Tributes to John Lyall

AS news of John Lyall's death emerged today, tributes flowed in from the world of football and beyond. IPSWICH Town issued a statement saying:“It is with deep regret that Ipswich Town has learned of the death of John Lyall.

AS news of John Lyall's death emerged today, tributes flowed in from the world of football and beyond.

IPSWICH Town issued a statement saying:

“It is with deep regret that Ipswich Town has learned of the death of John Lyall.

“John was first team manager and took the team into the new Premier League in 1992 and he managed the team until December 1994.”

We extend our sympathies and condolences to his family.

The club is planning to hold a minutes' silence before the home match against Derby on Saturday, and the players will be wearing black arm bands.

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JOHN Lyall spent more than three decades at West Ham as player, coach and manager.

The Hammers issued this statement: “Everyone at West Ham United is extremely saddened by the tragic news that our former manager, John Lyall, has died suddenly.

“John passed away late on Tuesday night after suffering a heart-attack at his Suffolk home. The news comes just two months after the death of another legendary Hammers manager, Ron Greenwood, who was John's mentor in the game.

“John left the Club in the summer of 1989 following our relegation from the top flight, but nothing will ever tarnish the memory of all that he achieved during his 34 years at Upton Park.

“Our sincere thoughts and condolences go to John's wife Yvonne, his son Murray and the rest of his family at this very sad time.”

FORMER Ipswich manager and defender, George Burley, said:

“Although I didn't know him personally very well, he was highly respected in the world of football.

“He was tactically a very good coach and his teams always played very good football. I remember many battles with his West Ham teams during my playing days.”

Lyall was manager of West Ham when they beat Ipswich in FA Cup semi final replay in 1975.

“He was also very well thought of at Ipswich. When I came to the club the players really respected what he had achieved at the club and the work he had done there.

“As an incoming manager you tend to bring in your own ideas and your own people, but I could see how highly he was thought of.”

TOWN manager Joe Royle, said:

“I am shocked. I hadn't heard the news until you called me. He was a first class football coach and a first class man.

“I almost signed for him once in 1977 - it was a choice between going to West Ham or Bristol City and Bristol were more interested at that stage.

“I sometimes wondered what would have happened if things had turned out differently.

“I sat opposite him in the dugout occasionally, and it was clear that he always had the respect of his players. He was a fine tactician and very good with the players.

“I know that people who did work with him, like Keith Robson, Graham Paddon and Mark Ward always had the greatest respect and affection for him. This is a very sad day.”

MIKE Noye was Ipswich Town commercial manager during John Lyall's reign. He said:

“We were quite close when he was at the club, he had a good sense of humour and we got on very well.

“And he got on very well with the players - he really brought out the best in them. When we were promoted in 1992 he managed to knit together a team that didn't have any real stars but all played for each other.

“People like Chris Kiwomya really responded to him. He said Chris always went down on the floor so he nicknamed him lino. That was the kind of humour that he liked with the players.

“I always thought it was a shame that he walked away from football when he left Ipswich but his other great love was fishing and he enjoyed that in retirement.

“To relax after matches he was happy sitting in his office with a cup of tea and a cigarette.”

PHIL Ham, Evening Star columnist and editor of Ipswich Town fanzine Those Were the Days, said: “What fans will remember is the 1991/92 season when he did a fantastic job to take a team which the previous year had finished 14th and put them into the first ever Premiership.

“He turned ordinary players into a side which beat Kenny Dalglish's Blackburn, including Jack Walker's millions, to the old Division Two title and fans won't forget that.

“Then, on limited funds, he kept them there for three seasons.

“Towards the end of his career there were protests on the pitch which he felt were undeserved as he did the best job with the resources he was given, and looking back that's probably the case.

“His death is a real shame. He was very professional. He never got involved in the shenanigans some managers do and always had an air of knowing what he was doing and what was going on around him.”

PHILIP Houseley, chairman of the Ipswich Town supporter's club during Lyall's reign, said:

“I remember him as a really pleasant person to get on with. He was very friendly and supportive of what the supporters club was doing.

“When he came to Ipswich he was like an icon in the game. He had had a fantastic spell at West Ham and he came to us with a great reputation.

“Unfortunately he took over when the club wasn't in a great position and he had a difficult managerial spell but he was very personable and a nice guy.

“I know the players felt he was someone they could relate to and his experience meant they learnt a lot from him.

“All in all, he was well respected.”

FORMER Ipswich Town player Kevin Beattie said: “You will never forget him. He was such a nice man, so much so you would never imagine he was a football manager.

“He wanted to get in with the players unlike other managers and was very dedicated to the club.”

PAUL Goddard, former Ipswich and West Ham striker, said:

“The news is quite a shock really. I saw him a couple of months ago at a funeral and he looked incredibly well and was incredibly bright and active.

“I think it is very, very difficult to put into words what sort of person he was. He was, without doubt, the best coach I have ever had the privilege to work with and without a doubt one of the most knowledgeable footballing people I have ever been in contact with in my career.

“As well as that he was a top person in the way he dealt with people and dealt with life. He was totally devoted to his football but was also open to everybody's problems. He was just a fantastic football person and there are very few like that around now.

“One of the great things he managed to do was retire and he did actually retire. He didn't do TV work even though there were plenty of offers.

“He decided to change his lifestyle, which is incredibly difficult, and he totally devoted his life to his wife Yvonne. There are not many football people who do that.

“He has made many, many people much better footballers, me included, and he has made many people better people as well.

“If there have been better football managers around I have never had the privilege of working with them. I have never worked Mourinho and Wenger but I assure you that he is in that bracket and he would be able to manage in this modern world although it is so different.

“He didn't need to be a strict manager because he had the respect of every player. I don't think in the time I worked with him, which was a considerable amount of years at West Ham and Ipswich, I saw a ruck or serious argument at training.

“He had a presence, an aura about him and, as soon as he walked out on the training ground, everyone listened to every word he had to say.”

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