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.

Arsenal hadn't won a trophy since 1953, but, under Mee, with a crop of players from Arsenal's youth system, such as Charlie George, John Radford, Pat Rice and Ray Kennedy, began to show promise. Arsenal reached two successive League Cup finals in 1968 and 1969, but lost them both to Leeds United and Swindon Town respectively. However, the following season, the club won its first European trophy and its first trophy of any kind for 17 years, beating Anderlecht to claim the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, 4-3 on aggregate; after being 3-0 down in the away leg, Arsenal grabbed a late consolation and then beat the Belgian side 3-0 at Highbury.

The Fairs Cup was only the warmup for the main act, namely the FA Cup and League Double win in 1971. The League title was won at White Hart Lane, home of their deadly rivals Tottenham Hotspur, on Monday May 3rd, the last day of the season; five days later Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-1 at Wembley after extra-time, the winning goal scored by Charlie George. It was only the second time a club had won a Double in the twentieth century.

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. Mee announced his resignation in 1976 as Arsenal's most successful manager in terms of victories with 241 wins, a number that would not be surpassed until 2006 by Arsène Wenger. Mee was succeeded 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]

See also[edit]

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