As one of the West Ham United players of the 1950s destined to become outstanding coaches who would gather after training to talk football, Dave Sexton, who has died aged 82, must often have struggled to get a word in.
His quiet nature was in sharp contrast to those of Malcolm Allison, John Bond and Noel Cantwell, but when he did speak, it would have been thoughtful good sense.
Like Allison and his great friend and contemporary, Don Howe, he was perhaps happier as a coach than a manager, but it was appropriate that his life should be celebrated yesterday at Stamford Bridge, where he led Chelsea to their first FA Cup success in 1970 and the European Cup-Winners' Cup the following year. He was manager too for the most successful season in Queen's Park Rangers' history, when the team of Stan Bowles and Gerry Francis missed out on the League title by a point.
The son of a London boxer, Sexton became a forceful inside-forward, scoring 26 goals for Brighton as they won the Third Division South in 1958. Chelsea provided his first coaching job and his reputation was so quickly established that an unsuccessful year in management with Leyton Orient in 1965 proved no obstacle to further employment. Bertie Mee immediately took him on as first-team coach at Arsenal, after which he moved back to Chelsea as manager in 1967.
Following the Cup wins, he would eventually fall out with players like Peter Osgood and Alan Hudson and with that pair sold and the development of Stamford Bridge causing financial problems, he was sacked in 1974. At QPR he did so well that in 1977 Manchester United took him on, but he lacked the flamboyance that the board and supporters seemed to want and was sacked at the end of the 1980-81 season despite the team setting a club record by winning their last seven games.
After two years at Coventry City, he returned to a previous position in charge of the England Under-21 team, with whom he had earlier won two European Championships.
Sir Trevor Brooking, the Football Association's director of football development, said last night: "In the last 30 to 40 years, Dave's name was up there with any of the top coaches we have produced in England."
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