Don Howe

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For the association (soccer) footballer of the 1930s, '40s and '50s for Bolton Wanderers, see Don Howe (footballer born 1917).
Don Howe
Don Howe.jpg
Personal information
Full name Donald Howe
Date of birth (1935-10-12)12 October 1935
Place of birth Springfield, Wolverhampton, England
Date of death 23 December 2015(2015-12-23) (aged 80)
Playing position Right back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1952–1964 West Bromwich Albion 342 (17)
1964–1966 Arsenal 70 (1)
National team
1957–1959 England 23 (0)
Teams managed
1971–1975 West Bromwich Albion
1975–1976 Galatasaray SK
1983–1986 Arsenal
1989–1991 Queens Park Rangers
1992 Coventry City

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Donald "Don" Howe (12 October 1935 – 23 December 2015) was an English football player, coach, manager and pundit.

Playing career[edit]

Howe was born in the Springfield area of Wolverhampton in 1935 and spent his secondary education at St Peter's Collegiate School.

Howe spent most of his playing career at West Bromwich Albion. Howe joined the West Bromwich Albion ground staff after leaving school,[1] joining the club as a youth player in December 1950. He turned professional in November 1952, but did not make his debut until 1955, against Everton.[2] A full back, he played 379 league and cup games scoring 19 goals for the Baggies in twelve years, as well as becoming a regular in the England team; he played in the 1958 FIFA World Cup, and won 23 caps in total.[3]

Howe was signed by Billy Wright's Arsenal in 1964, and was made club captain. However, in March 1966 he broke his leg playing against Blackpool and only played two further first team games both in September 1966. Firstly against Manchester City in the League on the 10th and then on the 13th against Gillingham in the League Cup.

In 2004 he was named as one of West Bromwich Albion's 16 greatest players, in a poll organised as part of the club's 125th anniversary celebrations.[4]

Coaching career[edit]

Howe retired from playing and became Arsenal's reserve team coach under Bertie Mee, then stepping up to first team coach after the departure of Dave Sexton in October 1967. Arsenal won the Double in 1971 with Howe playing a crucial role, but not long after he returned to his old club, West Bromwich Albion, as manager.

Howe's tenure at WBA was not a success, as the club were relegated to Division Two in 1973. Howe then joined Leeds United as a coach, later becoming assistant manager under Jimmy Armfield, before moving on to manage Turkish club Galatasaray in 1975. Howe rejoined Arsenal in 1977 as head coach, under Terry Neill. He also became part of the England national team's coaching setup in 1981, working under Ron Greenwood. When Greenwood retired a year later, Howe continued to work for the national team under new manager Bobby Robson.

After Neill's sacking on 16 December 1983, Howe became Arsenal caretaker-manager and was appointed permanently after the game against Leicester City on 28 April 1984. Despite introducing young players including Tony Adams, David Rocastle and Niall Quinn to the team during the mid-1980s, he was unable to win trophies, as Arsenal finished either 6th or 7th under him, although they did briefly top the league in October 1984.

After just over two years in the job, Howe resigned on 22 March 1986, shortly after Arsenal's match against Coventry City, after reports circulated that the board were looking to replace him with FC Barcelona manager Terry Venables. However, in the end George Graham succeeded him.

Howe later joined Wimbledon as assistant to Bobby Gould in 1987, and helped them win the FA Cup with a shock win over Liverpool in 1988. His coaching expertise earned him a great deal of credit for Wimbledon's cup triumph.[5]

Howe then left Wimbledon to manage QPR between November 1989 and May 1991, with Gould briefly assisting him in the first half of the 1990–91 season.

Shortly after leaving QPR, he became assistant manager to Terry Butcher at Coventry City and became manager in January 1992 when Butcher was sacked. Howe secured a place in the new FA Premier League for Coventry, who missed relegation by once place, and just after the end of the 1991–92 season Gould rejoined him as joint manager of the Highfield Road club. However, Howe resigned as manager before the 1992–93 season began and this was his last job in management.

Howe also moved into journalism and broadcasting, becoming a pundit for Channel 4's coverage of Serie A.[6]

Howe became assistant for England under Terry Venables from January 1994 to June 1996, finishing with England's semi final appearance as host nation at Euro 96. He returned to Arsenal for a final time in 1997 as a youth team coach.


Howe retired from coaching in the summer of 2003 after more than 30 years. He occasionally wrote as a pundit for the BBC Sport website. He also had a regular column in the official Arsenal magazine. Right up until his death he ran youth coaching schemes across the United Kingdom.

Towards the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008, he worked with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) as part of a three-man panel to appoint Giovanni Trapattoni as the new national team manager.


Howe died, aged 80, in December 2015.[3]


  1. ^ Soccer Who's Who compiled by Maurice Golesworthy Sportsmans Book Club London 1965
  2. ^ Matthews, Tony (2005). The Who's Who of West Bromwich Albion. Breedon Books. p. 117. ISBN 1-85983-474-4. 
  3. ^ a b "Don Howe: Former Arsenal and England coach dies aged 80". BBC Sport. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "The wraps come off 125th anniversary mural". West Bromwich Albion F.C. 4 August 2004. Retrieved 10 May 2008. 
  5. ^ [1] Archived 17 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Honeyball, Lee (7 September 2003). "First and last". The Observer. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 

External links[edit]