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Last Updated: Friday, 23 February 2007, 07:07 GMT
Were you there ...

Arsenal v Chelsea

By Charlie Henderson and Chris Bevan

Arsenal's young stars have grabbed the headlines on their way to this year's Carling Cup final.

But back in October 1976, when the Gunners met Sunday's opponents Chelsea for the first time in this competition, it was the Blues' kids who were in the news.

Today Chelsea's spending power is envied the world over thanks to owner Roman Abramovich's billions - but 30 years ago there was a financial crisis at Stamford Bridge.

606 VIEW
Owen P - BBC Sport
Following their relegation from Divison One in 1975 the club was more than 3m in debt and the only oil money that the Blues saw was the spare cash their fans threw into empty drums after each home game to help keep their team afloat.

With no money available for new players, manager Eddie McCreadie had no choice but to turn to youth - 10 of the 12 players involved here were homegrown.

But it was a difficult time for Arsenal too.

Five years after winning the Double, the Gunners - under new boss Terry Neill - were in the doldrums.

Previous manager Bertie Mee had left the previous summer after failing to build on his 1971 achievement - and the players left over from that success were nearing the end of the road.

Neill had been brought in to provide a bright future with some new talent - but things did not go quite according to plan and his term was characterised more by near-misses than actual success.

Arsenal won this tie 2-1 but what do you remember of the teams of 1976? Were you at this game? And do you have other memories of the players involved?

Here BBC Sport finds out what happened to Trevor Ross, Gary Locke and the rest.


Terry Neill
Neill lifted the FA Cup as Arsenal boss in 1979
Manager - Terry Neill The former Gunners player was in his first season in charge of the club having swapped Tottenham for Arsenal in the summer. The club's youngest manager failed to fire the team in seven largely uninspiring years and was sacked in 1983. He retired from football and now runs sports bars and works occasionally as a pundit.

Jimmy Rimmer The man who followed Bob Wilson and preceded Pat Jennings inbetween the sticks. He spent three seasons at Arsenal before enjoying huge success at Aston Villa and ending his career at Swansea, where he joined the staff. Has since worked in China and is now coaching in Canada.

Pat Rice The right-back was at Arsenal for 14 years, played a part in winning the Double in 1971 and lifted the FA Cup in 1979 before joining Watford in 1981. Three years at Vicarage Road are the only time he has spent away from the Gunners in 43 years and he has been assistant manager to Arsene Wenger since 1996.

Trevor Ross Scored one of his nine goals for the club in this game. Was in his final full season at Arsenal before moving to Everton in November 1977 and is a Goodison Park season-ticket holder today, juggling coaching kids in the Oldham area with a job as a transport supervisor.

Peter Simpson Another to serve the club with distinction, he is often dubbed the best defender never to represent England. The centre-back spent 18 years at Highbury and this was his penultimate season before a stint in the States with the New England Tea Men. Now owns a haulage company.

Sammy Nelson The Ulsterman was a firm favourite with the fans and won notoriety for baring his backside in 1979, an act for which he was slapped with a two-week fine. He spent 15 years at the club before leaving for Brighton in 1981, where he later worked as an insurance salesman. Now works on match days at the Emirates Stadium.

George Armstrong 'Geordie' made 621 appearances for the Gunners. Later a coach in Kuwait and Norway and at Aston Villa and Fulham, he returned to Highbury as reserve-team coach in 1990. He died of a brain haemorrhage aged 56 in 2000 after collapsing at Arsenal's training complex.

Pat Howard Played in Newcastle's League Cup final defeat the previous season before joining Arsenal. Made just 16 appearances before leaving for Birmingham at the end of the campaign. Later turned out for Bury and worked as a football development officer for Salford City Council.

Alan Ball A huge coup when he signed for a record fee in 1971, but the diminuitive international wasted his best years in a poor Arsenal side. Did not see eye to eye with Neill and was sold to Southampton within two months. Later managed Saints, as well as Portsmouth and Manchester City.

Liam Brady After seven years at Highbury, where his dazzling skills won him only one FA Cup title, he joined Juventus in 1980 and spent the best part of a decade in Italy, also turning out for Sampdoria, Inter and Ascoli. Later tried his hand at management and now runs the blossoming Arsenal academy.

Malcolm MacDonald 'Supermac' was top scorer in each of his two full seasons at Arsenal before a knee injury ended his career at the age of 29 in 1979. Later managed Fulham and Huddersfield before booze became the bane of his life as pain built in his knee. Now teetotal he is a pundit in Newcastle.

Frank Stapleton The Irishman forged a formidable partnership with MacDonald scoring 46 goals in this campaign. He moved to Manchester United in 1981 and later became player-boss of Bradford and tried his hand at management in the USA. Now works as a pundit and in corporate hospitality.


Manager - Eddie McCreadie

Eddie McCreadie
McCreadie was left-back during Chelsea's glory years

Played for Chelsea for 11 years before joining the club's coaching staff in 1973 and he became manager in 1975. Against the odds his young team went on to win promotion back to the top-flight in 1977 but McCreadie resigned in 1978 - apparently because he was refused a company car. Later coached Memphis Rogues and Cleveland Force in America and still lives in the US.

John Phillips Welsh international goalkeeper who was Peter Bonetti's long-term understudy at Chelsea. Left in 1980 for Crewe, Brighton and Charlton and upon retiring opened his own car electrician business in Mitcham, which he still runs.

Gary Locke Athletic, long-serving and popular left-back who stayed at Chelsea until 1983 before ending his career with Crystal Palace. Now lives in New Zealand where he works as an advertising executive at a newspaper.

Steve Wicks Powerful centre-back who made more than 150 appearances in two spells for Chelsea from 1974 to 1979 and between 1986 and 1988. Also played for Derby, Crystal Palace and QPR - with whom he reached the League Cup final in 1985. Since retiring has managed Scarborough, Lincoln, Crawley Town and in Malaysia with Selangor. He also coached at Barnet and was an agent for his son Matthew, another defender.

David Hay Classy Scottish international who was signed from Celtic in 1974 and formed a solid partnership with Wicks. Hay later returned to Celtic as manager, winning the Scottish Cup in 1985 and the SPL in 1986. He also managed Motherwell, Lillestrom, St Mirren, Livingston and Dunfermline and is now a newspaper columnist in Scotland.

Graham Wilkins Eldest of the four Wilkins brothers, ahead of Ray, Stephen and Dean. Graham was a full-back who also played for Brentford before a broken leg eventually forced him to retire at age 26. After a year out he started working for British Airways at Heathrow Terminal Four. He also buys and sells houses.

Brian Bason Promising midfielder who suffered a double fracture of his leg when he collided with Jimmy Rimmer after 20 minutes of this game. Went on to play for Crystal Palace and Reading but was never quite the same player. Last heard of running a guest house in Truro in 2000. Do you know where he is now? If so, tell us using 606.

Ray Wilkins Already an England international, 'Butch' was Chelsea's youngest-ever captain and his silky skills in midfield were a ray of light for Chelsea fans during the dark days of the mid-1970s. He left for Manchester United in 1979 but was to return as coach under Gianluca Vialli from 1998 to 2000. Now a TV pundit.

Ray Lewington Hard working midfielder who was the perfect foil for Wilkins. Lewington became player-boss of Fulham in 1986 and has also had spells in charge of Brentford and Watford as well as coaching at Crystal Palace. Since 2005 he has been back at Fulham as reserve team boss and his son, Dean, plays for MK Dons.

Gary Stanley Energetic wideman with big hair and a powerful shot. Stanley has been a sales rep for a company called Colorama Pharmaceuticals since 1999. He now lives in Portsmouth but is out and about on the road most days, up and down the south coast. Before that he worked in communications for Cable & Wireless.

Steve Finnieston Scottish striker imaginatively nicknamed 'Jock'. Was a full-time sales rep for builders merchants Travis Perkins until the beginning of 2006 and although now self-employed still does some work for them.

Kenny Swain PE teacher who signed for Chelsea as an amateur and went on to have a long career, finishing his playing days at Crewe aged 39. He and Finnieston scored 40 goals between them this season. Now head coach of England's Under-16 team and head of youth scouting for the Football Association.

Substitute: Ron Harris (Replaced Bason after 20 minutes)
Agressive tackler known as 'Chopper'. A Chelsea legend who spent 19 years at Stamford Bridge, he later played and coached at Brentford and Aldershot. Has owned a golf club and holiday complex and is now an after-dinner speaker.

  • Many thanks go to Mark Westwood of Chelsea Old Boys and Chelsea historian Rick Glanvill.

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