Sir Trevor Brooking has expressed his shock and sadness
at the tragic loss of John Lyall, describing his former manager as
'as good a person as you could wish to meet'.
The FA's Director of Football Development spent 10 years playing under John after he took over managerial duties at Upton Park in 1974 - by which time he was already a close friend - and admits he has been devastated by the news.
"It is a massive shock and so very sad," says Sir Trevor. "We lost Ron Greenwood only two months ago, but Ron hadn't been well for sometime and was in his mid-80s - John was only 66 and had shown no obvious signs of ill health. It is devastating news and still very hard to take in.
[QUOTE]"John will be remembered as a great football man and, most of all, a wonderful person who was so highly respected by everyone who knew him."[/QUOTE]
"The last time I saw him was at the reunion dinner for the
1975 and 1980 FA Cup winning teams back in September, and he was
fine. The handshake was as strong as ever, his wife Yvonne was also
there, and we enjoyed a lovely evening.
"At the moment, the overriding feeling is one of shock and sadness, but John will be remembered as a great football man and, most of all, a wonderful person who was so highly respected by everyone who knew him.
"He was such a genuine, warm individual, and of the very few people in the game who I would say I trusted with anything. He really was a wonderful man, as good a person as you could wish to meet.
"From a football point of view, I played for only two managers in my 19 years at West Ham, and they were both outstanding. John was right there alongside Ron as a disciple of his footballing mantle, and he simply continued the work that Ron had started.
"The Club enjoyed some tremendous success at a senior level during John's period in charge, but he put just as much effort into the development of homegrown youngsters, which became the lifeblood of the Club. That legacy will remain in place forever.
"You won't find a single person who had a bad word to say about John, and there will be many people in the game who are extremely upset by the news. It is a very sad day."
*The FA have confirmed that a minutes' silence in memory of John Lyall will be observed before our FA Cup semi-final against Middlesbrough at Villa Park on Sunday, while the players will wear black armbands to pay their respects.