Don Howe

Last updated

Don Howe
Don Howe.jpg
Don Howe in 1967
Personal information
Full nameDonald Howe
Date of birth(1935-10-12)12 October 1935
Place of birth Springfield, Wolverhampton, England
Date of death 23 December 2015(2015-12-23) (aged 80)
Playing position Right back
Senior career*
1952–1964 West Bromwich Albion 342 (17)
1964–1966 Arsenal 70 (1)
National team
1957–1959 England 23 (0)
Teams managed
1971–1975 West Bromwich Albion
1975–1976 Galatasaray SK
1983–1986 Arsenal
1989–1991 Queens Park Rangers
1992 Coventry City
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Donald Howe (12 October 1935 – 23 December 2015) was an English football player, coach, manager and pundit. As a right back Howe featured for clubs West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal together with the English national football team in his playing career. He also went on to manage sides West Brom, Galatasaray, Queens Park Rangers and Coventry City. Howe was also a successful coach and has been described as one of the most influential figures of the English footballing game. [1] [2]

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Manager (association football) Head coach of an association football team

In association football, a manager is an occupation of head coach in the United Kingdom responsible for running a football club or a national team. Outside the British Isles and across most of Europe, a title of head coach or coach is predominant.

In the sport of association football, a defender is an outfield player whose primary role is to prevent the opposing team from scoring goals.


Playing career

Howe was born in the Springfield area of Wolverhampton in 1935 and spent his secondary education at St Peter's Collegiate School. [3] [4]

Springfield is an area of Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom near the city centre, currently undergoing major redevelopment. It is included within the ward of Heath Town.

Wolverhampton City and Metropolitan borough in England

Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. At the 2011 census, it had a population of 249,470. The demonym for people from the city is 'Wulfrunian'.

St Peter's Collegiate School is a mixed Church of England secondary school and sixth form located in the Compton area of Wolverhampton in the West Midlands of England. The school is named after Saint Peter, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ.

Howe joined the West Bromwich Albion ground staff after leaving school, [5] joining the club as a youth player in December 1950. He turned professional in November 1952, but did not make his debut until 1955, against Everton. [6] Playing as a full back, Howe went on to win the FA Cup of 1954 with West Brom. In all he played 379 league and cup games scoring 19 goals for the Baggies in twelve years. [6] [1]

Everton F.C. association football club

Everton Football Club is a football club in Liverpool, England, that competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. The club have competed in the top division for a record 116 seasons, missing the top division only four times since The Football League was created in 1888. Everton have won 15 major trophies: the League Championship nine times, the FA Cup five times and the UEFA Cup Winners Cup once.

FA Cup knockout competition in English association football

The FA Cup, also known officially as The Football Association Challenge Cup, is an annual knockout football competition in men's domestic English football. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest national football competition in the world. It is organised by and named after The Football Association. For sponsorship reasons, from 2015 through to 2019 it is also known as The Emirates FA Cup. A concurrent women's tournament is also held, the FA Women's Cup.

Howe was signed by Billy Wright's Arsenal in 1964, and was made club captain. However, in March 1966 he broke his leg playing against Blackpool and only played two further first team games both in September 1966. Firstly against Manchester City in the League on the 10th and then on the 13th against Gillingham in the League Cup. [7] Altogether Howe was capped 70 times for Arsenal. [1]

Arsenal F.C. Association football club based in Islington, London, England

Arsenal Football Club is a professional football club based in Islington, London, England, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. It has won 13 League titles, a record 13 FA Cups, two League Cups, the League Centenary Trophy, 15 FA Community Shields, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and one Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

Blackpool F.C. association football club

Blackpool F.C. is a professional association football club in the seaside town of Blackpool, Lancashire, England, which competes in League One, the third tier of English football. Founded in 1887, Blackpool's home ground since 1901 has been Bloomfield Road.

In 2004, he was named as one of West Bromwich Albion's 16 greatest players, in a poll organised as part of the club's 125th anniversary celebrations. [8]

Coaching career

Howe retired from playing and became Arsenal's reserve team coach under Bertie Mee, then stepping up to first team coach after the departure of Dave Sexton in October 1967. Arsenal won the Double in 1971 with Howe playing a crucial role. [7]

Bertie Mee English footballer and manager

Bertram Mee OBE was an English footballer who played as a winger for Derby County and Mansfield Town. Mee was also a manager, noted for leading Arsenal to their first Double win in 1971.

David James Sexton OBE was an English football manager and player.

The Double, in association football, is the achievement of winning a country's top tier division and its primary cup competition in the same season. The lists in this article examine this definition of a double, while derivative sections examine much less frequent, continental instances. The Double can also mean beating a team both home and away in the same league season, a feat often noted as doing the double over a particular opponent.

Not long afterward he returned to his old club, West Bromwich Albion, as manager. Howe's tenure at WBA was not a success, as the club were relegated to Division Two in 1973. Howe then joined Leeds United as a coach, later becoming assistant manager under Jimmy Armfield, before moving on to manage Turkish club Galatasaray in 1975. Howe rejoined Arsenal in 1977 as head coach, under Terry Neill. [7]

After Neill's sacking on 16 December 1983, Howe became Arsenal caretaker-manager and was appointed permanently after the game against Leicester City on 28 April 1984. Despite introducing young players including Tony Adams, David Rocastle and Niall Quinn to the team during the mid-1980s, he was unable to win trophies, as Arsenal finished either 6th or 7th under him, although they did briefly top the league in October 1984. [7]

After just over two years in the job, Howe resigned on 22 March 1986, shortly after Arsenal's match against Coventry City. George Graham succeeded him. This was subsequent to circulated reports that the board were looking at the time at FC Barcelona manager Terry Venables. [7]

Howe later joined Wimbledon as assistant to Bobby Gould in 1987, and helped them win the FA Cup with a shock win over Liverpool in 1988. His coaching expertise earned him a great deal of credit for Wimbledon's cup triumph. [9]

Howe then left Wimbledon to manage QPR between November 1989 and May 1991, with Gould briefly assisting him in the first half of the 1990–91 season. [9]

Shortly after leaving QPR, he became assistant manager to Terry Butcher at Coventry City and became manager in January 1992 when Butcher was sacked. Howe secured a place in the new FA Premier League for Coventry, who missed relegation by one place, and just after the end of the 1991–92 season Gould rejoined him as joint manager of the Highfield Road club. However, Howe resigned as manager before the 1992–93 season began. [9] He returned to Arsenal in 1997 as part of the Academy setup wherein as the head youth coach. [7]

Howe also moved into journalism and broadcasting, becoming a pundit for Channel 4's coverage of Serie A. [10]

International career

As a defender, he featured regularly in the England national football team. Howe played in the 1958 FIFA World Cup, and altogether won 23 caps in total for the Three Lions. [9] [11]

He became part of the England national team's coaching setup in 1981, working under Ron Greenwood. When Greenwood retired a year later, Howe continued to work for the national team under new manager Bobby Robson. [9] [11]

Howe became assistant for England under Terry Venables from January 1994 to June 1996, finishing with England's semi final appearance as host nation at Euro 96. [9] [11]


Howe retired from coaching in the summer of 2003 after more than 30 years. [1] He though still ran youth coaching schemes across the United Kingdom. He occasionally wrote as a pundit for the BBC Sport website. He also held a regular column in the official Arsenal magazine.

Towards the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008, he worked with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) as part of a three-man panel to appoint Giovanni Trapattoni as the new national team manager. [12]


Howe died, aged 80, in December 2015. [11]




West Bromwich Albion [1]


Assistant Manager

Arsenal [1] [13]





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  2. "Football: Survivor with the know-how: Simon O'Hagan meets Don Howe, the enduring figure in England's coaching set-up". The Independent. 4 September 1994.
  3. "Voice of cycling is taking to the ice". Shop Shire
  4. 1 2 3 "Don Howe". England Football
  5. Soccer Who's Who compiled by Maurice Golesworthy Sportsmans Book Club London 1965
  6. 1 2 Matthews, Tony (2005). The Who's Who of West Bromwich Albion. Breedon Books. p. 117. ISBN   1-85983-474-4.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Don Howe: Profile". Arsenal F.C. Archived from the original on 4 November 2016.
  8. "The wraps come off 125th anniversary mural". West Bromwich Albion F.C. 4 August 2004. Archived from the original on 2 February 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Football: Survivor with the know-how". The Independent.
  10. Honeyball, Lee (7 September 2003). "First and last". The Observer. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  11. 1 2 3 4 "Don Howe: Former Arsenal and England coach dies aged 80". BBC Sport. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  12. "Ireland happy to break bank to land Trapattoni". The Independent .
  13. "The greatest night Highbury ever witnessed - Arsenal 3-0 Anderlecht, 1970".
  14. "Thomas debt of gratitude to Howe". Express and
  15. "Young Gunners keep their Cup". The Guardian .