Sir Bobby leads tributes to John Lyall

FOOTBALL united last night to pay tribute to former Ipswich manager John Lyall, who died at the age of 66.Lyall suffered a heart attack at his Tattingstone home late on Tuesday and paramedics were unable to resuscitate him.

By Mel Henderson

FOOTBALL united last night to pay tribute to former Ipswich manager John Lyall, who died at the age of 66.

Lyall suffered a heart attack at his Tattingstone home late on Tuesday and paramedics were unable to resuscitate him.

The tributes were led by another former Town boss, Sir Bobby Robson, who said: “He was a proper person and a proper coach.”


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Apart from their spells at Portman Road, where they both enjoyed success, the pair had plenty in common.

Sir Bobby turned to Lyall for help during his stint as national manager, with Lyall working as a scout, casting his expert eye over opposition teams during Italia 90, when England reached the semi-finals and lost to West Germany in a penalty shoot-out.

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He added: “John was respected by players and loved the game, wanting it to be played in the way the public wanted. He was a disciplinarian but that was more through his attitude towards the game.”

Lyall made his reputation as one of the game's most respected and successful managers with his first football love, West Ham United, where he was player, office, coach and manager.

The victim of a career-ending injury at the age of 23, he later earned his coaching qualifications and became assistant to Upton Park boss Ron Greenwood.

He took charge of his beloved Hammers in 1974 and celebrated his first season at the helm with victory over Fulham in the FA Cup Final at Wembley, having beaten Ipswich in a semi-final replay at Stamford Bridge.

West Ham were relegated in 1978 but two years later they defeated Arsenal to gain a second FA Cup success under Lyall, the last time a club from outside the top flight won the famous trophy.

In 1986 the Hammers finished third in the league, their highest-ever position, but three years later he departed Upton Park following the club's relegation.

After one year alongside Terry Venables at Tottenham he was appointed manager of Ipswich. In only his second season, and against all odds, he led them to the Second Division title.

That earned Town a place in the inaugural Premier League and it was a major achievement that he kept them there for the next three seasons.

Midway through his fifth season in charge Lyall made the decision to resign and retire from football, choosing to devote the rest of his life to his family, wife Yvonne, son Murray, daughter-in-law Samantha and grandsons Scott, Charlie and Sam.

For more tributes to John Lyall from his family and former Ipswich Town players, buy today's East Anglian Daily Times.

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