Tributes after former Town boss dies

FORMER Ipswich manager John Lyall has died, aged 66.He was in charge at Portman Road for four and a half years until his departure in December 1994.Lyall will be remembered for leading Town to the Second Division title in 1992 to earn the club a place in the inaugural Premier League.

FORMER Ipswich manager John Lyall has died, aged 66.

He was in charge at Portman Road for four and a half years until his departure in December 1994.

Lyall will be remembered for leading Town to the Second Division title in 1992 to earn the club a place in the inaugural Premier League.

A spokesman for the East Anglian Ambulance service today confirmed that paramedics had been called to Lyall's home in Tattingstone last night.


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He said: “We were called to Wallers Farm at 11.28pm yesterday to reports that a man in his 60s had suffered a cardiac arrest. CPR was given but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.”

Ipswich legend John Wark today led the tributes to Lyall after the pair enjoyed a successful working relationship at Portman Road.

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Wark, 48, said: “I am extremely saddened by the news. It has come as such a shock because I had spoken to him at some length a few months ago.

“John was a great manager and a great man. He knew football inside out and even at my age he was even able to teach me a thing or two.

“You might think you know it all when you are the tail end of your career, but John was able to make me better in the time we had together.”

Lyall was appointed by Ipswich in the summer of 1990, a year after he was sacked by West Ham, where he was player, coach and manager.

His playing career was wrecked by injury at the age of 23 and he turned to coaching after a brief spell working in the Upton Park offices.

He managed the Hammers for 15 years from 1975 and in his first season in charge they won the FA Cup, defeating Fulham at Wembley after a controversial extra time semi-final victory over Ipswich.

The Hammers were relegated in 1978 but during their time in the Second Division they defeated Arsenal to win the FA Cup, the last team from outside the top flight to win the trophy.

Lyall won promotion and steered West Ham to their highest-ever league finish, third, but they were denied a place in Europe because of the ban on English clubs after the previous year's Heysel tragedy.

He was sacked by the East London club following their relegation but after Town finished 14th in the old Second Division in his first season in charge he was heading for the top flight again.

Town were rank outsiders but Lyall's shrewd leadership earned them the Second Division title, with Wark one of his key players.

Wark added: “John was up there with all the other managers I played for - Bobby Robson, Jock Stein, Joe Fagan and Kenny Dalglish.

“He had a presence about him. It is hard to describe, but you felt it as soon as he walked into a room.

“I managed to achieve a lot in football, but I still say that Second Division title win was one of the greatest achievements of my career.

“I was kicking my heels at the start of that season then he invited me down to train with Ipswich. I then played in the reserves and the next I knew I was in the first team.

“It was my third spell as a player with Town and John made it a great one. I won the fans' Player of the Year award and was going to the Premiership - it was like a fairytale.

“It was John who put Paul Goddard and I in charge of the first team and it was a real eye-opener for us both. He was always there for us.

“He is one of the best managers Ipswich ever had. It was some achievement to take the club back to the Premier League and it was a great time, even if it was a tough time to survive with the big boys.

“Everyone I spoke to about John shared the same thoughts. They all thought the world of him and he had the respect of everyone.

“This is a very sad day. He had a great career but he was able to walk away from football and was enjoying his retirement.”

N If you would like to pay a tribute to John Lyall write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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