What can you say about Frank McLintock? He was a player who led by example who demanded every last ounce of sweat from each of the players.
That was once McLintock moved positions and five years after being signed by the club. At first the Scottish wing half struggled in the team, not because of his enthusiasm or commitment but his positional sense would often leave his teammates under pressure.
In time however, McLintock began to mature and a change of position to centre back due to an injury crisis, brought the best out of the Scottish international and turned him into a class centre back.
He was made club captain and was everything that Arsenal supporters would want from their leader. McLintock was excellent at reading the game, and his commitment was second to none. He would always be geeing up his teammates, and dragging the team forward. His performance during the second leg of the Fairs Cup in 1970 was one of the reasons Arsenal managed to overturn a 3-1 first leg loss to Anderlecht. Having been completely outplayed, the club managed to win the second leg 3-0 and secure the club’s first major trophy for 17 years. McLintock was a colossus in that second leg, and made sure his teammates knew what was expected of them as they came through to win 4-3 on aggregate.
A year later Arsenal won the League and FA Cup double. McLintock was immense that season, he was a player on top of his game. Arsenal had built a team on a solid defence and claimed ten 1-0 victories that season. The strength of the defence especially McLintock was incredible, the Scotsman had a great leap and was phenomenal in the air while his positioning meant he was rarely beaten.
Who could forget the club securing the league at White Hart Lane with another 1-0 win, followed by the FA Cup final win. This epitomised what McLintock was all about. With the team going 1-0 down in extra time to Liverpool, the Scottish centre-back roared, fist clenched at his teammates to get back into the match. The team responded and Arsenal went on to win 2-1, Charlie George scoring the winner from 25 yards.
McLintock’s contribution that year was incredible as he was named Footballer of the Year. He had played 63 times that season for the club in all competitions and his desire never faltered.
When he finally left the club in 1973 he had written himself as one of Arsenal’s greatest legends, playing 403 times and scoring 32 goals.
A truly great leader and an immense centre-back for the club, McLintock is without doubt an Arsenal great.