Jeff Blockley


Jeff Blockley

Jeffrey Paul "Jeff" Blockley (born 12 September 1949) is an English former footballer.

Blockley was born in Leicester but began his career with Coventry City, joining the Sky Blues in 1968. A central defender, he played nearly 150 league matches for Coventry and was capped by the England U23 side. In October 1972 he was snapped up by Arsenal in October 1972 for a fee of £200,000, as the intended replacement for former captain Frank McLintock. He made his debut for Arsenal in a 1-0 loss to Sheffield United on October 7 1972, and four days later made his full England debut, against Yugoslavia, which finished 1-1.

However despite this meteoric rise, Blockley's stay at Arsenal was not a happy one. McLintock had been a linchpin in Arsenal's defence and a fans' favourite, while Blockley's performances in a red and white shirt were notoriously inconsistent, including a disastrous mistake in an FA Cup semi-final against Sunderland in 1972-73 which allowed Vic Halom to score; Sunderland ran out 2-1 winners. [cite web
url=http://sporting-heroes.net/football-heroes/displayhero_club.asp?HeroID=191
title=Jeff Blockley
work=Football-heroes.net

] After McLintock left for QPR in the summer of 1973, Blockley became first-choice in central defence, and Arsenal experienced one of their poorest seasons in recent history; knocked out of both cups by lower-division sides, Arsenal eventually finishing tenth in the First Division.

Frustrated, many of the club's fans laid the blame at Blockley's feet (Nick Hornby recounts in his memoir "Fever Pitch" that Blockley was "an incompetent to rival Ian Ure" [cite book |

author=Hornby, Nick | title=Fever Pitch | publisher=Indigo | year=1992 | id=ISBN 1-84018-900-2
pages=p.78
] ); Bertie Mee would later reflect that signing Blockley was the worst mistake he ever made as Arsenal manager. [cite book

author=Soar, Phil & Tyler, Martin
title=The Official Illustrated History of Arsenal
publisher=Hamlyn | year=2005
id=ISBN 0-600-61344-5
pages=p.133
] Blockley's days at Arsenal were numbered – though he was still at Arsenal at the start of the 1974-75 season, he was dropped to allow the promising David O'Leary to come through, and placed on the transfer list. In January 1975 Blockley was sold to Leicester City for £100,000. In all he played 62 matches for the Gunners, scoring one goal. His England cap against Yugoslavia proved to be his only one.

At Leicester, Blockley had somewhat of a mini-renaissance, helping rescue the side from relegation that season, helping them finish seventh in 1975-76, and eventually becoming club captain. However, injuries continually troubled him and it was clear he would not last forever in the top flight. After 75 league matches in three and a half seasons, he left in 1978 for Notts County, where he spent two seasons, playing 57 league games, before quitting football aged 31.

After retiring, Blockley did not opt for a career in coaching or management and instead became a salesman for a power transmission company. He now owns his own business, Transmech. [cite web

url=http://www.ynw62.dial.pipex.com/where48.htm
title=Where are they now?
work=Bob's 70-71 Footballers
]

Footnotes

References

*cite book
author=Harris, Jeff & Hogg, Tony (ed.)
title=Arsenal Who's Who
publisher=Independent UK Sports
year=1995
id=ISBN 1-899429-03-4


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