Bertie Mee

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Bertie Mee
Bertie Mee 1972.jpg
Personal information
Full name Bertram Mee
Date of birth (1918-12-25)25 December 1918
Place of birth Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, England
Date of death 22 October 2001(2001-10-22) (aged 82)
Place of death Barnet, England
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1938–1939 Derby County 0 (0)
1939 Mansfield Town 13 (0)
1942-? Maccabi Netanya
Teams managed
1966–1976 Arsenal
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Bertram "Bertie" Mee OBE (25 December 1918 – 22 October 2001) was an English football player and manager, noted for managing Arsenal to their first Double win in 1971. He was the younger brother of fellow footballer Georgie Mee.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, Mee played for Derby County and Mansfield Town as a young man, but his playing career was cut short by injury. In 1940–41, Mee made 16 guest appearances for Southampton, scoring twice.[2]

Mee joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and trained as a physiotherapist, and spent six years, rising to the rank of sergeant. After leaving, he worked for various football clubs as a physiotherapist, before joining Arsenal in 1960, succeeding Billy Milne.

Arsenal[edit]

After the sacking of Billy Wright in 1966, the club asked Mee to become manager, a highly surprising move, perhaps even to the man himself; Mee asked for a get-out clause for him to return to physiotherapist after twelve months if it didn't work out. Mee recruited Dave Sexton and Don Howe as his assistants, in order to make up for any tactical shortcomings of his own. In 1970 Mee led Arsenal to the Fairs Cup final against Anderlecht. After losing the first leg 3-1, Arsenal won the return match at Highbury 3-0, to claim a 4-3 aggregate victory. It ended a seventeen-year drought since the last major honour - the 1953 league title.

The following season Arsenal won the league and cup double, only the second time this had been accomplished in the twentieth century. Arsenal managed to outdistance Leeds United, managed by Don Revie to win the championship with a victory over Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. Arsenal then went on to beat Liverpool in extra time to seal the FA Cup at Wembley. Shortly afterwards, Howe left Arsenal to manage West Bromwich Albion.

Arsenal had ambitions to retain their title the following season and signed Alan Ball from Everton. However their league campaign faltered and their hopes of a trophy depended on the FA Cup, where Arsenal had again reached the final, this time facing Leeds. Arsenal lost by a single goal. In the 1972-73 season Arsenal managed a serious championship challenge, at one point topping the table, but eventually finished runners-up. A run in the FA Cup was brought to an end by a semi final defeat to eventual winners Sunderland.

Mee then began to break up the team which had won the double, and players such as George Graham, Charlie George and captain Frank McLintock departed. A number of less impressive seasons saw Mee leave the job in 1976. He was replaced by Terry Neill.

Post-Arsenal[edit]

He would later join Watford as assistant to Graham Taylor in 1978 in charge of scouting, and later became a director of the Hornets before retiring in 1991.

Mee was made an OBE in 1984 for services to football. He died in London at the age of 82, in 2001.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sons and Daughters" - Bob's '70-71 Footballers
  2. ^ Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (1992). The Alphabet of the Saints. ACL & Polar Publishing. p. 395. ISBN 0-9514862-3-3. 
  3. ^ "Bertie Mee dies" - BBC Sport