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In memory of Theo Foley

Theo Foley

The PFA are saddened by the passing of former Republic of Ireland and Northampton defender Theo Foley, aged 83.

It was Exeter City who gave a young Foley his break into the professional game at just 17 years old, making his debut against Norwich City in 1955. 

Foley moved to Northampton by the early 1960's, a key figure in the clubs move from third division football to first division in the 1965-66 season - notably, this is still the only season the club have played at the top flight of English football, with Foley making 31 appearances. 

He was a proud Dubliner, who represented the Republic of Ireland, winning 9 caps. 

Foley stayed at Northampton for six seasons, making 220 appearances and scoring 11 times, before finishing his playing career at Charlton Athletic.

In 1970, Foley began his managerial career at Charlton Athletic, before taking charge at Millwall . However, it was his later return as assistant manager at Millwall, that led to an auspicious link-up with George Graham. Milwall were then bottom of the old Third Division when the duo started together, managing to turn the side around in a short period of time—they avoided relegation that season. The following year, in 1984–85, they secured promotion to the old Second Division.

When Graham moved to Arsenal in 1986, there was no question in him taking Foley with him as assistant manager. The duo would go on to make footballing history, when Michael Thomas would score the title-winning goal at Anfield in 1989, denying Liverpool the league title - a game that is deemed one of the most dramatic finishes to a league, to this day.

After his time at Arsenal, Foley returned to coach at his old club Northampton, as well as Fulham, Southend and Spurs. 

The thoughts and condolences of everyone at the PFA are with Theo's family and friends.


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