Arsenal Football Club is one of the most successful in the history of English football. Only Manchester United and Liverpool have won more English top-flight titles than the Gunners. Many players have played critical roles in the team from north London’s success, some for decades. Here are the top ten players who have represented the Gunners on the most occasions:
David O’Leary (724 appearances from 1975–1993)
The centre-back made his Arsenal first-team debut in 1975 at the age of just 17, having served an apprenticeship at the north London club. He made 30 appearances in his maiden campaign and went on to make over 40 appearances per season for the next decade for the Gunners until he picked up an injury at 27.
During his time with the club, O’Leary picked up English top-flight title winners medals in seasons 1988/89 and 1990/91, as well as the FA Cup twice in 1979 and 1993, while also winning the League Cup in 1987 and 1993.
Tony Adams (672 appearances from 1983–2002)
Adams was the epitome of the one-club man, representing the club for nearly two decades and becoming a club legend in the process. Like O’Leary, Adams came through the ranks at the north London club and made his debut at just 17 in 1983.
Adams played a crucial role in Arsenal’s success in different eras. The centre-back helped the Gunners to four English top-flight titles in 1989, 1991, 1998 and 2002. During his time with the club, he also won the FA Cup three times, the League Cup twice and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994.
The former England international’s legacy with the club is assured by the fact that the club erected a statue of the defender outside their home, the Emirates Stadium.
George Armstrong (621 appearances from 1961–1977)
Armstrong started his career as an amateur at Newcastle before moving to Arsenal in 1961, where he enjoyed a successful career. He was another player who made his debut for the club at just 17.
The winger scored a respectable 53 times in the English top flight, aiding the Gunners’ successful bid for the English top-flight title in 1971 and finishing as a runner-up in the First Division on two occasions.
Armstrong won the FA Cup with Arsenal in the same year he won the title while also winning the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1970.
Lee Dixon (621 appearances from 1988–2002)
The reliable full-back, like Adams, was a mainstay of the Arsenal defence in the club’s successful periods under George Graham and Arsene Wenger after joining the club from Stoke City in 1988. The highlight of Dixon’s Arsenal career was winning the English top-flight title on four occasions.
He also won the FA Cup three times and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994. On an individual basis, Dixon was named in the English top-flight team of the season in 1990 and 1991.
At international level, Dixon made 22 appearances for England, but he never appeared in an international tournament with the Three Lions in his nine-year international career.
Nigel Winterburn (587 appearances from 1987–2000)
The full-back was a member of Arsenal’s famous back four along with Dixon, Adams and Steve Bould, whom Martin Keown later replaced. Like Dixon on the opposite flank, Winterburn was a highly reliable performer.
Winterburn cost Arsenal £350,000 when he arrived at Arsenal from Wimbledon in 1987. He started his Gunners career at right-back before switching flanks to the left, where he spent the rest of his Arsenal career.
During his time with the north London club, Winterburn won three English top-flight titles, the FA Cup twice, the League Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Somewhat surprisingly, considering his consistency for Arsenal throughout his Gunners career, Winterburn made just two appearances for England in a spell from 1989 to 1993.
David Seaman (564 appearances from 1990–2003)
The former England goalkeeper occupied the position between the sticks behind Arsenal’s now iconic back four. Seaman joined the Gunners in 1990 from QPR for a then-British record fee for a goalkeeper of £1.3m.
Seaman was part of the defence that conceded just 18 goals in the title-winning team of 1991. He went on to claim two more English crowns in 1998 and 2002. He helped guide his team to the FA Cup on four occasions while also winning the League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup.
As an individual, David Seaman was named in the PFA Team of the Year in 1991 and 1997 while finishing as the Premier League goalkeeper with the most clean sheets in seasons 1993/94 and 1998/99.
Pat Rice (528 appearances from 1964–1980)
The former Northern Ireland international became a club stalwart first for his time in north London as a player before moving onto the club’s backroom staff after his retirement from playing. Like many on this list, Rice came through the youth ranks at Arsenal and made his first-team debut in 1967.
Although his playing career was not quite as trophy-laden as some on this list, Rice still collected a First Division winners medal in 1971 and helped his side to win the FA Cup in the same season, as well as picking up another winner’s medal in the competition in 1979.
Peter Storey (501 appearances from 1965–1977)
The versatile Storey was another Arsenal youth product. He made his Gunners debut in 1965 and represented the north London club for 15 years. Storey played a part in the Gunners’ double of FA Cup and First Division titles in 1971.
He also won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1970 and finished as a runner in the League Cup in 1968 and 1969, as well as FA Cup in 1972 and the First Division in 1973.
Storey also played 19 times for England between 1971 and 1973, having previously featured for England Schoolboys on two occasions.
John Radford (481 appearances from 1964–1976)
The Yorkshire-born centre-forward joined Arsenal as an apprentice in 1962 and made his first-team debut in 1964 against West Ham. In 1965 Radford became the youngest Arsenal player to ever score a hat-trick at just 17 years and 315 days as he fired home his treble in a win over Wolves, which is a record that still stands.
The highlights of Radford’s Arsenal career were winning the double with the Gunners in 1971 and picking up a winners medal the year before in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.
Peter Simpson (477 appearances from 1964–1978)
Like teammate Radford, Simpson was an apprentice with the club before making his debut in 1964 in a 4-2 defeat against Chelsea. After losing in the League Cup final in both 1968 and 1969, the centre half experienced the winning feeling first in 1970 when his team won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, then, of course in the club’s famous double in 1971, when they won both the First Division and the FA Cup.
Simpson never won an international cap with England, despite being named in some of Sir Alf Ramsey’s Three Lions squads in season 1969/70.