Today's Alf Ramsey Talking Points
Sir Alfred Ernest "Alf" Ramsey (22 January 1920 – 28 April 1999) was an English footballer and manager who, as manager of the England national football team from 1963 to 1974, guided England to victory in the 1966 FIFA World Cup. Knighted in 1967 in recognition of England's World Cup win, Ramsey also managed England to third place in the 1968 European Championship and the quarter-finals of the 1970 World Cup and the 1972 European Championship respectively. As a player, Ramsey was a defender and a member of England's 1950 World Cup squad. He is, as of 2015, the only person to have been inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame twice, both as manager and player.
Ramsey was born and raised in Dagenham, which was then a quiet Essex village. He showed sporting promise from an early age and, after serving in the British Army during the Second World War, embarked on a football career, primarily as a right-back for Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur. He was generally considered a rather slow, but accomplished player with a tremendous grasp of the tactical side of the game. Nicknamed "The General", he was part of the Tottenham side that won the English League championship in the 1950–51 season; he also played for England 32 times between 1948 and 1953, captaining the side three times and scoring three goals from penalty kicks. England games in which Ramsey played include the shock 1–0 defeat to the United States at the 1950 World Cup and the "Match of the Century" against Hungary three years later.
Ramsey retired from playing in 1955 to become the manager of Ipswich Town, then in the third tier of English football. Ipswich rose through the divisions over the next six years, winning the Third Division South in 1956–57 and the Second Division in 1960–61. In the 1961–62 season, Ipswich's first campaign in the top division, Ramsey's team defied expectations to become champions of England at the first attempt. Ramsey took charge of the England team a year later. In a distinct break with common practice of the day, he used a narrow formation that led to his England side being dubbed "The Wingless Wonders". England's World Cup victory at Wembley in 1966 made Ramsey a national hero, though he had his critics, both at the time and since. He lost the England job acrimoniously, following the team's failure to qualify for the 1974 World Cup.
After briefly managing Birmingham City during the 1977–78 season, then acting in an advisory role at the Greek club Panathinaikos in 1979–80, Ramsey retired to Ipswich, where he led a somewhat reclusive life over the next two decades. He died in Ipswich in 1999, aged 79. Soon after his death, a statue of Ramsey was built outside Ipswich's home ground at Portman Road, and a neighbouring street was named after him. A stand at Portman Road was named after Ramsey in 2012. A second statue of Ramsey was dedicated at the reconstructed Wembley Stadium in 2009, in the players' tunnel. Ramsey was an inaugural inductee into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002, in recognition of his achievements as a manager; he was admitted again, as a player, in 2010. He remains widely regarded as one of British football's all-time great managers.Close