Joe Haverty: Skilful Arsenal and Republic of Ireland left-winger known for his trickery and dribbling

There was an impudent twinkle about the football of the tiny Irish winger Joe Haverty which was sorely needed during a distinctly lacklustre interlude in Arsenal's history.

Occasionally the 5ft 3in Dubliner, who wore the Gunners' No 11 shirt on and off throughout the second half of the 1950s and into the following decade, overdid his trademark trickery, losing the ball and with it the team's attacking impetus. When that happened there would be catcalls from the terraces, but such was his charm, as both performer and personality, that frequently he redeemed himself with a sudden enchanting manoeuvre, and once more he was the laughing left-winger who could dribble his way into all but the hardest of hearts.

Haverty was recruited by Arsenal as an 18-year-old in the summer of 1954 from St Patrick's Athletic, one of his home city's leading clubs, and the Highbury manager Tom Whittaker was so impressed by his potential that he pitched him into top-flight action that August. It soon became evident that although the newcomer was a remarkably skilful manipulator of a football, he was not ready for a regular berth at a time when the Gunners were going through a difficult period of transition following the break-up of their 1952-53 title-winning team.

Thus it was not until 1956-57 that Haverty was granted a regular run in the First Division, by which time he had made an explosive entry on to the international stage, scoring for the Republic of Ireland with a rasping volley in a 4-1 triumph over the Netherlands. That debut strike was followed by another on his third outing in emerald green, though this prolific strike rate would not be maintained over the next decade of intermittent service to his country: he finished with only three goals in his 32 games.

Still, Haverty's form earned him a place in the London XI which contested the first Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the forerunner to the modern Uefa Cup, and he scored against Lausanne Sports in the semi-final, though he was not picked for the 1958 final against Barcelona.

Back at domestic level, a combination of managerial experiments and recurring back problems limited his input until 1959-60, when he enjoyed the most productive season of his life, missing only a handful of games and contributing eight League goals. He set up plenty, too, for the likes of his fellow attackers David Herd, Jimmy Bloomfield and Vic Groves, continuing to please the crowd with his pace, guile and knack of crossing accurately. But Arsenal, now managed by George Swindin, were mired in mid-table mediocrity.

Perhaps understandably in view of his size, "Little Joe" – nicknamed after a character in the popular television western series Bonanza – was not too keen on mixing it physically with muscular defenders and he had a distinctive way of hopping from their path. This habit was marked one yuletide by the arrival at Highbury of a Christmas card addressed to Haverty picturing a spectacularly agile kangaroo. To his credit, he laughed louder at the joke than anyone else, a reflection of his engagingly easy-going nature.

However, such personal popularity could not preserve his place, as an increasingly desperate Swindin sought a more consistent player to patrol the left touchline. In August 1961, still aged only 25, Haverty was sold to their top-tier rivals Blackburn Rovers for £17,500.

He never settled at Ewood Park, and in September 1962 he returned to London to play for Third Division Millwall, with whom he flourished for two years, prompting Celtic to offer him a month's trial.

Rejected by the Bhoys after only one appearance, he enlisted with Bristol Rovers in December 1964, but made little impact for the Pirates and crossed the Irish Sea to join Shelbourne in Dublin, where he played until his international days ended in December 1966. Stints with Chicago Spurs, Kansas City Spurs and Shamrock Rovers followed before he laid aside his boots as a 34-year-old in 1970.

Haverty, who was inaugurated into the Football Association of Ireland's Hall of Fame in 2000, later revived his link with Arsenal by scouting for the club.



Joseph Haverty, footballer: born Dublin 17 February 1936; played for Arsenal 1954-61, Blackburn Rovers 1961-62, Millwall 1962-64, Celtic 1964, Bristol Rovers 1964-65; Shelbourne 1965-67, Chicago/ Kansas City Spurs 1967-68, Shamrock Rovers 1969-70; capped 32 times by the Republic of Ireland 1956-66; married (three daughters); died London 7 February 2009.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower