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Deceased Online looks back at more successful times for Arsenal Football Club

Bertie Mee, OBE (25 December 1918 - 20 October 2001)

This week at Deceased Online we have been celebrating the start of the 2012/2013 football season. We were surprised by how many footballers, club founders and managers we’ve found in the database. Some are not well-known, but others, like Tiverton Preedy (1863-1928) had a major effect on football’s history. Preedy and others will be profiled in more detail in future blogs.

One of England’s biggest football clubs, Arsenal, has had a challenging time recently, not winning any trophies for seven years. Fans may prefer to look back on 1971 when the north London side became only the second club in the 20th century to win the ‘double’ of the FA Cup and League Division One. The manager who took them to this great success was the team’s former physiotherapist, Bertie Mee.

The Highbury Stadium where Arsenal celebrated their double triumph under Bertie Mee. (Copyright: Wikimedia Commons)

Born in Nottinghamshire on Christmas Day 1918, Bertie Mee’s own footballing career was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War. Injury prevented him from continuing as a professional footballer and he spent six years serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps. The strong discipline and efficient organisation of Army life had a great influence, which Mee was to remember in his post-war career in football. After becoming a trainer and physiotherapist, Mee joined Arsenal in 1960. His evident skills saw him promoted to acting manger in June 1966. A few months later, he was appointed manager.

Arsenal’s performances quickly improved. Mee guided the team to the League Cup finals in 1968 and 1969, and then onto European success in 1970 – seventeen years after the team had last won a trophy. From then, Mee knew greatness lay ahead and he asked the team to put football foremost in order to win. His tactics were justified when they achieved the double in 1971. Mee was subsequently awarded Manager of the Year.

After this the side was less successful, never winning another trophy under Mee. He resigned from the club in 1976. Graham Taylor appointed Mee as his assistant manager at Watford – later describing this as “the best signing I ever made”. Mee became a director at Watford, finally stepping down in 1991. He was awarded the OBE in 1983.

Last name: Mee 
First names: Bertie 
Burial date: 26 Oct  2001 
Authority: London Borough of Islington 
Location: Trent Park Cemetery (Islington) 

As always, we would love to hear from you. Do let us know of any football ancestors or other footballers that you find in the database!

Obituary of Bertie Mee in The Times (London, England), Tuesday,  October 23, 2001; pg. 19; Issue 67277.  
Robert Galvin, National Football Museum Hall of Fame: Profile of Bertie Mee


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