Dave Sexton, a great football manager, has passed away at the age of 82.
In the 1980s he managed England’s Under-21s to two European crowns and was appointed the first Technical Director at The FA National School. Before that he had been a successful club manager at Chelsea and Manchester United.
The son of a professional boxer, Dave played as an inside-forward for Luton Town, West Ham United, Leyton Orient, Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace. He won the Division Three South title with Brighton in 1958.
He had a coaching role at Chelsea before becoming Leyton Orient’s manager in 1965. He was Chelsea’s boss two years later and a team of glittering stars like Peter Osgood, John Hollins and Charlie Cooke won The FA Cup in 1970 and the European Cup Winners’ Cup a year later, both after replays.
After seven years with the Blues he had four at Old Trafford, taking United to the 1979 FA Cup Final and runners-up spot in the League a year after that.
He also managed QPR and Coventry City before taking up the position in 1984 of Technical Director at The FA’s innovative ‘National School’ at Lilleshall, where the best young players in the country were groomed for stardom – like Michael Owen, Sol Campbell and Andy Cole.
Dave had two periods in charge of the England Under-21 team. In the first of those, from 1976 to 1990, the team twice became European champions. They beat West Germany in the two-legged Final of 1982 and then Spain two years later. They remain the Under-21s’ only Championship successes to date.
His tactical astuteness and calming influence in the dressing room made him a hugely-respected figure to players like Paul Gascoigne, Alan Shearer and Glenn Hoddle.
There was a minute’s applause for Dave Sexton OBE, football man and gentleman, before yesterday’s Premier League fixture with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.
FA Chairman David Bernstein said: "The whole of The FA is saddened by this news.
"Dave Sexton was synonymous with English coaching and was one of those people that sat right at the heart of our organisation during his time with us.
"He had many friends at The FA including Roy Hodgson and former England Managers such as Sven-Goran Eriksson and Terry Venables whom he worked alongside.
"His achievements speak volumes, but his success with the England Under-21 sides of 1982 and 1984 are something that will always be remembered with great fondness.
"Our thoughts are, of course, with Dave's family at this difficult time."