attacker Billy Bremner, however this was an accident during a goalmouth gathering of players. Unfortunately Storey was unable to play in the final two games of the league campaign due to damaged ankle ligaments. Storey proved to be instrumental in The Gunners FA Cup campaign rescuing a semi-final replay after grabbing two goals in the first match to ensure Arsenal were even with Stoke City again after going 0-2 down. His first strike flew past Gordon banks with a superb volley from the edge of the penalty box before his second forced Banks to dive the wrong way.  Fortunately Arsenal won the replay 1-0 against Stoke City before going onto triumph in the final at Wembley with 100,000 fans watching.

Storey tried his all to help Arsenal retain their league title going into the 1971/72 season before falling victim to a thigh injury which meant he lost out on a few matches from late September onwards. In December manager Bertie Mee signed Alan Ball from Everton in a deal worth £220,000 from Everton who stole Storey’s place. After confronting the club alongside many other players about Balls £250 plus a week wage he returned in the side for the FA Cup clash with Derby County. He would also make another appearance in Arsenal’s European toss up with Swiss side Grasshopper being unable to prevent the opposition from winning 3-1 on aggregate.

Storey and Arsenal missed out on a winner’s medal in the 1972/73 season as the club finished second in the First Division table to Liverpool and being knocked out of that year’s FA Cup campaign by Sunderland in the semi-finals.

By the 1975/76 campaign Storey was undermined being only able to play in reserve team football at Arsenal. However injuries to Sammy Nelson and Eddie Kelly allowed for a first team return for Storey after a tricky couple of seasons of no real action. On 8th March Storey was suspended by Arsenal after not going to training with the reserve side.

When Terry Neil came in as manager in the summer of 1976 Storey was put back into the team for a few matches but he was never really able to retake his place in the side, especially after the signing of Alan Hudson in December of that year. In January 1977 Storey appeared in an Arsenal shirt for the final time versus Coventry City coming off the bench for Malcolm Macdonald. Storey rejected the idea of training with the reserves and was suspended for a second time before The Gunners agreed to a bid put in by Fulham in March 1977.

After Storey turned up at Craven Cottage Fulham were one position above the Second Division relegation zone under manager Bobby Campbell, training sessions were chilled and mega signings of George Best, Bobby Moore and Rodney Marsh were past prime form. Storey featured for the Cottagers 12 times towards the ant-climax of the 1976/77 campaign assisting the Cottagers to retaining their Second Division status. He made five league and two cup matches at the beginning of the 1977/78 season, his final match as a pro-footballer came in a 1-0 beating to Tottenham Hotspur in September. His contract at Fulham was ripped up in November 1977 and Storey declared his retirement from the game.

Storey was called up for England on 19 occasions between 1971 and 1973 after having made two appearances at Shoolboy level in 1961. He also turned out for The Football League XI twice from 1971-1975.

At the age of 78, Storey is remembered for his brutal and unwavering defensive style of play which helped Arsenal in their 1970/71 Double conquering season.

Liam Harding 

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  1. One really tough no nonsense footballer, who had some interesting after career activities.
    I believe he lives overseas now.

  2. My favourite player from the 60’s/70’s era, would give no less than 100% every game. Certainly did have an interesting life after he retired.

  3. After HD suggested that Peter Storey’s autobiography was a good read, I bought it and recommend it to those who like to learn about the internal workings of our club at that time and how frankly PS talks about his life.
    JAX – he went to live in France and seemed (from his book) to be more than content with his life.
    He sees himself as more than just a hardman of football and I have to agree with that.
    WITH PS on the right hand side and Peter Simpson (like White he saw football as a means to an end) on the left hand side, we had two excellent wing halves – our younger fans might not understand that phrase!!

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