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Preben Arentoft (1968/69 to 1971/72)

Preben Arentoft
Preben Arentoft
Bth 01/11/42 Copenhagen Denmark
P/H Midfield 5ft 7in
Jnd 05/03/69 Morton £18,000
Deb 02/04/69 Tottenham (H) D1
Dep 28/09/71 Blackburn £25,000
App/Gls 59 3

Preben was not spectacular nor blessed with an abundance of skill, but he was an industrious team player who could always be relied on to give 100%. Small and stocky, he was a tiger in midfield who utilised his great stamina to cover every blade of grass.

Whatever he lacked in class he made up for in running power and tenacity. A player’s player who operated box-to-box, constantly fetching and carrying. Could be a little susceptible to heavy tackling.

As well as creating he was always ready to destroy, always ready to pick up the man in the dangerous position. Supremely fit, his work-rate and defensive qualities were particularly useful in away games.

At the time English clubs were not allowed to sign "foreign" players, but the deal for Arentoft was sanctioned because he had spent two-and-a-half-years in Scotland and had married a Scottish girl.

”Quiet man” Benny played in both legs of both the Semi-Final and Final of the Fairs Cup and scored United’s equaliser in Budapest. And he was delighted when the players sang “Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen” during the post-match celebrations.

He won his first Danish cap in 1965, but when he moved to Scotland and became a professional he no longer qualified because of the Danes amateurism rules. He was recalled in 1971 when their rules changed.

Preben had many strings to his bow; as well as being a trained accountant he was also a spare time journalist (working for Danish papers reporting back on Danish players playing in Britain) and an art-dealer (selling original work from Danish painters).

Preben Arentoft

Pre Toon

Started at Bronshoj BK in Denmark and moved to Morton when he was 22. Played 137 times for the Scots.

1968/69 (14)

Signed from Morton in February in a "landmark" deal, with his two-and-a-half-year stint in Scotland allowing him to bypass the "no foreigners" rule. His work rate, hard running and experience added a real zip to United's midfield in the closing months of the season.

1969/70 (27/5)

Many thought that Smith's arrival would see him squeezed out, but he responded magnificently and produced consistently good performances at the start of the season. But Ben’s form dropped markedly and he lost his place in the side. He turned down a move to Portsmouth at the end of the campaign with Harvey stressing that he was welcome to stay and take up the two-year option on his contract: "I can always use him here - he can always do a job for us“.

1970/71 (18)

Recalled to the first team when Jimmy Smith was out of favour, but made his last appearance for the club in the defeat at Nottingham Forest in January.


Moved to Blackburn in September.


Painting by Piotr