Friday, February 10, 2006
Football greats have paid tribute to Ron Greenwood, who passed away at age 84 yesterday after a long illness. Greenwood was manager of West Ham United during its greatest period, from 1961 to 1974, and is generally credited as the man who gave West Ham their reputation for quality football. It was during his reign that the club became known as the Academy of Football.
Trevor Brooking leads the way with his tribute. "It's a sad occasion, particularly I think for West Ham connections as well. Ron was the manager who brought me to the club as a youngster and had huge effect on my development as a young player. He got me thinking about the game differently, sowed a lot of seeds to help me become a better player.
"He converted Geoff Hurst from a midfielder to a striker and he was scoring a hat-trick in a World Cup final a couple of years later. He developed a style of play at the club which was an entertaining, very technical, based on a European style people called it at the time. From then on he was hugely respected and had the opportunity to manage England and everything.
"Without a shadow of doubt he is one of best coaches this country has ever produced. Perhaps it is just a shame he didn't get more involved even here with where I am now at The Football Association as he had wealth of knowledge, integrity and was hugely respected by everyone.
"I think naturally he was a great coach, a great communicator, it was about encouragement, making you better. He was not a dictatorial coach, he actually asked you questions that got you thinking. He developed you as individual, he kept you informed about everything, he treated you as somebody on the same level and didn't talk down to you.
"Anyone with West Ham connections will know the massive impact on the West Ham style of play by the coaching philosophy of Ron. There will be a minutes' silence on Monday night against Birmingham and he was hugely respected by everyone. I know that he will be a sad loss for the club, the rollercoaster success they've had, but the style of play was certainly put there by Ron."
Hat trick hero Geoff Hurst made this statement. "It would not be overstating the case to say that Ron Greenwood was the single most influential figure in my career. I considered it a privilege to play for him. He opened the door to the world of modern football."
Peter Shilton said the following. "It's very sad news. Ron was a real football man in the sense he loved to play the right way. I think he was a bit ahead of his time in the 1960s and '70s when he was in charge of West Ham, when he had Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters because the way they played the game, they were really ahead of their time - it was great football to watch.
"I was very lucky to be associated with the England team when Ron was in charge. He ended up picking me for the World Cup of 1982 in Spain, which was a very successful tournament and we were very close to getting to the semi-finals.
"He had a great knowledge of football. He appreciated quality players and skill which is what you need at international level. Don Howe and him made a very good partnership, Don was very good at the defensive side and motivating players while Ron had the other things. They made a very good team.
"I've always felt the players respected Ron. I found him to be a nice person but in no way soft. He had the strength to make decisions in 1982 and I was very pleased to be selected. I had tremendous respect for him as a football man and as a person."
Alan Pardew said, "Unfortunately, I never had the chance to meet Ron but I know he was highly respected by everyone in the game and gave West Ham and England fantastic service during his time as manager. Geoff Hurst has said that his coaching abilities and ideas were ahead of his time, and that his teams were always a joy to watch, and I know there are many other former players and supporters who would agree with that sentiment. His loss is a very sad occasion for the club and I'm sure all our supporters will be eager to pay their respects to a man who did so much to establish West Ham as a great name in English football."