Without doubt, there is a time for exit; for Peter Hill-Wood, the time is now. The legendary story of the man who appointed Arsene Wenger as Arsenal FC manager

The tag “Gunner-for-life” is cherished by all lovers and fans of the North London football club, Arsenal FC. It is widely accepted as salutation meme for many of them. However, for Peter, the former chairman of the club, who passed on recently; it is a family tradition.

Peter is the third generation of the Hill-Woods to manage the affairs of the Pride of London. Denis Hill-Wood, Peter’s father was the chairman between 1962 and 1982, the year of his demise. Also before Denis, in two separate spans of time, was Samuel. Samuel, Peter’s grandfather was the chairman of the club first, from 1929 to 1936 and second, from 1946 to 1949.

Peter’s time as the chairman was very successful. Apart from overseeing the club’s move from the Highbury Stadium to the new and magnificent Emirates, his appointment of unknown Frenchman, Arsene Wenger as the club’s manager, proved rewarding.

Before Wenger came George Graham. Under Peter, George brought huge success to the gunners. He won two league titles, the FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup. At about Peter’s retirement in 2013, Wenger had improved on the image of the club with more trophies and records.

The Frenchman totaled 7 trophies which include three Premier League titles and four FA Cups while Peter was chairman. There was also that most remarkable of achievement; the unbeaten season in 2003/04.

Beyond the club, the former Arsenal chairman also contributed in no little measure to the evolution of the English Premiership era. That was the transformation from Division One League to the Premier League in 1992.

Hill-Wood was born in Kensington, London. His father, three uncles and grandfather all played first-class cricket for Derbyshire County Cricket Club. He attended Eton College where he was a classmate of former Arsenal director Sir Roger Gibbs. He then served in the Coldstream Guards.

After leaving the Guards, Hill-Wood entered the banking industry, eventually rising to become a vice-chairman of Hambros Bank, having previously been in charge of its investment division. Hill-Wood sold much of his family holdings in the club to former vice-chairman David Dein in the 1980s and 1990s and the rest to Stan Kroenke.

On 14 June 2013 Hill-Wood stepped down and was replaced as chairman by Keswick. On 2 December 2012, Arsenal announced Hill-Wood had suffered a heart attack and was recovering in hospital. On 28 December 2018, it was reported that Hill-Wood had died, aged 82.  

Resources: arsenal.com, wikipedia.com


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