Former Arsenal captain and boss Terry Neil dies at 80

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Former football star Terry Neil, who was Arsenal's youngest-ever captain, has passed away at age 80. During his second phase at the Gunners as a manager, Neil led them to secure three successive FA Cup finals, winning one of them in 1979.

According to The Guardian, Terry Neil, who was most famous as a football star in London club Arsenal, has died aged 80, surrounded by his family. The exact cause of his death is unknown, however.

Tributes have poured in for Terry Neil

Arsenal later confirmed the legend's death on Twitter. The club, which finished last season in fifth place, issued a statement that read:

'Terry Neill’s status as both club captain and manager made him a major influence on 20th-century Arsenal. His fantastic contribution – and indeed his character – will always be appreciated by everyone associated with the club.'

The club added: 'Our thoughts are with Terry's family and close friends at this difficult time.'

Arsenal's staunch supporters and football fans alike have flocked to the comment section to pay tributes to the late footballer. An account praised Neil's contribution to the London club:

'Terry Neill’s 1979 FA Cup win was the formative Arsenal experience of my childhood. I still remember it vividly and so fondly. Condolences to his family and friends, and may he rest in peace.'

Another wrote: 'RIP ex tiger Terry Neill. Great player in his time and did his bit as manager.'

Terry Neil was the youngest captain in Arsenal's history

Born on 8 May 1942 in Belfast, Neil's first professional club was Bangor. After attracting scouts with his talent, Neil moved to London side Arsenal for £2,500 in 1959 when he was only 17 years old. His first year at the club was on the youth's side, but he was promoted to the first team in late 1960 after turning 18. He made sporadic appearances for a few years before cementing his spot in the starting XI in the mid-sixties.

According to Metro, playing mostly as a center-back, Neil was known for his ruthless playing style and emphatic tackles typical of a great defender. He went down in Arsenal's history as the youngest captain, taking the honorable armband from then-coach Billie Wright in 1962, when he was only 20 years old. Throughout his 11 years at Highbury, Neil had 275 first-team appearances, scoring 10 goals. During his prime at the London side, Neil was also called up for international duty and had 59 caps for Northern Ireland, scoring twice.

Former Arsenal captain and boss Terry Neil dies at 80 GETTY IMAGES

In 1970, Neil left Arsenal as a legend and chose Hull City as his next club, where he played 103 league games in his three-year stint. He left Hull in 1974 and became manager of Arsenal's rival - Tottenham Hotspur. In his managerial spell at the Spurs, Neil helped them rank ninth in the second season, as noted by The Guardian.

Neil returned to his beloved Arsenal in 1976, but this time as a manager. Under his command, the Gunners landed three consecutive FA Cup finals, but only managed to lift the trophy in 1979 after defeating Manchester United 3-2 in a thrilling game that was only decided by Alan Sunderland's late winner.

Former Arsenal captain and boss Terry Neil dies at 80 GETTY IMAGES

In the other two finals, Neil and Arsenal suffered losses against Ipswich and Westham. Neil continued managing Arsenal until December 1983, when he officially retired from football, both as a player and a manager.


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