||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2009)|
Perry Groves in 2014, at the Emirates Stadium legends tour
|Full name||Perry Groves|
|Date of birth||19 April 1965|
|Place of birth||Bow, London, England|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Playing position||Left wing|
|1994||Dagenham & Redbridge||4||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Perry Groves (born 19 April 1965) is a former English footballer, known chiefly for his time at Arsenal. He was a fast-paced player who usually played as winger, and occasionally as a striker. His uncle Vic Groves also played for Arsenal, from 1955 to 1964. He now runs a successful business called playwithalegend.com - offering fans the chance to play alongside their heroes.
Groves was born in Bow, London, but as a boy he played for Cornard Dynamos in the village of Great Cornard on the Suffolk - Essex border. Groves then had a trial with Wolves as a schoolboy before signing as an apprentice for Colchester United in 1981. He turned professional a year later and over the next four seasons he played 142 league games for the U's, scoring 26 goals.
In September 1986, he signed for Arsenal for £50,000, becoming the first signing by new manager George Graham. In his first season at the club he helped set up Charlie Nicholas for the winner in the 1987 League Cup final, dribbling past three Liverpool players before laying the ball off.
Noted for his enthusiasm and hard work, he started most of Arsenal's games in the 1987–88 season, ousting Charlie Nicholas as strike partner to Alan Smith, and helping the Gunners reach a second League Cup final the following season by scoring the only goal of the away leg of the semi-final against Everton; Arsenal however lost the final to Luton Town. Although Groves made 46 appearances in all competitions that season, the arrival of Brian Marwood reduced his opportunities to play, and he was mainly used as a substitute in Arsenal's title-winning 1988–89 season, coming off the bench 15 times during the league campaign, on top of 6 starts. He was on the pitch as a substitute in the final game of the season and helped create the space when Michael Thomas famously scored the title clinching goal at Anfield.
Although an injury to Marwood opened the door for him again in 1989–90, Groves returned to the bench after Marwood recovered. This did not however stop him from winning a second league title winners' medal in 1990–91, again with most of his appearances coming as a sub, as Smith usually favoured Kevin Campbell to play alongside Alan Smith. As Graham's Arsenal became more defensive Groves found himself in the team less and less, and after making only 13 league appearances in 1991–92 he was sold to Southampton.
Dagenham & Redbridge
For many years Perry appeared for Arsenal in the London Masters football tournament. Perry is now a well established football pundit and has worked for a wide variety of organisations including Sky Sports, Radio 5 Live, BT Sport and Absolute Radio, whilst he can currently be heard on TalkSPORT every Monday and Friday between 10am-1pm alongside Colin Murray. Groves was previously part of Absolute Radio's Sony Award winning Rock 'N' Roll Football show, fronted by former Arsenal team mate, Ian Wright, which airs on a Saturday.
In 2010, Groves signed as a non-playing substitute for new club Chester after Colin Murray, then of BBC Radio 5 Live, offered the new club £2,000 if they named Groves and Pat Nevin as unused substitutes at every game in the 2010–11 season.
In March 2014, along with his friend Josh Landy, Perry launched a company called Play With A Legend which offers football fans the chance to play alongside their heroes such as Matt Le Tissier Paul Merson and Dion Dublin on stag, corporate and charity events. The concept has been well received and has achieved national publicity.
Groves became a cult player among Arsenal fans, who commemorate him with the chant "We all live in a Perry Groves World", which listed Perry in every position from 1 to 12 (except 7, which is instead taken by Liam Brady), to the tune of The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine". He still has a large following, with a fanclub and website devoted to him.
In October 2006, Groves published his autobiography, entitled We All Live in a Perry Groves World (ISBN 1-84454-319-6). With it came an Arsenal fans' campaign on the web to purchase the book, in an attempt to outsell former Arsenal defender Ashley Cole's autobiography, My Defence, which was out at the same time. His autobiography has since outsold that of Cole, as well as the autobiographies of other much more high-profile players including Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand.
As a part of the BBC Sport Relief 'Shirt of Hurt' campaign, challenging personalities in football to wear the shirt of their club's greatest rival to raise money for charity, Groves was challenged to wear a Tottenham shirt by Colin Murray on the latter's show on Radio 5 Live. Groves refused to wear the shirt and was willing to pay £400 to avoid it.
- Football League First Division winner: 1988–89, 1990–91
- Football League Cup winner: 1986–87
- Football League Cup runner-up: 1987–88
- Perry Groves (2007). We all live in a Perry Groves World. London: John Blake Publishing. p. 2.
- http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/chesterfootballclub/?section=clubnews&news_id=175263[dead link]
- "Let's make Perry Groves better than Ashley Cole". Arseblog.
- Philip, Robert (7 January 2007). "How life in fast lane paid off for Arsenal icon". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- "Tier One (Premier League) Honours". Coludaybyday.co.uk.
- "League Cup Honours". Coludaybyday.co.uk.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Perry Groves.|
- Unofficial Perry Groves fansite
- Perry Groves on arseblog.com's "arsecast" on 10 November 2006 (MP3, 17 MB)
- Interview with Perry Groves in The Guardian