Where are they now? Arsenal’s wasted talent Peter Marinello



Peter was born in Scotland on the 20th February 1950 and started his career at Hibernians, where his prodigious talent was getting rave reviews down south. After two seasons at Easter Road, the big clubs in England started to take notice of this young winger and some of the clubs interested in him were Manchester united and the Spuds.

At the time, it turns out though, Peter was more than happy to stay at Hibs and it was the club’s decision to sell him to The Arsenal – he says that he wasn’t really impressed with our club and thought Hibs were a better club all round.

He travelled down though and met Don Howe, who he says, handed him a second hand set of boots and told him to show what he had during a forty minute training game – it was at the end of this session that, allegedly, Don Howe said “You’ll do” and the bid went in.

At the age of nineteen years and eleven months The Arsenal decided to smash their club record and offered an incredible £100,000 for his services.

But Peter wasn’t so sure and decided to think about other offers before he finally decided to join our club, and went on and scored in his first senior game – against Manchester United – a superb solo goal that gave way to the comparison with a certain George Best – surely the most brilliant footballer from our shores?

Peter says “that was the worst thing I ever did, and I regret it to this day” but we all thought the club had pulled off the signing of the decade.

The good old media once again pounced on this young, talented Scotsman, judging him against George Best, not only in talent, but looks and his £100,000 price tag.

Peter remembers Don Howe being furious with him when he lost the ball and standing on the halfway line, hands on hips, waiting for the ball to be played back to him, while it was pointed out that “wee Georgie Armstrong would forage and run back!!!

His form started to dip under this kind of scrutiny and comparison, leading to a loss of form and confidence, seeing him play only three games during the double winning side of 1970-71.

Injuries were also hampering his progress, although he did play more games in the next two seasons, before he left for Portsmouth in July 1973, with a total of 51 games and five goals to show for that massive investment in him by the club.

However, I have always thought that this was the one player who The Arsenal could have supported so much more and my reasoning?

Well, Bertie Mee asked him on six occasions to reconsider his move to Pompey, so our club knew the talent was there, but the money he was offered by Portsmouth ensured he left our club.

Yet another decision he regrets to this day…why didn’t the club support this young, homesick, but oh-so-talented player more?

The bright lights of London, the lifestyle, the women who were always around and his home-sickness were never really addressed in my opinion, and our club must have known about his love for the above well before he signed.

The classic example? On his eighteenth birthday, his fellow Hibs teammates hired a woman of “ill repute” to rid him of his virginity – twenty of them sat around in a semi-circle cheering him on!!! Coming down to London must have been like a bee in a honeytrap to him.

His champagne lifestyle was always in the news and The Arsenal of that time (according to Peter) were a big drinking club, and he was always part of the clan that went out on nightly drinking sessions…other players of this time also acknowledge the drinking culture of course.

Disastrous business ventures followed, including buying a half share with Alan Ball in a racehorse called “Go Go Gunner” after he joined Portsmouth. Fellow footballers such as Frank McLintock, Charlie George and George Graham were supposed to buy in, but it never happened, according to Peter.

When he finally retired, after returning to play in Scotland at Hearts, he reflected on his footballing life as being good days, but life in general was a mixed bag of tricks. He is neither bitter nor regretful, simply happy to have lived to tell so many stories.

What a wasted talent from a Gooners perspective, he had everything and could have become such a powerhouse in football history – still.. as he seems to have no regrets himself, who am I to judge him?

He has certainly done many more things in his time than I have, including a semi-circle of men cheering me on as I lost my virginity (at least I can’t remember that happening)!!!!

Neither have I done what his final quote I am giving you says “I pi88ed my talent up against the wall” – probably because I never had any and didn’t have a wall nearby anyway”!?!?!?



  1. I was there when he scored on his debut but as you say, a wasted talent. Another excellent player profile Ken, keep em coming.

  2. Ken- I just cannot agree that Marinello was a “ Great Player”. The reason he hardly played was he simply wasn’t good enough. I’ve looked up the stats and he scored 5 goals in 51 appearances. Not exactly good is it? Just another player who had the talent but proved he wasn’t able to cut it with the big boys.
    Declan- I was at OT for that game as well. It was my first visit to the Ground and the first time I went up on the Football Specials out of Euston. I remember it for all sorts of reasons, but mainly because it took an hour to walk from Manchester Piccadilly to get to the game, and about 5 minutes to get back after the game. This was due to the fact that me and my mate, both only 13, we’ve chased by what seemed like the whole Stretford End. I also remember the older fans plying is with Watneys Light Ale on the train home, which was ok until there was probably only 2 toilets working on the whole train. Which is why they were called Cattle Trucks I suppose.

  3. Ken, I much enjoy how you write and how you put words together. It was interesting to remember him, though he was merely an initial bright light that flickered just once before going out, at least Arsenal wise. I do hope that now you have begun your very long running series(which we DEMAND, without mercy!!) on our ex-players , you will use far better players with real Arsenal careers though.

    I am on board with what Phil says about Peter M. Now Wee Geordie, Bob Wison, Frank McLintock, even Charlie George and then further back to Kelsey, Flint McCullough, further still to Jimmy Logie and even Danskin( in jest, though come to think of it…..!) would be REALLY enlightening!

  4. He was my favorite. The one who supposed to add something new to the Double Team of 70-71. And he looked like a pop star. Asn’ls George Best.

    1. Eh Robert- Arsenals George Best? Really? The nearest Arsenal had talent wise to George Best at that time was Charlie George, and however good he was, I can tell you that he was not a patch on the real thing. Marinello proved himself to be just another who was never able to live up to his early reputation, and was never considered anything other than a useful squad player at best.

    2. Robert, George Best apart, I can’t off hand think of a single British great in British football history who looked like a pop star. And thank goodness for that too! Charlie GEORGE WAS A SCRUFF IN FACT, WITH LANK LONG HAIR AND THOUGH AN ARSENAL LEGEND TO SOME , WAS NEVER REMOTELY A GREAT. As PM was your favourite you must have missed an awful lot that others know! Unless you like pop more than football, as it appears, from your comment..

  5. I was incredibly impressed when Arsenal signed Marinello. He was gorgeous in my youthful opinion.

    Living not a million miles from South Herts Golf Club, my younger brother and I would cycle up there on Saturday mornings (home games) and watch the players arrive for lunch.

    I remember him arrive as his pretty wife/girl friend dropped him off in their snazzy soft top car. I got his autograph too. I was truly happy that day.

  6. Hmm Ken I don’t think I would describe him as a ‘former great’.
    A former ‘great prospect’. may be.

    May be “The Bentner’ of the Mee epoc.
    For once I disagree with your title.

    According to Wiki he had his 70th birthday this year – and there are those on here who remember him – ouch.

    It seems he gave back to the game by running a junior team. Good for him.

  7. Although Marinello undoubtedly had talent unfortunately the only thing I remember him for was missing a one to one chance in the European Cup semi final after a couple of minutes which might have changed the outcome of our defeat to Ajax which we eventually lost 1-0 ( George Graham headed own goal if I remember correctly ).

  8. I guess this was one of my personal choices really, as I have always hated to see God given talent wasted.

    Next on the list is David Price, so get your thinking boots on regarding this ex player!!!

    1. Ken When I direct shows I always start each half with a bang. Somehow Marinello and Price don’t make a “bang” IMO. BUT I’ll of course wait to see what you come up with! Looking forward to reading about better players though!

        1. Hi Snowden and thanks for asking . Well no I wouldn’t, tbh! Banger certainly wirh crispy skins and quite burnt, but not mash. YUK! Fortunately my missus loves the stuff. No taste you see! But then she loves me too, which rather proves my point!

          1. Hi Jon,
            From your dislike of ‘mash’ I have to conclude that you a Londoner, does not like ‘Two pies, mash and liquor.’
            That can’t be right a Londoner that doesn’t like his pie and mash.

            I thought Londoners were weaned on the lovely grub. I know I was.

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