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18 February 2009

Fred Clarke

Name: Frederick Robert George Clarke
Born: 4 November 1941, Kilpike, Banbridge
Height: 5.07 ft
Weight: 10.00 st
Position: Full-Back

Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 4 Under-23 Caps (1962-1965), 1 Amateur Cap (1960), Youth; Irish League: 3 Caps (1960-1966).

Club Career:
Teams..... --Seasons-- Signed --Fee-- -League- FA Cup FL Cup Europe Other
Arsenal... 61/62-64/65 Nov-60 £ 5,000 .26(0)/0 2(0)/0
Glenavon.............. Nov-65

Freddie Clarke won youth international honours and established himself in Irish League football as a teenager. Small but fast, in 1960 he was part of the Glenavon squad that traveled to the America for the New York Tournament. Shortly after his return from the US he was selected for an Amateur international and represented the Irish League.

In November 1960 Clarke transferred to Arsenal along with Glenavon club-mate, Jack McClelland. Clarke spent four seasons at Highbury, mainly in the reserves. He acted as understudy to Northern Ireland internationals Eddie Magill and Billy McCullough. He made his debut as stand-in left-back for McCullough in a 5-4 defeat by Aston Villa in March 1962. That was his only appearance of the season and the next two campaigns brought five outings each.

Although his outings in domestic football were sporadic, Clarke did earn inclusion in the Northern Ireland Under-23 team. In all he made four appearances, an equal record, at both left and right-back, all against Wales. He was granted his first Under-23 cap in a 0-0 draw with Wales at Windsor Park as a late stand-in for Burnley's Alex Elder who was on club duty.

Clarke's best campaign for Arsenal was 1964/65 when McCullough was ruled out by injuries for a lengthy period. That season he made seventeen appearances, more than the previous three seasons combined. In November 1965 Clarke returned to Glenavon having made less than thirty firstteam appearances. At reserve level he did collect medals in the Metropolitan Profesional Cup, Metropolitan League Cup, Football Combination, London FA Cup and Sheriff of London Shield.

After returning to Glenavon Clarke was again selected to represent the Irish League. His return proved a disastrous day for the Irish who were defeated 12-0 by the Football League at Home Park, Plymouth.

With football behind him, Clarke spent over thirty years working in administration with Dromore-based construction firm, Graham.

Irish Gunners

Northern Ireland Under-23 Cap Details:
07-02-1962 Wales... H D 0-0 FR
27-02-1963 Wales... A L 1-5 FR
05-02-1964 Wales... H D 3-3 FR
10-02-1965 Wales... A D 2-2 FR

Summary: 4/0. Won 0, Drew 3, Lost 1.

Northern Ireland Amateur Cap Details:
24-09-1960 England. A L 2-3

Summary: 1/0. Won 0, Drew 0, Lost 1.

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