John Hollins – The Arsenal Obituary 2023

John Hollins MBE

Born on 16 July 1946 in Guildford, Surrey, Jonn William Hollins was the 576th player picked to play for the first team, being signed from QPR the day prior to his 33rd birthday in 1979 for £75,000.

His debut as a substitute for David Price in the Charity Shield was on 11 August 1979 at Wembley, and at the end of that 1979/80 season he was again to replace Price in another big game, this time in the European Cup Winners’ Cup final.

For Arsenal he made 139 first team appearances scoring nine goals, and while at Highbury was awarded the MBE for services to football in 1982, which was in the same year as being voted the Arsenal player of the year. Hollins also played in 25 reserve team games, scoring one goal.

His final Arsenal game on 20 April 1983 saw Hollins come on as substitute for Graham Rix at Norwich City in the league before moving to Chelsea as player-coach in May 1983. He was to become manager of the Blues between 1985 and 1988 where he led them to the Full Members Cup in 1986 by beating Manchester City at Wembley.

Previously as a player he had won the League Cup, FA Cup and ECWC with Chelsea, playing alongside George Graham in a team managed by Tommy Docherty in the first leg of the League Cup final victory. In his two periods at Stamford Bridge 1963-75 and 1983-84 he made 592 appearances scoring 64 times and won one cap for England. For QPR he was part of the Frank McLintock led side that almost won the league in 1975-76 and before joining the Arsenal scored seven times in 183 games for the West London club.

In all Hollins played over 900 first team matches for the three London clubs he represented over his long career.

As well as managing Chelsea he also had stints in charge of QPR (as caretaker), Swansea City, Rochdale, Stockport County (caretaker), Crawley Town and Weymouth.

John Hollins died on 14 June 2023, aged 76.


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Copies of our books Royal Arsenal – Champions of the South and Arsenal: The Complete Record 1886-2018 are still available from the publishers.