Ferguson to lead Lyall tributes

MANCHESTER United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and ex-England international Sir Trevor Brooking are set to lead the tributes at John Lyall's memorial service today.

MANCHESTER United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and ex-England international Sir Trevor Brooking are set to lead the tributes at John Lyall's memorial service today.

Many more famous names from the world of football will also converge on St Mary Le Tower Church, in Tower Street, Ipswich from 2pm to pay their respects to the former Ipswich and West Ham boss.

Ipswich Town stars from Lyall's Division Two championship winning squad of 1991/92 will be among the mourners, including John Wark, Mick Stockwell, Chris Kiwomya, Paul Goddard and Jason Dozzell.

They will be joined by Billy Bonds, Alan Devonshire and Phil Parkes, who played under Lyall at West Ham.

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Ex-England boss Terry Venables and fellow former managers Don Howe and David Pleat will also attend along with employees from professional football bodies such as the PFA and the Premier League.

Joining Sir Alex and Sir Trevor in reading a tribute to Lyall will be journalist Michael Hart, who co-wrote his book Just Like My Dreams: My Life with West Ham.

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Murray Lyall, son of the legendary football manager, said the family had initially intended to hold a small cremation for close friends and family.

But these plans were shelved following to the massive outpouring of tributes after Lyall's death.

Mr Lyall said: “Due to the suddenness of John's death, it was originally the family's intention to hold a private crematorium service for close friends and colleagues only.

“However, due to the overwhelming deluge of tributes, phone calls, sympathy cards and letters, from Great Britain and abroad, the family felt that, such was John's legacy, that it would be disrespectful not to have a memorial service and deny managers, ex-players, supporters and friends the chance of paying their respects to such a truly great man.”

The Reverend Peter Townley, rural Dean of Ipswich, will be conducting the service alongside The Reverend Chris Wingfield.

He said: “We are very much looking forward to welcoming the family and friends of John Lyall at the service.

“Tribute will be paid to him for the great contribution he has made down many years to the world of sport.”

Among the hymns being played will be Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven, which was sung at his wedding to wife Yvonne 45 years ago, O` Flower of Scotland and the football anthem Abide with Me.

Following the service, mourners will gather at the Galleria at Ipswich Town's Portman Road stadium.

Lyall died from a heart attack at the age of 66 at his home, in Tattingstone, near Ipswich, last month.

Lyall, who led West Ham to victory in the FA Cup in 1980, arrived at Portman Road in 1990 to take over from John Duncan.

Within two years, he guided the Blues to promotion to the inaugural Premier League for 1992/93. He remained in charge at Town until December 1994.

His family has asked for any donations to be sent to c/o Farthing, Singleton and Hastings donations account, Deben House, 650 Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, IP4 4PW.

Proceeds will be split between Stutton Primary School, where Lyall's grandchildren, Sam and Charlie, attend, their football club, Lawford Lads FC, and the restoration project at St Mary's Church, Tattingstone.

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