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Friday, April 30, 1999 Published at 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK

Sport: Football

Sir Alf Ramsey dies

Sir Alf: England's most successful manager

England's former World Cup-winning manager Sir Alf Ramsey has died at the age of 79.

The BBC's Kevin Gearey looks back at a career always associated with England's triumph in 1966
Sir Alf, who was in charge of the England team for 11 years, led England to victory in the 1966 World Cup on home soil with a 4-2 extra-time victory over West Germany in the final.

He died at a nursing home in Ipswich on Wednesday morning after a long illness.

He had suffered a stroke during the World Cup finals in 1998.

'Greatest moment' - Blair

Prime Minister Tony Blair was among the first to pay tribute to Sir Alf.

"Sir Alf Ramsey gave England the greatest moment in its sporting history," he said.

"He was a hugely intelligent man whose leadership and footballing skills won England the World Cup.

"Anyone who takes an interest in football will be saddened by the news and will never forget him or the wonderful moments he brought in 1966.

"Bringing the World Cup back to England in 2006 would be a fitting tribute."

'A true winner'

Sir Bobby Charlton, one of the stars of the 1966 side, said: "I couldn't be more upset if it was family.

"Alf Ramsey gave all of us in the football business the greatest moment we have ever had as players, as coaches, as managers as fans and as officials.

"He was professional to his fingertips and as popular with the players as any manager I've ever seen.

"He was a winner and without Alf Ramsey England would not have won the World Cup in 1966.

"He gave us our proudest moment."

'Terribly sad'

George Cohen, a right-back in Sir Alf's world-beating side, said all the players from that team would be upset by their former manager's death.

"I am shocked and saddened," he said. "It is terribly sad.

"Although we knew he was ill it is always going to be a shock when it comes around.

"He was possibly the best manager I have ever played for and I think he is going to be sorely missed by all his friends and family."

Alan Mullery, a midfielder in the 1970 World Cup campaign, added: "He was the best manager England have ever had.

"He was such a nice man and I don't think we will see another like him. When he said something he said it quietly but you listened - otherwise you didn't play in the next game."

Grief in Ipswich

Sir Alf was manager of Ipswich Town Football Club from 1955 to 1963, taking them from the third division to League championship.

"Sir Alf didn't come from Ipswich originally but he made it his home," said the town's present Labour MP Jamie Cann.

"He has lived here ever since, always just an ordinary, unassuming man of the people, always helping charitable causes.

"He was well-loved and respected in the town and will be sadly missed."


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