Don Howe: Former Arsenal and England coach dies aged 80

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Don Howe's life as football coach

Former England international and coach Don Howe has died at the age of 80.

The full-back played for West Brom and Arsenal, earning 23 England caps, before establishing himself as a renowned coach for club and country.

Howe helped Arsenal to a league and FA Cup double in 1971 and spent four years as West Brom boss before returning to the Gunners as coach and manager.

He also coached under former England managers Ron Greenwood, Sir Bobby Robson and Terry Venables.

Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick said Howe had been "enduring a long battle with illness", but added it was still a "shock to learn the news".

'One of the greatest ever coaches'

Gary Neville
Former England international Gary Neville was coached by Don Howe at Euro 96

Howe played every game in the 1958 World Cup and was then a key part of Robson's coaching staff as England reached the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup, before also supporting Venables as his side made it to the last four of Euro 96.

Former Gunners goalkeeper Bob Wilson said Howe was "a fine player but truly he was one of the greatest ever coaches in football".

FA chairman Greg Dyke described his death as a "great loss for English football".

Dyke added: "He is widely regarded as being in the vanguard of coaching in England, and I know that his loss will be keenly felt amongst the coaching fraternity in particular and not least by [current England boss] Roy Hodgson, who was close to Don."

Hodgson said: "I found myself privileged to say he befriended me and I think it is a great loss and I am very sad.

"I think we were very fortunate growing up as young coaches to be able to take inspiration from Don, Sir Bobby Robson and Dave Sexton alongside him.

"He was absolutely one of the very best coaches I have ever come across in my life and, certainly in my opinion, one of the very best coaches England ever had."

The footballing life and times of Don Howe
1955: Makes West Brom debut, making 379 appearances for the club
1958: Appears at World Cup in Sweden, going on to earn 23 England caps
1964: Joins Arsenal from West Brom for £42,000, playing 74 times
1967: Becomes Gunners coach going onto help team to 1971 double
1971: Begins as West Brom manager, but suffers relegation in 1973
1977: After managing Galatasaray becomes Arsenal coach again, going on to manage the Gunners from 1984-86
1977: Also takes up England coaching role under Ron Greenwood, continuing under Sir Bobby Robson and Terry Venables

A man forever linked with Arsenal

Howe's managerial career also included spells at QPR, Coventry City and Turkish club Galatasaray, while he was also a coach under Bobby Gould when Wimbledon earned a shock win over Liverpool in the 1988 FA Cup final.

But he was best known for his relationship with Arsenal, which spanned five decades.

Appointed as Gunners manager in 1984, he was credited with developing the likes of former players such as the late David Rocastle, Martin Keown, Michael Thomas and Niall Quinn.

Former boss George Graham said that Arsenal's 1971 'Double' under manager Bertie Mee was "due to the organisation of Don".

Graham told BBC Radio 5 live: "He was a lovely man. Quiet in company but he could lose his temper as well. Certainly one of the best coaches I have worked for."

Wilson added: "He was innovative and for us as a club he was instrumental and inspirational. He made us believe as a team. He should be remembered forever for his contribution to coaching in England."

Gary Lineker Tweet
Gary Lineker worked under Howe during the 1990 World Cup when England reached the semi-finals