Arnie Mitchell will always remain a colossus in the annals of Exeter City. A specialist wing-half who nevertheless appeared in all 11 positions for the Grecians, he captained the side to the first promotion in their professional history when they rose from the basement division in 1964, and his total of 516 League and cup appearances is a club record.
The Yorkshireman, a steely, dynamic competitor but a gentle character, joined Sheffield Wednesday as a teenaged amateur but made little impact there or with Derby County and Nottingham Forest, who signed him in 1950. It wasn't until recruited by Notts County in May 1951 that Mitchell was granted his first League outing, and then only one, before he was transferred to Exeter in the summer of 1952.
Arriving as a penetrative right-winger, he thrived in the Third Division South, contributing 10 goals in his first season. Thereafter, successive managers utilised his versatility, shifting him around the team at need, including an unbeaten 11-minute emergency stint between the posts when goalkeeper Geoff Morton was injured at Southend in September 1954.
Mitchell was at his best as a driving, inspirational midfielder, the role from which he captained Exeter to promotion when they finished fourth, two points behind Fourth Division champions, Gillingham, in 1964. It was unfitting that his League career should end on a down-note, when the Grecians were relegated in 1966. Later Mitchell, who was awarded the Freedom of Exeter, played for Taunton Town until breaking his leg, after which he became an able amateur golfer.
Arnold Mitchell, footballer: born Rotherham 1 December 1929; played for Notts County 1951-52, Exeter City 1952-66; died Devon 19 October 2014.Reuse content