Jon Sammels never played in a final or picked up any medals as a Leicester player, but before with Arsenal and after with Vancouver Whitecaps, he appeared in finals and special events in football.
His last game for Leicester was in a FA Cup 3rd round win vs. Hull, it was on the 7th of January 1978 away at Boothferry Park. Frank McLintock, a prevous team mate of Jon at Arsenal, was the Leicester manager and two other Double winners from 1971 were also playing, Eddie Kelly and George Armstrong, all for Leicester. So four of Arsenal’s squad of 71 were either in charge or in the team.
Jon Sammels joined Leicester in 1971 and all of his 241 league appearances for the club were played in the top flight. Leicester manager Jimmy Bloomfield paid Arsenal £100.000 for Sammels who became an instant hit at Filbert Street after being a bit on the fringe at Highbury in his latter seasons.
Sammels did not appear in that iconic FA Cup final with Charlie George scoring one of the goals and Eddie Kelly who did play for Leicester with Jon in his last appearance, was also on the field alongside Jon when he appeared for the last time for Arsenal, so were Frank McLintock and George Armstrong.
He was dropped from the FA Cup final team making his last appearance for Arsenal in a league game vs. West Bromwich on the 24th of April 1971, a 2-2 draw at The Hawthorns. The game holds a special fun fact as Asa Hartford scored two goals, one proper and an own goal for West Bromwich. Sammels was a second half sub for Pat Rice, playing alongside Frank McLintock, who scored, and George Armstrong, both at Boothferry Park in this game seven years later.
Jon Sammels appeared just a year after, at the age of 34, in a very special event in NASL Soccer as his team Vancouver Whitecaps did surprisingly win the Soccer Bowl in front of 50 000 at Giants Stadium. Jon was un unused sub in the final and did sit it out on the bench alongside goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar who later would be one of the most iconic goalkeepers in English football.
Football is a strange game and NASL did put together teams that you just would today see in fantasy football. It was a melting bowl of older and younger players with ability that at the time did see this as the best option of their trade and it became a bit of hidden secrets in the history of football.
Jon Sammels is to our notice the only Leicester player to have won the Soccer Bowl, and of course unique in that way, as we all know that a great number of the clubs best players did move over the pond to play.
Sammels returned to England after the 1979 final and continued to play in non-league action for Nuneaton Borough until 1982.
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