Stars say goodbye to Lyall

IPSWICH has said goodbye to John Lyall “one of its most honoured and esteemed honorary sons.”Hundreds of players, fans, family members and friends gathered at the town's St Mary Le Tower Church yesterday to say goodbye to the Ipswich Town and West Ham legend.

IPSWICH has said goodbye to John Lyall “one of its most honoured and esteemed honorary sons.”

Hundreds of players, fans, family members and friends gathered at the town's St Mary Le Tower Church yesterday to say goodbye to the Ipswich Town and West Ham legend.

Town players past and present joined with Hammers players and pundits for a moving service of thanksgiving.

Those paying their respects included Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Trevor Brooking, Kieron Dyer, Chris Kiwomya, Frank Lampard senior, Tony Coattee, Tony Gale and Paul Ince.

It opened with an address from Canon Peter Townley who spoke of the widespread respect for Lyall.

He said: “John was one of Ipswich's most honoured and esteemed honorary sons. He was a true gentleman in the world of sport and was respected, straightforward and honest.

Most Read

“He was one of the finest football managers of his generation and John's hard work and determination led to great success.

“He was a legend among legends at West Ham and was really quite unique among the managers of Ipswich Town.”

Lyall's grandsons Charlie and Sam both paid tribute to their grandfather, talking of their friendship with the 66-year-old and the hours they spent playing football.

Footballing giants Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Trevor Brooking then paid their respects in turn, speaking of Lyall as a loving family man and a talented manager.

Sir Alex said: “John was a man full of great honesty and integrity and strength which, in the occupation he went into was very much needed.

“He was straight forward and down to earth and had humility in bounds. He was a great football man and a great person.”

Sir Trevor spoke of Lyall's long football career, his success at West Ham seeing them lift the FA Cup in 1975 and 1980 and his four years as Ipswich manager when Town were promoted back to the top flight.

He said: “It's a sad occasion. I spoke to one or two people beforehand and I think one or two of us haven't come to terms with the fact that he's gone because of the suddenness.

“You winced when he shook hands with you because he had a vice-like grip and you always thought he would be here.

The service ended with family and friends leaving the church to West Ham anthem I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles.

Do you have memories of John Lyall? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail: eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter