John Bond: Colourful footballer and manager

A powerful striker of the ball, he was known as 'Muffin', after the hard-kicking television mule

John Bond believed that football should wear a smile on its face, a personal creed he embraced passionately and entertainingly throughout colourful careers as both player and manager. First he was a talented, engagingly flamboyant, long-serving full- back with West Ham United, and could consider himself unfortunate, perhaps, never to receive a full England cap. Then, having thrown himself into coaching with characteristic enthusiasm, he spent a quarter of a century as an imaginative, often outspokenly opinionated boss, serving seven clubs, most conspicuously Norwich City and Manchester City.

Hailing from rural Essex, the teenage Bond was delivering pies in 1949 when he heard the Second Division Hammers wanted to sign him. He turned professional in 1950, underwent conversion from centre-forward to flank defender and made his senior debut in 1952. Bond settled on the right, by mid-decade cementing a regular berth in Ted Fenton's attractive but inconsistent side, relishing his role alongside such innovative football thinkers as Malcolm Allison, Noel Cantwell and Dave Sexton.

The intelligent Bond was never over-physical, preferring canny interceptions to neck-or-nothing challenges and he was skilful. Whether delivering accurate passes or thrashing free-kicks and penalties towards opposition nets, he was a crisp and powerful striker of the ball, nicknamed "Muffin", after the hard- kicking mule of children's TV.

He was something of an affable extrovert, relishing a matey rapport with Upton Park regulars, whom he loved to thrill with audacious dribbles, delicate chips back to his goalkeeper and ambitious passes, all of untypical of full- backs of that era. Bond was also an effective emergency centre-forward, never more so than at home to Chelsea in 1960, when he plundered a hat-trick in a 4-2 win.

He was disappointed not to earn a place in England's squad for the 1958 World Cup finals. He ascribed his omission to a faux pas within the selectors' earshot, asking if the players could take a crate of beer to their rooms because a hotel bar was closed.

After missing much of 1962-63 following a disagreement with new manager Ron Greenwood – a man he later came to revere – Bond bounced back to feature alongside Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters. After playing his part in the 3-2 injury-time victory over Preston in the 1964 FA Cup final, he missed the European Cup-Winners' Cup triumph of 1965.

He joined Torquay United in January 1966, just in time to help win promotion to the Third Division. Bond remained at Plainmoor until 1969, then coached Gillingham briefly before entering management with Bournemouth in May 1970.

At Dean Court he revitalised an ailing club which had just descended to the basement tier, guiding them to the runners-up spot in his first campaign, and drawing a 49-goal contribution from Ted MacDougall. He stepped up to top-flight Norwich, replacing Ron Saunders in November 1973. Although it proved too late to avert relegation, in 1974-75, fortified by the procurement of MacDougall, his former Bournemouth strike partner Phil Boyer and England World Cup hero Peters – City returned to the top flight, and also reached the League Cup final, in which they lost 1-0 to Aston Villa.

Bond established Norwich as solid mid-table citizens for most of the rest of the decade, developing outstanding young players such as Kevin Reeves and Justin Fashanu before taking the place of his old pal Allison at Manchester City in October 1980. He started boldly, buying Tommy Hutchison, Gerry Gow and Bobby McDonald, and by springtime he had guided his new charges to a position of First Division comfort and the last four of the League Cup.

The season's highlight, though, was the FA Cup final against Tottenham from which City, with a little luck, could have emerged triumphant. However, after looking the better team in a 1-1 draw they were beaten 3-2 in the replay thanks to a scintillating individual goal by Ricky Villa.

Bond paid £1.2m to acquire Trevor Francis that summer and City topped the table in December, only to finish 10th. With chairman Peter Swales over-spending in his obsession to eclipse Manchester United, there was boardroom strife which handicapped the manager, yet he spurned an approach from Benfica at the outset of 1982-83. That term proved calamitous. After another bright start there was a slump, he resigned in February and the Blues were relegated.

Bond's career was firmly past its zenith. Next came a mid-table Third Division season with Burnley, whom he joined in June 1983; then an anti-climactic stint with penniless Swansea City, also of the third level, which ended with the sack in October 1985; and a miserable return to the top tier with Birmingham City, during which he presided over one demotion that term, and narrowly missed another.

He became Asa Hartford's assistant at Shrewsbury Town, taking over when Hartford was sacked in January 1991. He led them clear of relegation to the Fourth that season, only to go down a year later. Later Bond – whose son Kevin played for him at Norwich and Manchester City – had a stint with non-League Witton Albion and served Wigan Athletic as a consultant.

 

John Frederick Bond, footballer and manager: born Colchester 17 December 1932; married (one daughter, one son); died Manchester 25 September 2012.

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Senior Research Fellow in Gender, Food and Resilient Communities

£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: The Centre for Agroecology, ...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker