After lifting the League Cup at Wembley, Town made just one major signing, with the club’s record transfer fee being broken - at a reported £17,500 ! Newcastle United striker ARTHUR HORSFIELD arrived, forming an excellent partnership with fellow ex-Magpie Peter Noble, the two accounting for more than a hundred goals for the club in three seasons.
Arthur’s haul in 1969/70 was an impressive 28, as Town came within five points of reaching the top flight, reached the Sixth Round of the F.A.Cup and won two Anglo-Italian trophies into the bargain !
He scored twice on his home debut against Carlisle United and grabbed some vital goals in a four-month unbeaten League run. In back-to-back away victories over two promotion rivals, Arthur beat Peter Shilton twice in a 2-0 win at Leicester’s Filbert Street. “I got a hat-trick actually ! I scored twice and punched one in - but unfortunately the referee noticed it,” he joked. Arthur then notched the winner at Sheffield United.
And in what proved to be a promotion decider, when Blackpool came to the County Ground on April 7, his fourth minute strike almost raised the roof of the old Tattoo Stand on Shrivenham Road. Sadly, most of the 28,520 who squeezed in that evening were left deflated when the Seasiders equalised and Swindon failed to make the top two. But the season wasn’t over for Arthur. Having grabbed a hat-trick against AS Roma in the Anglo-Italian Cup Winners Cup in September, he helped himself to another brace when Juventus arrived in Swindon in the Inter League Cup in May.
In the following season, Town only finished in mid-table, despite recording no less than seven 3-0 wins. On one such occasion, Arthur scored twice in the first 13 minutes to sink Middlesbrough - the club where he began his career and scored on his debut, just two months after his 17th birthday. In Boro’s 1966/67 promotion season, Arthur grabbed 22 in only 33 League appearances and averaged a goal every other game during his five and a half years at Ayresome Park.
But he had been with Newcastle just four months when Town boss Danny Williams talked Joe Harvey into letting the 22 year old come south.
Arthur left the County Ground in June 1972, when Swindon signed Eire international Ray Treacy from Charlton. Arthur went in the opposite direction and it proved to be a happy Valley for him as he was ‘ever-present’ for three seasons and top scorer in two. His goal tally for 1972/73 was 29.
After dropping back to centre-half, he moved to Watford in September 1975 and two years later quit League football to become player-coach at Dartford, where fellow Geordie Graham Carr was manager. He progressed to youth team coach and reserve team manager when an ankle injury forced him to hang up his boots. But when Arthur’s hopes of following Carr to a League club were dashed, he turned his attentions away from football.
He joined a local residents association and then took a job with Parcel Force in Canterbury. Arthur, now 62, still lives in Kent, but after seven years as a shift manager for Royal Mail, retired last December. He now has three children and seven grandchildren, but tragically lost his wife Maria through breast cancer in 2004.