Where are they now? #1 – The Arsenal great, Peter Simpson



One of my favourite Arsenal players of all time, Peter Simpson was one of many unsung heroes who formed the backbone of our teams throughout its history.

I am certain that only the old fogies amongst us will recognise his name, not only because he was a seemingly shy man, but because he just seemed to get lost as the years rolled by.

Peter was born in January 1945 and started his career with The Arsenal as part of the ground staff in 1960 and moved up to the status of apprentice a year later, with his position listed as either centre-half or left-half. His senior status began in 1964, his first game being against Chelsea, which saw us lose 4-2.

This promotion in the ranks did not herald a regular place however, until Bertie Mee took over the reins at the start of the 1966-67 season.

He was a man for every left sided outfield position, classed in those days as a utility player, but once he became a regular choice under Bertie, he was seen playing alongside our captain Frank McLintock.

He was in two League cup finals, both times on the losing side unfortunately – 1968 when we were humiliated by Swindon Town and the following year by Leeds United.

But success was to follow, as we won our first ever European cup, when Simpson was part of the great team performance that saw us lift the Inter Cities Fairs Cup in the 1969-70 season.

This result was the springboard for our first ever double in 1970-71, although a serious cartilage injury saw him miss the first three months.

He made 370 league appearances and scored 10 goals for our club before he left for pastures new at the end of the 1978 season, having played a total of 477 games and scoring 15 goals and he is tenth in the Arsenal all-time appearance list.

Despite being called up to the England squad a few times under Sir Alf Ramsey, he never did get an England cap.

Peter was one of those players who went unnoticed on the pitch, just performing at the highest level in a quiet but such effective way.

His link up play with Geordie Armstrong was perfect, but it was Geordie who always took the eye, as Peter was a naturally defensive kind of player.

He was also a very well built and strong player, who never backed down from a challenge and it was rare to see him get beaten in a one on one situation.

He gave as good as he got, especially when we played the likes of Leeds, who always wanted to kick every other team off the park. Despite this, I can never remember him being cautioned or sent off, perhaps others may have known of his disciplinary record?

To my knowledge Peter has never returned to the club in any capacity whatsoever and it was reported he had said that he had completely lost interest in football.

After retiring, it is said he worked three days a week for a building company and played golf for the remainder of said week, so it seems sport was still in his blood, but football was not!!

It is so strange that a man with Peter’s ability and record has turned his back on football, it would be great to see him come back as a guest now and again during our half time interviews.

If anyone wants me to do a similar topic on one of their ‘favourite but forgotten’ player, please let me know in the comments below…my next player in the pipeline is Peter Marinello – our own Georgie Best.



  1. Crucial part of fairs cup and double team. Criminal that he wasnt a regular for england. Like Harvey at Everton fans of all teams recognised them as top players who should have represented country many times. Reliable, hard and fair. One of our true greats.

    1. Mick couldn’t agree more with your assessment of Peter Simpson; another great player who would walk into the current squad.
      The unfortunate thing about the England team over the years is the quality of the players, who for some unknown reason or other, were not selected. If the teams were chosen on football ability and contribution to a specified team approach, England would surely have been more successful at international level.

        1. Agree with you and Jon ozziegunner regarding this man – would love to see him return to The Emirates and witness just how the older fans respect what he did for the club.

          Nice to see you back ozziegunner, where have you been?

          1. Ken, I never went away; read most articles, but only comment on things that interest me. Also have been keeping busy in isolation at home catching up on home improvements etc.
            I hope everyone is keeping safe and healthy knowing how bad things have been in the UK with Covid19.

  2. Ken Another gem from you and from the past and how much the youngsters will never know the greatness of this superb but unassuming player. As all we who were lucky enought to have seen this player at his peak know only too well, his left foot could shell peas. Indeed that was said about him( the other saying was that he could open a can of peas with his left foot).
    But what a player and what a partnership with a certain Frank McLintock too. And Ken, please include such as Frank, Geordie Armstrong, Bob Wilson in your hopefully now regular series – you see how I craftily pressured Ken there, my fellow Gooners!! – as this is so magical for we oldies to reminisce AND so educative for the many young ones.


    1. Great article ken really enjoyed reading about former players.How about a series covering all the team from the 70 -71 season.

      1. Funnily enough Russell, when I was checking the facts on Peter, I realized just how many of the players in that squad have, seemingly, disappeared from the football scene.

        I have just finished my second article on Peter Marinello, who was at the club during our 70/71 double winning season, but guys like Jon Sammuels, David Price etc seem like excellent names to pursue – watch this space!!

        Thanks for your comments and stay safe!!!

        1. Ah Peter Marinello, a record signing I believe, now there is a name from the past. Looking forward to another one of your articles Ken as I am with Jon fox and our other worthy contributors.

  3. Ken- along with Peter Storey, Simpson never got the recognition he deserved. What a very very good player he was, and this was recognised by all fans at the time. Anyone who are too young to remember Peter Simpson should be watching a re-run of the 1971 FA Cup final v Liverpool. They hardly had a shot all game, mainly due to the fact we were so much better than them and we had a team ethic to defence, including from the forwards and midfield that not too many saw again until the famous GG back four. Simpson just made the game look all so easy.

  4. I well remember ‘ Stan ‘ , an underrated player by everyone except his teammates and us supporters, and a really nice bloke as well by all accounts.

  5. I seem to remember reading that Peter didn’t like football but was just naturally good at it and that’s why he didn’t try and leave Arsenal when he started to lose his place in the team.

  6. Hi Ken I saw your article on Peter M before I saw this one.
    Here I absolutely agree with you.
    He replaced Terry Neil at centre back – I think.
    Born in 1945 I guess that makes him 75 now!

    A reminder for the oldies.

    And a newy for the newies!

    keep them coming.

    Stay well. We want more from you. 🙂

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