Ward's Book of Days.

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What happened on this day in history.

APRIL 28th  

On this day in history in 1999, died Alf Ramsey.

Ramsey was arguably the best football manager of all time, and is best remembered for leading England to victory in the 1966 World Cup.  

Alfred Ernest Ramsey was born on 22nd January 1920 at Dagenham. After leaving school, he became a grocerís boy and would have advanced his career in the grocery trade had not the Second World War started in 1939, when he joined the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.  

He represented his regiment at football and, on one occasion, when the army team lost 10-0 to Portsmouth, the opposition manager was so impressed with his performance, that he offered him a regular place with the team, then playing in the War League. In 1943, Ramsey moved to Southampton and in 1949 to Tottenham Hotspur. At Spurs, he played right back in over 250 league and cup games.  

In 1948, Ramsey was selected for the England team, making his debut against Switzerland and playing as captain three times. His last game was the 6-3 defeat by Hungary in 1953. He retired as a player in 1955, to become a manager of Third Division Ipswich Town. Ramsey took Ipswich from the Third Division to the First and, in 1962, led them to the League title at the first attempt in the top flight. Ramsey was noted for his tactical astuteness, bringing out the best of a reliable but not spectacular squad. He earned a reputation as a manager who could perform near miracles with an unexceptional side.  

In 1963, Ramsey succeeded Walter Winterbottom as manager of the England football team, and immediately pompously predicted that England would win the next World Cup in 1966. Before taking on the job, he demanded complete control over squad selection, an innovatory idea as previously teams were chosen by a committee of officials. He became known as 'England's first proper manager'.  

In 1966, Ramsey led his team to the World Cup, being played in England. After a series of gruelling matches, England reached the final against the favourites, West Germany. In a thrilling final, England were denied a victory by a bitter German equaliser in the last minute of full time. His words of encouragement to the squad were "You've won it once. Now you must win it again." This produced the desired result, giving England victory 4-2, making Ramsey the only English manager to take the World Cup. Ramsey received a knighthood the following year.  

In the 1970ís, Englandís fortunes declined and Ramsey was dismissed as manager in 1974. Ramsey worked for a time as technical advisor to various clubs, and as caretaker manager of Birmingham City. Also in comic book format, he became caretaker manager of Melchester Rovers, while Roy of the Rovers lay in a coma. In 1998, during the World Cup, Ramsey suffered a severe stroke. He died on 28th April 1999, aged 79, and is buried in Ipswich. [Ipswich Old Cemetery, 10 Cemetery Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 2TQ]

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