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Don Howe, 1935-2015

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A well-regarded Arsenal figure passes away.

WBA-era Don Howe
WBA-era Don Howe
Don Morley/Getty Images

Sad news today of the passing of Don Howe, who both played for and managed Arsenal, as well as managing West Brom, Galatasaray, and QPR. Howe played most of his career for West Brom, twelve years in which he played well enough for them as a right back to be named one of West Brom's 16 best players of all time in 2004.

After leaving West Brom, Howe played two years for Arsenal before a broken leg suffered in 1966 effectively put an end to his playing career. As many players do, Howe then turned to coaching; he coached Arsenal's reserves during Bertie Mee's time as manager, then stepped up to be first team coach (assistant manager, basically) under Mee's leadership. Mee and Howe won the Double in 1971,  but shortly thereafter, Howe returned to his roots to manage at West Brom.

I wish this was where Howe's story read "and he led all the teams he managed to championships, glory, and European triumph", but that wasn't the case - West Brom were relegated in his second year in charge, and after two more years, he went on to manage Galatasaray for a season before joining Arsenal.

His time at Arsenal wasn't productive in terms of trophies - he won none in just over two years in charge, and Arsenal finished 6th, 7th, and 7th in the years he managed - but he will be remembered at Arsenal for the players he shepherded into the first team, most notably Tony Adams, Paul Merson, and David Rocastle.

Howe retired from management in 1992, but returned to Arsenal in 1997 to coach the youth team again, a role he held until his final retirement in 2003. Overall, Howe spent five decades involved with Arsenal, and while his accomplishments did not match that of a Herbert Chapman or an Arsene Wenger, that does not mean he was not tremendously important in the history and development of Arsenal; he was hugely influential and will be sorely missed by the entire Arsenal family.