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Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Friday, 26 September 2008 11:53 UK

Magpies legend Sirrel dies at 86


Jimmy Sirrel retired after nearly 20 years at the club

Legendary Notts County manager Jimmy Sirrel has died at the age of 86.

He took charge of the team in 1969 and led the Magpies to the top flight of English football - the former Division One - in 1981.

Sirrel was hailed as the Magpies' greatest manager by supporters who had called for a Nottingham road to be named after him.

He had three spells as manager of the Football League's oldest club, from 1969 to 75, 1978 to 82 and 1985 to 87.

Sirrel's good friend Sir Alex Ferguson said Sirrel was highly regarded in the footballing world.

The Manchester United manager told the BBC: "All I can say is that I'd be confident in Jimmy Sirrel managing a team I supported, and that would be the general opinion from all the managers in the game.

"People like Jimmy had to work with either no money or little money and, if you look at his career at Notts County and Sheffield United, you'll see he's done fantastically well with players who are quite limited."

Legendary Notts County midfielder Don Masson paid tribute to his former boss.

He said: "I owe everything in my football career to Jimmy - he was fantastic."

The Magpies' record goalscorer Les Bradd said: "We certainly feared him on match days, particularly when he was throwing jugs of tea at us.

Jimmy Sirrel's career at Notts County
1969 Sirrel takes over as Magpies' manager
1975 Leaves to become Sheffield United boss
1978 Returns to Meadow Lane
1981 Takes Notts to First Division
1982 Leaves the Magpies
1985 Returns to Meadow Lane for his final spell in charge until 1987
But generally Jimmy was a friend to the players. He would tell funny stories. We would laugh at him."

Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington, who was signed for County by Sirrel, said: "I have a lot of good feelings for Jim.

"He did wonders for my career at Notts County. He was an excellent coach and his man management was very good, particularly with the young ones."

Sirrel, who left the Magpies for the first time in 1975 to take over at Sheffield United, regularly attended matches at Meadow Lane until recently.

Notts County chairman John Armstrong-Holmes said: "The news has stunned everyone and although it's 20 years since Jimmy left the club, he was still affectionately remembered by everyone.

"It was indicative last year of how Notts County fans regarded him that the Trust commissioned a portrait of the great man.

"It now hangs prominently in the entrance to Meadow Lane and will be a permanent reminder of all that he did for our club."

The Magpies legend, who was born in Glasgow in February 1922, had been in poor health over the past few months.

He played as a right-winger with Celtic, Bradford Park Avenue and Brighton before moving to Aldershot, where he began his coaching career.

He then became Brentford manager in September 1967 and spent two years there before leaving to become Notts County boss for the first time.

see also
Fans want Sirrel 'road tribute'
26 Sep 08 |  Nottinghamshire

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