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George Graham (born November 30, 1944 in Bargeddie, Lanarkshire) is a Scottish football player and manager. He is best remembered for his success at Arsenal, as a player in the 1970s and then as manager in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Playing career

Despite being Scottish George Graham played exclusively in England. He signed for Aston Villa in 1961, having just turned 17. He spent three seasons at the Birmingham club, but only made eight appearances – though one of them was the club's 1963 League Cup final loss to Birmingham City.

Chelsea signed him in July 1964, and Graham scored 35 goals in 72 games for the club and won a League Cup medal. He moved for £75,000 to Bertie Mee's Arsenal in 1966. Graham started out as centre forward for the club, but later moved to inside forward, behind the main striker. Graham was an integral part of Arsenal's Double-winning side of 1971 (and had a claim to scoring Arsenal's first goal in the FA Cup final against Liverpool), but the arrival of Alan Ball displaced him out of the side; he moved for £120,000 to Manchester United in December 1972.

He spent two years at United before seeing out his career at Portsmouth and Crystal Palace. He also won twelve caps for Scotland.

Managerial career

After retiring from playing, he became a coach at Crystal Palace and then later QPR. In 1983 Graham was appointed manager of Millwall, and then his old club Arsenal in 1986. Arsenal hadn't won a trophy since 1979, but Graham turned the club around quickly, winning two League Championships, two League Cups, an FA Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup in eight years, making them one of the dominant teams of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

However, his tenure at Arsenal ended unhappily. Graham was sacked as manager of Arsenal on February 21, 1995, after it was discovered he had taken £425,000 in illegal payments from Norwegian agent Rune Hauge in order to sign two of Hauge's clients: Pål Lydersen and John Jensen. He was then banned from football for a year as punishment from the Football Association.

George Graham's return to football management came with Leeds United in September 1996. Although Leeds scored fewer goals than any other Premiership club (28) they still finished in a secure 13th place. 1997-98 saw Leeds finish fifth in the Premiership and secure UEFA Cup qualification.

In October 1998 Graham's two-year spell as Leeds manager came to an end when he was appointed manager of Tottenham Hotspur. Just five months after taking charge he guided the club to victory over Leicester City in the League Cup final and with it a place in the 1999-2000 UEFA Cup. But the club's league form was never thrilling and Graham was sacked as Tottenham manager in March 2001 after falling out with the club's new owner Daniel Levy. He has been out of management ever since, concentrating on his career as a football pundit for Sky Sports.

Since leaving Tottenham, George Graham's name has been linked with managerial vacancies at Leicester, Sunderland, Aston Villa, Blackburn and Newcastle, but none of these rumours have come to anything. With George Graham now 60 years old, as time passes it seems less and less likely that he will return to management.

Honours

Honours as player

Aston Villa

  • League Cup runners-up 1963

Chelsea

  • League Cup winners 1965
  • FA Cup runners-up 1967

Arsenal

  • League Cup runners-up 1968
  • League Cup runners-up 1969
  • Inter-Cities Fairs Cup winners 1970
  • League Championship 1971
  • FA Cup winners 1971
  • FA Cup runners-up 1972

Honours as manager

Millwall

  • Promotion from Division 3 1985

Arsenal

  • League Cup winners 1987
  • League Cup runners-up 1988
  • League Championship 1989
  • League Championship 1991
  • FA Cup winners 1993
  • League Cup winners 1993
  • European Cup Winners Cup winners 1994

Tottenham Hotspur

  • League Cup winners 1999

 

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