by Andy Kelly
On 24 November 1967 Bertie Mee told the Daily Mirror that Arsenal were no longer interested in signing Don Rogers from Swindon Town. At the time Swindon were looking to cash in on the 22 year old winger who had asked for a transfer having been their top scorer the previous season and with 11 in 21 games at this point of the season.
Mee had obviously been interested as he had made five bids in total but none had matched Swindon’s valuation, with figures of £90,000 to £110,000 being speculated in the press. Huge figures when you consider he was plying his trade in the third division and the record fee paid by a British club at the time was £115,000.
As a further rebuff, the Arsenal manager said that he didn’t think that Rogers was consistent enough to play top flight football.
Less than 18 months later Mee would be left wondering if he should have tried a little harder to sign Rogers after he tormented the Arsenal defence as he helped Swindon cause one of the biggest cup final upsets in English footballing history.
In March 1969 Arsenal met Swindon in the League Cup final at Wembley. What should have been a formality turned out to be a re-enactment of David and Goliath as a combination of a churned up pitch and Arsenal players suffering with the flu gave Rogers the opportunity to run riot and score two of Swindon’s three goals.
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