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29 Dec 2018

Arsène Wenger remembers Peter Hill-Wood, Former Arsenal chairman who appointed him, dies aged 82

Peter Hill-Wood, the former Arsenal chairman who presided over the appointments of George Graham and Arsene Wenger, has passed away at the age of 82.

Hill-Wood, who stepped down as chairman after 31 years in 2013, oversaw a period of sustained success in north London that included five league titles, five FA Cups, a League Cup triumph and victory in the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

In a statement, Arsenal said Hill-Wood was instrumental in the formation of the Premier League in 1992 and also in the club’s move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium.

As well as the club’s trophy-winning success, Hill-Wood is famed for his response to the last-minute goal that secured the title for Arsenal against Liverpool at Anfield in the final match of the 1988-1989 season.

As Michael Thomas struck the decisive goal in stoppage time, Hill-Wood is said to have puffed on a cigar and said “never in doubt”.

He said in 2013: “Yes, I believe I did say that, but believe me I was not calm inside during that game! I also recall being very keen to get a glass of champagne and initially there was none available - everyone from Liverpool was very glum. I have to say, though, that eventually they were very good and even took champagne into our dressing room.”

Hill-Wood, who was educated at Eton College, joined the Arsenal board in 1962. He became chairman 20 years later following the death of his father, Denis, and became the third member of his family to hold the position. Sir Samuel Hill-Wood, his grandfather, had served as chairman from 1927 until 1936.

“As we celebrate the unique achievement of 100 consecutive years in the top flight this season, the Hill-Wood family were at the helm for the lion’s share of this special century, a testament to their tenacity and judgement in ensuring we have remained a significant force in English football for so long,” Arsenal said.

Hill-Wood was criticised by some supporters in the latter years of his reign as chairman, and was heckled for his demeanour when questioned at an annual shareholders’ meeting in 2012. He famously responded to a question about whether changes would be made to the club’s all-male, ageing board by saying: “Thank you for your interest in our affairs.”

Arsenal will wear black armbands for their meeting with Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday, and for their home fixture against Fulham on Tuesday, when there will also be a minute’s silence.

“Peter and his family’s influence on the club cannot be understated, but at this most difficult time for his family and friends, it is Peter the man who we remember with great fondness,” Arsenal said. “Our thoughts are with his wife Sally and his children Sarah, Julian and Charles.”

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