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Dave Sexton

Football manager;

Born: April 6, 1930; Died: November 25, 2012.

Dave Sexton, who has died aged 82, was a football manager and highly regarded coach who became a Chelsea legend for his exploits in the 1970s.

Born in Islington, the son of a professional boxer, Sexton had an unremarkable playing career during the 1950s that did not take him very far from his home city.

He made most appearances for West Ham and also played for Luton, Leyton Orient, Brighton and Crystal Palace before beginning his coaching career at Chelsea.

His first managerial role came with Orient and he also coached at Arsenal before returning to Stamford Bridge in 1967 as manager, succeeding Tommy Docherty.

The two men were very different characters, with Gorbals-born Docherty's firebrand approach in complete contrast to Sexton's calm and technical style of coaching.

But Sexton did more than just steady the ship, leading Chelsea to three successive top-six finishes and, in 1970, the first FA Cup in their history.

One of his biggest achievements was marrying the flamboyant skills of Charlie Cooke and Peter Osgood with the uncompromising approach of defenders Ron "Chopper" Harris and David Webb. The FA Cup final against Leeds was notable more for the latter approach and a replay was needed after a brutal Wembley clash ended 2-2.

The teams met again at Old Trafford and Chelsea fought back from a goal down to win 2-1 thanks to Webb's injury-time header, securing not just a treasured trophy but also European football.

And Sexton excelled on that stage as well, leading Chelsea to Cup Winners' Cup glory in 1971. The Blues saw off Manchester City in an all-English semi-final and then defeated Real Madrid, again in a replay, to lift a first European trophy.

That proved to be the high point of Sexton's reign, with his remaining three years marked by a decline in the league and a public falling out with fans' hero Osgood that ultimately spelled the end for both men at Chelsea.

Osgood was sold to Southampton and Sexton was sacked in October 1974, but only a few weeks later he was back in the dugout as manager of QPR.

He had not lost his touch and in the 1975-76 season QPR, helped by the acquisition of Scotland's Don Masson, came within a point of winning the title, still the closest they have ever come, with Liverpool just pipping them.

By a quirk of fate, Sexton's next move was to succeed Docherty once again, this time at Manchester United, but he did not find the same success he had at Chelsea. The highlight of his reign was an FA Cup final loss to Arsenal in 1979, while United were runners-up to Liverpool in the league the next season.

Sexton's forays into the transfer market were mixed, with Ray Wilkins, Joe Jordan and Gordon McQueen notable successes, but the club record signing of striker Garry Birtles from Nottingham Forest for £1.25 million was widely held to be a disaster.

Sexton was sacked in 1981 and a brief spell in charge of Coventry followed, but it was with the Football Association (FA) that he found success late in his career.

The FA was a natural home for his coaching abilities and pioneering approach to technology and he led the England under-21 side to back-to-back European titles in 1982 and 1984 before becoming the first FA technical director at Lilleshall.

He worked for England under Ron Greenwood and Bobby Robson and, after being overlooked by Graham Taylor, was restored to the international fold by Terry Venables in 1994, and worked for Glenn Hoddle, Kevin Keegan and Sven-Goran Eriksson, for whom he organised an invaluable scouting network.

He settled in Kenilworth where a building, Sexton House, was named in his honour in 2008, while he was awarded an OBE for services to football in 2005.

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