The ultimate City Centurion.
44 goals, 495 appearances, but only one Arnold Mitchell.
A fresh faced 22-year-old Arnold first arrived at St James Park in July 1952 with just one professional football appearance under his belt, despite having been on the books of three clubs – Derby, Nottingham Forest and Notts County – before arriving in Devon.
Desperate to play and prove himself, Arnold played wherever manager Norman Kirkman asked him too across the pitch, endearing himself to the City faithful with his committed, enthusiastic performances.
After trying out a number of positions, even playing in goal when first choice keeper Geoff Morton was injured mid-game against Southend in 1954, Arnold eventually settled at right wing-half (now called a right winger), where he would make the majority of his City appearances. One of Arnold’s most likeable assets was his encouragement and belief in his fellow players, which lead to him being appointed captain of the club in the late 1950s.
Arnold’s legendary status was confirmed in 1964, when he captained the first ever Exeter City side to win promotion as the team finished 4th in the Fourth Division, with the captain making 38 starts and scoring twice.
Towards the end of the 1965/66 season Arnold requested a transfer away from City as his influence in the side began to wane, and he couldn’t get into the starting eleven as much as he would’ve liked. Arnold left on a free transfer to Taunton Town in the summer of 1966, aged 35, but he never managed to consistently play football again, suffering a devastating leg break soon after his move.
After retiring, Arnold remained in Exeter for the rest of his life, and he was voted the Grecians’ all-time greatest captain in 2013 before being inducted into City’s Hall of Fame a year later.
Arnold sadly passed away in October 2014 at the age of 84. It is highly unlikely any player will ever beat his appearance record. He is, and always will be, the greatest ever.
ALWAYS A GRECIAN