Roy Hodgson's tribute to 'friend and mentor' Don Howe

Wednesday 23 Dec 2015
Don Howe during his playing days
England manager Roy Hodgson has paid tribute to the late Don Howe, calling him a ‘friend, coach and mentor’.

Following the announcement of Howe’s death at the age of 80, Hodgson said: “Today I lost a person who was all of those things to me and friends of my generation.

“I found myself privileged to say he befriended me and I think it is a great loss and I am very sad. I can only pass on my deepest condolences to his family.

Donald Howe

Born: Springfield, Wolverhampton, 12 October 1935
Playing position: Right-back
Playing career: West Bromwich Albion (1952-64), Arsenal (1964-66)
England debut: v Wales 19 October 1957
England caps: 23
Clubs managed: West Bromwich Albion (1971-75). Galatasaray (1975-76), Arsenal (1983-86), Queens Park Rangers (1989-91), Coventry City (caretaker; 1992)

Hodgson, who will mark 40 years of coaching in 2016, added: “I think we were very fortunate growing up as young coaches to be able to take inspiration from Don, Sir Bobby Robson and Dave Sexton alongside him.

“I got to know Don quite well during my time in Sweden when he was at the Arsenal and I was able to come over at Christmas and spend time watching him work and, most importantly of all, picking his brains.

“He was absolutely one of the very best coaches I have ever come across in my life and, certainly in my opinion, one of the very best coaches England ever had

“I would defy anybody who loves football, who cares about football, who takes football seriously, to say anything but good words about him. I know many of the players that worked under him will actually testify to that. They would testify to the fact that he was a top-class coach, a fantastic tactician and someone who lived and breathed football and was a big inspiration to those he worked with.

“He had a fantastic ability to convince you, to persuade you to think carefully about the game and take on a lot of the things he was putting forward.

Don Howe while coach of Arsenal

Don Howe while coach of Arsenal

“Today, now with Don passing along with Bobby and Dave in recent years, for me the trio of people that have had such a big effect on my coaching life have now all left us and I won’t be able to enjoy their company and learn from them anymore.

“The Arsenal double team, where Don teamed up with Bertie Mee, was a great duo largely because Bertie dealt with so many other aspects of management to allow Don to concentrate on the football field and the football players.

“At all the clubs he was at, as a player at West Brom and Arsenal, and more importantly with his time spent with England and Bobby Robson and Terry Venables, he had a fantastic influence on so many players and an awful lot of coaches.

“My generation look up to Don Howe, and he was always so generous with his time, so helpful and so encouraging to someone who was a young coach who was making his way in the game in Sweden.

“I shall miss him and he will always be remembered by people within the game as one of the true greats, one of the true legendary coaches. He was ahead of his time.

“He wasn’t just a great coach, he was a great human being.”

By FA Staff