Wales football legend Ivor Powell dies aged 96

 

Former Wales midfielder Ivor Powell, who won a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's oldest football coach, has died aged 96.

He was one of the finest players of his generation in a career that saw him play for Wales, Blackpool, Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa.

Powell started his working life in the mines of South Wales before he made it as a top player.

A tough tackler, he set a record transfer fee for a halfback of £17,500 when he moved to Aston Villa in 1948.

At Blackpool he struck up his friendship with Sir Stanley Matthews, who went on to be best man at his wedding.

He was one of Bill Shankly's successors as manager at Carlisle and worked with the likes of Billy Bremner, Jackie Charlton and Norman Hunter who formed Don Revie's legendary Leeds side.

He had spells coaching at Bath City and also with PAOK in Greece, before joining the University of Bath as football coach in the early 1970s.

In 2004 he was inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame and in 2006 his role as the world's oldest working football coach was recognised as a Guinness World Record.

Powell was made an MBE in the 2008 New Year's Honours List and he finally hung up his boots in May 2010, aged 93.

The university has marked the end of his long service to the game with the Ivor Powell Sports Scholarship Fund.

Speaking in 2006 about his retirement, Powell said: "I feel so proud of what I've done.

"I've been very, very happy at the University of Bath and I mean that."

Explaining his coaching philosophy in 2007, Powell told The Independent: "Aggression, determination, the will to win. These have always been my watchwords, and they still are.

"That's what I try to instil into these youngsters. And they listen, they really do."

The University of Bath said Powell died last night after a short illness.

Deputy vice chancellor Professor Kevin Edge paid tribute.

"Ivor was an outstanding individual, a real character and a tremendous inspiration to countless generations of students and to his many colleagues at the university," he said.

"He will be sadly missed. We would like to extend our sincere condolences to Ivor's family and friends."

Jess Garland, head netball coach at the university, said: "There are few people in life that have the ability to touch both the hearts and minds of so many but Ivor Powell had this capacity in abundance.

"People were drawn to his cheeky sense of humour, and the clear passion he had for the field of sport and coaching was infectious.

"It was 13 years ago that I first met Ivor, the morning of the passing of his dear friend Sir Stanley Matthews.

"Ivor's storytelling was second to none and he inspired so many of us to strive for the best.

"His coaching mantra of the key characteristics of sports people and teams needing passion, determination, aggression, the will to win and consistency of performance will transcend to many and will act as a legacy to such a true gentleman.

"It was a true privilege to have known and worked alongside Ivor."

A spokesman for Queens Park Rangers said: "The club is desperately saddened to learn of the passing of former half-back Ivor Powell.

"Powell passed away last night, aged 96. He made 159 appearances for Rangers in a 12-year spell that was interrupted by the War. He scored two goals.

"He was part of the R's team that clinched the Division Three South title in 1948 and was our first post-war player to be capped.

"Ivor was awarded an MBE for services to sport and collected his award from the Palace on June 25 2008.

"The club would like to extend its deepest condolences to Ivor's family and friends at this sad time.

"May he rest in peace."

PA

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