Everybody at West Ham United has been deeply saddened by the passing of ex-Hammers inside forward Dave Sexton at the age of 82.

Islington-born Sexton made 77 appearances in claret and blue between 1953 and 1956, scoring 29 goals. During that period, he was one of the founders of the Academy of Football, spending endless hours discussing the intricacies of the game with his forward-thinking team-mates.

Sexton's finest day in a West Ham shirt came on 5 February 1955, when he scored his only hat-trick for the club in a 6-1 Division Two victory over Plymouth Argyle at the Boleyn Ground. He also scored twice on his final appearance for the club in a 3-0 home win over Bristol City on 28 April 1956.

After spells with Leyton Orient, Brighton and Hove Albion and Crystal Palace, Sexton embarked on a successful coaching career, the seeds of which had been sewn during his time at West Ham.

Having learned his trade alongside the likes of Malcolm Allison, Noel Cantwell, Vic Keeble, John Bond and Frank O'Farrell, Sexton started off his managerial career at Leyton Orient in 1965. After spells coaching at Chelsea and Arsenal, he took charge at Stamford Bridge in 1967, leading the Blues to FA Cup glory in 1970 and the European Cup Winners' Cup the following year.

After making the short move to Queens Park Rangers in 1974, Sexton came within a point of lifting the League title trophy with the Hoops in 1976. A four-year spell at Manchester United was less successful, but he enhanced his reputation yet again with two successful stints in charge of the England Under-21 side, winning back-to-back UEFA European Championship titles in 1982 and 1984.

Sexton also was appointed as the Football Association's first-ever Technical Director, overseeing the development of FA's National School at Lilleshall. After an outstanding career that spanned more than 40 years, Sexton was rewarded for his services to football by being made an OBE in 2006.

The FA's Director of Football Development, Hammers legend Sir Trevor Brooking, has paid tribute to Sexton by saying: "It is a sad day for English football. Anyone who was ever coached by Dave would be able to tell you what a good man he was, but not only that, what a great coach in particular he was.

"In the last 30 or 40 years Dave's name was up there with any of the top coaches we have produced in England - the likes of Terry Venables, Don Howe and Ron Greenwood. His coaching was revered."

Everyone at West Ham United would like to pass on their sincere condolences to Dave Sexton's family and friends at this sad time.