Ron Greenwood

Ron Greenwood

Ron Greenwood, the son of a painter and decorator, was born in Worsthorne, Lancashire, 11th November, 1921. The family moved to London when he was ten years old. After leaving school he became a signwriter. A talented centre-half, he joined Chelsea and made his debut in 1940 during the Second World War.

Greenwood joined the RAF and served in France during the conflict. After the war Greenwood found it difficult to obtain a regular place in the side and agreed to be transferred to Bradford Park Avenue for a fee of £3,500. He was appointed captain of the Second Division side and starred in a FA Cup victory over Arsenal in 1948.

Greenwood's form was so good that he was sold to Brentford for £9,000. As Ivan Ponting has pointed out: "A cool, constructive defender and a natural leader of men, the thoughtful Lancastrian he became skipper at Griffin Park, too, and in 1952 won an England "B" cap against Holland in Amsterdam."

In October 1952, Chelsea paid £16,000 for his services. The following season he witnessed Hungary beat England 6-3 at Wembley. The game convinced him that he wanted to become a football coach. He later recalled: “I knew then for sure and reality that football was a combination of thought and intelligence, and fun and concentration, and vim and vigour, and everything if you like, even art if you want to call it that.”

In the 1954-55 season Greenwood helped his club win the First Division championship. Greenwood gained a reputation as a good sportsman. He explained to Bobby Moore that when the club played Manchester United his job was to mark Tommy Taylor, the England centre-forward, who was a magnificent header of the ball. Greenwood was convinced that he could out-jump Taylor and that he would deny him scoring opportunities.

In his autobiography, Moore explained that: “The first cross came in and he (Greenwood) got a clear sight of the ball and went up expecting to head it away. Taylor timed his jump in front of him and got the touch and United nearly scored. A few minutes later the same thing happened again and Taylor scored from the header. So it went on through the game. Ron never changed his tactics, never tried to block Taylor’s run or nudge him off his jump, not even when Taylor stuck in United’s third with his head. He believed he was doing the right thing and when the last high ball of the game came into Chelsea’s penalty area he went up just the same. Still trying to win his first header of the afternoon, fair and square.”

Greenwood moved to Fulham in 1955 where under the influence of Walter Winterbottom became very interested in football coaching. After retiring from playing he coached Eastbourne United and the England Youth. When he became manager of the England Under-23 side, he made Bobby Moore his captain. Greenwood, became assistant manager at Arsenal in December 1957. Greenwood advised Jack Crayston to buy Moore. According to Moore: “One of Ron’s pet journalists come on my ear about getting away from West Ham to Arsenal… If the chance had come I would have loved to have gone to Arsenal for the same reason that Spurs appealed… a big club. But I suppose when they made the official approaches West Ham knocked them back.”

Crayston was replaced by George Swindin in 1958. Greenwood was disappointed that he was not given the job. In April 1961 West Ham United sacked Ted Fenton. Greenwood was approached about taking the post. He told one journalist that: "If they can get rid of one manager they can get rid of another." He changed his mind when he discovered that Fenton was only the third manager in over 60 years. The other attraction was the quality of West Ham's young players. In fact, Greenwood's first trophy came when West Ham United beat Liverpool 6-5 in the 1963 Youth Cup. The score-line reflects the success and problems of the tactics used by Greenwood.

Charles Korr, the author of West Ham United: The Making of a Football Club (1986) has argued that the appointment of Greenwood was a break with the past: "When supporters think of managers it is usually in terms of the success of the club. There is little else upon which to judge them. West Ham had been different in this respect because its pre-Greenwood managers had been with the club for so long in some capacity that supporters could identify with them. The manager at West Ham was something much more than a transitory employee. Greenwood's employment changed all those perceptions. He was not 'an old boy', and he made no attempt to add affections that would give the impressions that he was part of West Ham tradition."

Bobby Moore was pleased with the appointment. He told Geoff Hurst: "I've played under Ron at England Under-23 level. Things are going to change around here, this chap is incredible on the game." Moore informed his close friend, Jeff Powell: "Ron told me one of his major reasons for coming to West Ham was that he knew he had me there to start building his team around." Greenwood rated Moore very highly: "He was exceptional on the training ground, a coach's dream. Whatever you asked him to do, he could do it. Football came easy to him. It wasn't a question of teaching him, merely a question of honing his considerable abilities... I used him at West Ham as a sweeper, which was then an unknown position. He played loose behind the defence and he thrived there."

Ivan Ponting has argued: "Now began the most productive phase of his career. Immediately he felt rapport with the most wholesome of clubs, which had a close-knit family atmosphere, a comforting bedrock of East London support and a playing staff oozing with potential, much of which had yet to be realised. It was the perfect setting for a man of Greenwood's ability and outlook, and he set about moulding the Hammers into a formidable, if somewhat inconsistent force. That entailed a little shrewd dealing on the transfer market but, more importantly, making the most of the talent already at his disposal."

Greenwood sold Noel Cantwell to Manchester United and made Phil Woosnam captain. He also purchased the extremely talented Johnny Byrne for £65,000. He played him alongside Geoff Hurst. As Bobby Moore pointed out: "Greenwood turned Geoff Hurst from a bit of a cart-horse at wing-half into a truly great forward. None of us thought Geoff was going to make the switch... Playing up alongside Budgie must have helped. That man was magic." Greenwood also gave Martin Peters his debut. Moore claimed that: "He was virtually a complete player. In addition to all his talent he had vision and awareness and a perfect sense of timing."

In Greenwood's first full season, West Ham United finished in 8th place. At the beginning of the 1962-63 season Greenwood sold Woosnam to Aston Villa and made Moore captain. Greenwood argued: "I made him captain because he was such a natural leader and had everyone's respect... He was desperate to succeed and was a good captain because he didn't ask anybody to do anything he couldn't do."

Ron Greenwood alerted Walter Winterbottom, the England manager, to the rapid progress of his protégé. Winterbottom decided to take Moore to the 1962 World Cup in Chile. The football journalist, Ken Jones, who worked for the Daily Mirror wrote: "'Uncapped, pedestrian, not up to much in the air, suspect stamina. How could England select the 21-year-old Moore for the 1962 World Cup finals?" Moore made his début on 20th May 1962 in England's final pre-tournament friendly against Peru in Lima. England won 4-0 and as Moore pointed out: "Walter was pleased with the defensive performance and kept virtually the same team for all four matches in that World Cup."

Greenwood slowly built a good team round Bobby Moore. This included Jim Standen, John Bond, Jack Burkett, Ken Brown, Eddie Bovington, Ronnie Boyce, Peter Brabrook, Johnny Byrne, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters and John Sissons. Greenwood explained: "When I first went to West Ham they employed inside-forwards and wing-halves, but eventually we changed our system to a flat back four to encourage Bobby to play - he was the lynchpin. We set standards because we had players capable of it.... Our full-backs would push up and get forward. In fact, they were more attacking than some present-day wingers... At the back, Bobby could read along the line and cover the whole area. Everyone was tight going forward and Bobby played loose, free, behind everyone else, and the team could go forward with the confidence Bobby was always behind them, reading anything coming through, mopping up. It was a joy to watch him play."

John Lyall, who was only 23 years old when his career came to an end. Greenwood arranged for him to get a job as a wages clerk in the office at Upton Park and was given a part-time post, as youth team manager. When Jimmy Barrett retired, Lyall became youth team coach. Greenwood later commented: "John reacted like a man who had just been told he's won the pools. We sent him on courses and, as a man with the right qualifications and attitude, he began to grow with the job. By 1971 his youngsters were coming through into the first team and to provide continuity I decided to make him my assistant manager. Ernie Gregory was a bit disappointed, and I could understand why, but I felt we needed a younger man."

In his autobiography, Yours Sincerely (1984), Greenwood argued: "Our relationship was a very good one. John is a strong character with a Scottish background, stable, straight and single-minded. He has a nice, easy manner and I discovered very quickly that he was a person after my own heart. He wanted to know everything about the job but, more than that, he cared passionately about the club and the game. He was also a family man and he cared about people for their own sake." Andrew Mourant pointed out: "Under Greenwood, Lyall assimilated the things that helped define West Ham: tactics such as perfecting the near-post cross into space for players to attack, richly exploited by the likes of Geoff Hurst; and behaviour - Greenwood insisted on good manners."

Despite this, West Ham again struggled in the Football League in the 1963-64 season, finishing in 14th place. However, they were much better in the FA Cup and beat Charlton Athletic (3-0), Leyton Orient (3-0), Swindon Town (3-1), Burnley (3-2) and Manchester United (3-1) to get to the final at Wembley Stadium against Preston North End. Moore later recalled: "We were playing against Preston North End, a Second Division side. We'd been magic in the semi-final against Manchester United. Wembley should have belonged to West Ham. We won and it was good to win the first major honour. Apart from that it was a wash-out. We played badly. We spluttered. We didn't fulfill anything we had promised ourselves. Most of us felt let down. We were lucky to beat Preston, and bloody lucky Preston were no better than they were."

The score was 2-2 as the game approached the 90th minute. John Bond pointed out that both sides were extremely tired: "Tiredness and cramp was creeping in for some of the players on the lush Wembley turf. Extra time looked on when Geoff Hurst took the Preston defence on again, stumbled and recovered before sweeping the ball to Peter Brabrook on the right wing. Peter floated a great ball over the Preston defence; and then it all went into slow motion. As the ball floated across, everyone seemed to stop and watch it. Everyone except Ronnie Boyce that is, who came racing in unmarked to head past Kelly."

Ron Greenwood had won his first trophy and he was determined that it would be the first of many. As winners of the FA Cup West Ham entered the European Cup Winners' Cup. Played over two legs, victories against La Gantoise (2-1), Sparta Prague (3-2), Lausanne (6-4), Real Zaragoza (3-2) resulted in a final against TSV 1860 München at Wembley Stadium on 19th March, 1965.

West Ham won 2-0 with Alan Sealey scoring both goals. Ron Greenwood, later recalled: "Everything we believed in came true in that match." He added that it was Moore's greatest game under his management. Bobby Moore commented: "We benefited from the experience of the previous year and took part in what many people believe was one of the best matches ever played at the old stadium. There was a lot of good football and we played really well against a good side with a lot of good players."

West Ham's victory made them only the second British club to win a European trophy. Bobby Moore commented: "It was probably one of the greatest nights for a celebration the East End had known since VE Night. In West Ham, Plaistow, Bow, Ilford and Barking the pubs were packed and you could not travel very far without hearing people singing the West Ham national anthem. It was a night to remember all right... Everybody seemed to think it had been one of the finest games of football they had ever seen."

At the end of the 1965-66 season Don Revie, the manager of Leeds United, attempted to buy Bobby Moore, who wanted to leave the club. Moore, whose contract with West Ham came to an end on 30th June, 1966. Moore, who refused to sign a new contract, went to see Greenwood about the move: "There was no way we could negotiate. West Ham said they would not let me go in any circumstances. Ron and I had it out for hours. Finally we agreed to let it ride until after the World Cup."

The 1966 FIFA World Cup was held in Britain. Moore joined the England team for pre-tournament training at the beginning of July. However, under Football Association rules, a non-contracted player could not play for England. When Alf Ramsey heard about this, he ordered Moore back to Upton Park to sign a new contract with West Ham.

After their World Cup victory, Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters returned to West Ham United expecting to have a great season. As well as the three World Cup winners, the team included several talented individuals, Johnny Byrne, Peter Brabrook, Ken Brown, Ronnie Boyce, Harry Redknapp, John Sissons, Jim Standen, Dennis Burnett, Eddie Bovington, Jack Burkett and John Charles. The club also had a manager, Ron Greenwood, who was considered to be one of the best coaches in the country. However, West Ham could only finish in 16th place and were knocked out by Swindon Town in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup. Moore recalled that: "When we got back they had smashed in the windows of my sports shop opposite the ground. I couldn't be angry. It was as hard for us to understand how a team with three World Cup-winning players kept getting it wrong."

In an interview he gave to Jeff Powell, Moore admitted that if "you looked at a few of the individuals and felt there might have been room for improvement." Moore named Jim Standen, Ken Brown and Jack Burkett as players who fell into that category. "If you wanted to be really critical you could find better goalkeepers than Jim Standen... Ken Brown was far from being everyone's ideal at centre half... Jackie Burkett at left back was a very limited player."

Moore was also critical of John Sissons who never developed into the player he thought he could be: "He (Sissons) scored a goal in the FA Cup Final and was still only nineteen when he played in our European Final. At the time he would have been in my squad for the 1966 World Cup. But he never got any better... I'm sure there were many times in those five or six years when Ron made up his mind to leave John out of the side. Then you would see him Monday to Friday in training, up front in the road runs, fastest in the sprints, drilling them into the net with that left foot in five-a-sides, showing you ball skills which demanded a place in the team. Come the Saturday afternoon, nothing. John Sissons was non-existent. He was a thoroughbred who never matured."

Bobby Moore thought that a major problem was that Greenwood could not communicate his ideas to most of the West Ham players: "Ron talked about the game at such a high level that sometimes he went straight over the head of the average player... Some days I believe there were only a couple of us who understood a word he was on about. He never seemed to realise that he should have been talking down to more than half the team... Ron needed to work with the best, the elite players."

Ron Greenwood accused Moore of undermining his authority. Greenwood called Moore into his office and complained: "I know you take in what I'm saying, but will you please also look as if you're listening. How else can I make the rest pay attention." Moore told a friend: "Ron asked me why I didn't go to him any more, to ask about the game. He took it as a sign that I was turning against him... Although he respected me, he didn't like me."

Moore claimed that the main reason why he did not talk to Greenwood about the players was because he did not want his team-mates to think he was being disloyal to them: "Perhaps I should have been a go-between. Perhaps it would have helped when things started to go wrong. But I looked on myself as one of thirty professionals, one of the chaps. I didn't want the people I had to play with thinking I was picking the team. Budgie (Byrne) was much closer to Ron, always in and out of his office. But he had a bubbling personality and could get away with it. Nobody would accuse Budgie of getting them dropped."

John Charles argues that Ron Greenwood "was a great coach". However, he added: "I was never one of Ron's boys... I think a good manager gets to know the boys who they've got. He'll mix with them. The more you mix with them the more you know... Greenwood was a bit careful, maybe sly even. For instance, he'd just leave you out and not tell you. I hardly ever spoke to him, as it happens, no one did really. People did have a go at Greenwood every now and then. I think him and Bobby had their rows."

In his autobiography, Bobby Moore argued that: "When we won the two cups Ron had a good team because he had a majority of good players. We could have gone on to dominate the game for a period, the way Leeds did later." Moore complained that Greenwood did not know how to motivate players: "The lads would come in the dressing room with their heads down and he would say we would talk about it on Monday. Why wait? Tell me what I did wrong. Tell another one he can't bloody play. Tell that player he bottled it. He knew, alright. No man never saw so much in a game as Ron Greenwood. But motivation was not his strength. Some games I would love to have done it. Perhaps he wanted me to. But I didn't see it as my job. Not even as captain. It wasn't up to me to slag another player, and God knows I played with enough who weren't good enough."

In 1967 Moore did go to see Greenwood about the team. He argued that the team needed more steel in defence. Moore suggested that the club should sign Maurice Setters: "I begged Ron to sign Maurice. He was tough and could play a bit and we needed to be harder at the back." Greenwood refused claiming that he was "too much of a rebel". Instead, he bought John Cushley from Celtic. Greenwood told Moore, "A nice boy. Been to college".

Cushley was also considered to be a hard player: "Ron knew in his heart that we needed someone to do some kicking... Ron tried to close his eyes to it. In John Cushley he was buying a compromise which satisfied his conscience. A nice lad who could get stuck in... He couldn't expect everyone to be like me and win by intelligence." However, soon after joining West Ham, Greenwood told Cushley after one game: "John, I've bought you to be tough but sometimes you've got to take it easy."Cushley told Moore: "I'm playing it too hard. The manager doesn't like me."

Bobby Moore argues that the same thing happened when Greenwood bought Alan Stephenson from Crystal Palace. Moore heard Greenwood saying to Stephenson: "Alan, you can't get stuck in like that all the time. Sometimes you've got to read it, hold off, use your brain." Moore commented that "Ron was looking for perfection, but it was another centre-half spoiled."

Jeff Powell has argued that Greenwood was right to try to maintain this approach to football: "Those principles guided Greenwood through his coaching and management and won him the respect and admiration of hundreds of people deeply involved in the game. The flowing, open football which Greenwood's beliefs demanded of West Ham also earned him the gratitude of tens of thousands of football-loving spectators who relished watching his team. At times West Ham stood alone against the violence, brutality and intimidation which, in the late Sixties and early Seventies, threatened to bludgeon all the enchantment out of English football."

Geoff Hurst has suggested that: "The style of play he developed may not have been conducive to the nine-month slog of the league championship race, some of the football West Ham played in his time was the most attractive and memorable in the world. The Upton Park loyalists appreciated the way we played and, most tellingly, came back year after year because they knew they would see a good game of football. West Ham had a well-deserved reputation for high-quality attacking football and Ron was responsible for that." Greenwood agreed with Hurst: "The crowds at West Ham haven't been rewarded by results, but they keep turning up because of the good football they see. Other clubs will suffer from the old bugbear that results count more than anything. This has been the ruination of English soccer."

Hurst conceded that some critics, including Brian Clough, "felt that a West Ham team with Hurst, Moore and Peters should have had greater success." Hurst claims that: "What few understand outside West Ham was that Greenwood cared more about football's finer values than about winning for winning's sake. He was a man of principle and he cared about the sport in a way that many would not understand in the modern game."

In 1967 Greenwood purchased Billy Bonds from Charlton Athletic. Three of the talented local young players, Trevor Brooking, Frank Lampard and Brian Dear had also become regulars in the first team. However, West Ham could only finish in 12th place in the First Division and were knocked out of the FA Cup in the 4th Round against Sheffield United. Greenwood persevered with these youngsters and the following season they finished in 8th place.

It looked like Greenwood was building a team that might recapture the success of the mid-60s. However, the 1969-70 season was a disaster with West Ham only narrowly escaping relegation. They also lost in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup to Middlesbrough. Moore blamed Greenwood for not bringing in the right players. Geoff Hurst was more supportive of Greenwood: "He liked young players with open minds. He challenged them to learn. I took up the challenge them to learn. I took up the challenge. So did others. It was no coincidence that Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and I were among those who flourished in the environment he created at West Ham... Some, of course, ignored the opportunities he presented. There were other talented youngsters at the club, such as Johnny Sissons, Brian Dear and Trevor Dawkins who may have made it to the very top of the profession had they applied themselves more diligently."

Another problem was that Greenwood was unaware of the drinking culture at the club. Bobby Moore, Johnny Byrne, John Cushley, John Charles, Harry Redknapp and Brian Dear were all heavy drinkers. The situation was made even worse with the arrival of Jimmy Greaves in 1970. Trevor Brooking believed that before he left the club, Byrne caused serious problems for Greenwood. "Johnny Byrne was a delightful fellow whom it was impossible to dislike... but he was very undisciplined, particularly when it came to drinking."

Bobby Moore, was one of Byrne's drinking companions. He admitted that Byrne damaged his career with his drinking. "If it hadn't been for the drink aggravating his weight problem Budgie would have been with us in the 1966 World Cup Final." However, Moore felt that his drinking never had an impact on his performance on the pitch. "When I first started out as a young professional I wouldn't dream of taking a drink after Thursday." This changed when Byrne arrived at the club. Moore claimed alcohol helped him unwind but admitted that some West Ham players drank too much: "Ron Greenwood said he felt we were getting a team of nice lads together. I sat and wondered who the hell had ever won anything in football with eleven nice people. But in the next room John Cushley and John Charles, two of the nice boys, were falling off their beds drunk at three in the afternoon."

The problem was that as captain, Bobby Moore was setting a terrible example to the young players at the club. Geoff Hurst pointed out: "He (Greenwood) wanted players to accept responsibility for themselves. But there are risks involved... Players let him down. Some let him down spectacularly, none more so than Bobby Moore." Harry Redknapp admitted much later about the drinking habits of the players: "Did we have some nights out or what? There's a few that I couldn't repeat." After one bad performance the players were banned from going out while in a Stoke hotel. "We used to like going out in Stoke because there were a couple of good clubs, so some of us sneaked out the window at the back of the hotel, ran across the motorway and found some cabs. We had a good time and came back about four in the morning. Climbing over a fence to sneak back in, Bobby slipped and a spike went into his leg... When we got home we had to report back in the afternoon and Bobby turned up saying he had tripped in the garden and landed on a fence. But Bobby was out for three weeks before he landed on a spike while out on the booze in Stoke."

By 1970 Martin Peters had given up of winning major honours with West Ham and was transferred to Tottenham Hotspur. As Trevor Brooking pointed out in his autobiography: "When Martin left West Ham in March 1970, the fee of £200,000, which included a valuation of £54,000 for Jimmy Greaves, was a British transfer record. Tottenham gained an international midfield player who was still in his prime whereas West Ham obtained the services of a once-great player who no longer had a zest for the game."

Despite bringing in Jimmy Greaves and Tommy Taylor from Leyton Orient West Ham finished in 20th place in 1970-71 season. West Ham also lost 4-0 to Blackpool in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup. Bobby Moore later recalled: "We were totally outplayed... They were steamed up to have a go and West Ham were never in it. We were left once again with the feeling of utter disappointment at being beaten by a team from lower down the League. Our position in the First Division didn't mean much at the time and everything that season hinged on a good Cup run. But those results had become a regular occurrence."

On the Monday following the game, it was discovered that Bobby Moore, Jimmy Greaves and Brian Dear were out drinking the night before the game. Moore explained: "People will throw up their hands in horror at the thought of professional sportsman going for a drink the night before a game. But it was hardly a diabolical liberty. In fact we thought very little about it. We were in bed by one-thirty and got up about ten o'clock the next morning. That's a good night's sleep by anyone's standards.... The problem was not the drinking. It was the result."

Bobby Moore went to see Ron Greenwood about what had happened: "I've come to apologise. We know we did wrong but it wasn't done with any ill intent. All we can do now is apologise." Greenwood replied: "You've hurt me. Let me down. I don't want to talk about it any more. It will be dealt with in due course." The punishment was a two week suspension for Moore, Greaves and Dear, plus a fine of a week's wages, in Moore's case £200.

Moore, who suffered from insomnia, believed he played better after going out for a drink on Friday night than spending several hours tossing and turning in bed. "If you don't have trouble sleeping, you don't know what a hell it can be. Sometimes I'll go downstairs and fall asleep reading. So I'll stir and go back to bed. Then I can't get back to sleep again. There is no way having a drink is worse for me than all that nonsense."

He defended himself against the charge that he was a bad influence on the younger players: "I hope I didn't influence other players, particularly younger players, to drink. I always invited a young player into my company if he was feeling left out of things. If he didn't want to drink that was fine by me. Every individual knows what he's capable of and what's good for him."

On 1st April, 1972, Ron Greenwood became the first club manager to select three black players for a First Division game: Clyde Best, Ade Coker and Clive Charles. West Ham beat Spurs 2-0. Best argued later: "I think most English clubs back then were naive and scared to give black players a chance.... But in football, as in any sport or other walk of life, a competitor or a person should always be judged on his or her ability to perform, not by their colour."

Moore continued to try to get a transfer away from West Ham United. In the summer of 1973 Moore was told by Nigel Clarke, who worked for the Daily Mirror, that Brian Clough, the manager of Derby County, wanted to buy him. Moore spoke to Clough on the phone and told him that he was keen on a move to Derby. In September 1973, the West Ham directors agreed a £400,000 bid for Bobby Moore and Trevor Brooking. However, once again, Greenwood blocked the deal. Moore went to see Greenwood: “I had to accept a sort of compromise. If I stayed to help them through that season they would let me go on a free transfer at the end. So I would be able to negotiate a good deal for myself. Transfers are often about luck and timing. It wasn’t long before Cloughie left Derby and Ron was telling me about what a favour he’d done me by stopping me from going up there.”

Moore's club form also went into decline and he was replaced in the West Ham team by Mick McGiven. Greenwood was now willing to sell Moore. However, other First Division teams were unwilling to take him. Moore wanted to go to Crystal Palace where Malcolm Allison was the manager. "I believed Malcolm could give me the lift and the appreciation I needed to go on playing well, raise my game again. I wanted Malcolm to tell me where I went wrong and to pat me on the back when I did well. No matter how long you're in the game you need that just like you do when you're a schoolboy."

However, Allison failed to make an offer and the only serious bid for his services came from Alec Stock, the manager of Fulham, who were in the Second Division. Alan Mullery told him: "Glad you're coming, Bob. You'll love it at Fulham. When I was leaving Tottenham I wanted another First Division club, just like you do. But when I got the opportunity to go back to Fulham I couldn't wait. The atmosphere's different class and all the lads are dying to learn from you. They'll do anything for you." Moore, who cost £25,000, found it difficult to recapture his form in the Second Division.

In the 1973-74 season West Ham United finished in 18th place. Ron Greenwood decided that he had done all he could with this squad of players and told John Lyall: "You be team manager and concentrate on that and I'll become general manager, and deal with financial matters, look at opponents, size up players we might want to buy and handle everything else." Lyall was put in charge of team selection, tactics and training. Greenwood upset the directors when he told the press before them about his decision to give up the job of team manager.

Greenwood argued: "John Lyall is a harder man than me and I know that over the years he not only noted the things I did which worked but also benefited from my mistakes. And with a harder manager West Ham are now a harder side - though the important traditions remain." In his first season Lyall sold Bryan Robson to Sunderland and bought three new strikers: Billy Jennings, Keith Robson and Alan Taylor. The league form improved and they finished in 13th place. The club did even better in the FA Cup beating Southampton (2-1), Swindon Town (2-1), Queens Park Rangers (2-1), Arsenal (2-0) and Ipswich Town (2-1) to reach the final at Wembley Stadium against Fulham, led by Bobby Moore.

The final took place on 3rd May, 1975. Ron Greenwood argued: "We knew exactly how Moore would play, of course, which meant we would not get away with much at the near post. He would always be there, so we decided to play the ball away from him all the time, and it worked very nicely." The first-half was goalless but in the 60th minute, Peter Mellor, the Fulham goalkeeper, failed to hold a shot from Billy Jennings and Alan Taylor knocked in the rebound. Five minutes later, Mellor dropped a shot from Graham Paddon and Taylor once again pounced and hit the ball into the roof of the net. West Ham had won the FA Cup for the second time in their history.

In 1977 the manager of England, Don Revie, resigned, when it appeared certain that they would fail to qualify for the 1978 FIFA World Cup. Greenwood was appointed as caretaker manager and after three performances he was given the job on a permanent basis. Although his team reached the 1980 European Championship, they won one of their first three matches against Belgium (1-1), Italy (0-1) and Spain (2-1) and were eliminated.

Greenwood was heavily criticised for some of his selections. The football journalist, Brian Glanville, argued in Football Memories (1999): "He would make some curious choices; even to the extent of dropping one of his most gifted West Ham protégés, the playmaker Trevor Brooking, in favour of the workaday Liverpool midfielder, Ian Callaghan... Later, when Tottenham's Glenn Hoddle made a coruscating debut for England at Wembley against Bulgaria ending with a spectacular goal, Greenwood promptly dropped him, too."

In November 1978 Greenwood selected Viv Anderson to play against international against Czechoslovakia at Wembley. Anderson later recalled: "It is only looking back that I realise the importance of it all, and the responsibility I was carrying." Ian Wright commented: "Winning that first cap may have been a small step for him in his career but it was a huge leap forward for black footballers in this country." Greenwood, who had promoted the careers of several black players at West Ham United stated "Yellow, purple or black - if they're good enough, I'll pick them".

Greenwood was attacked for not building his England team around the gifted schemer Glenn Hoddle. Greenwood, however, believed that the player's overall contribution to the team was not good enough. He refused to back-down and still managed to qualify for the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain. In the first round England beat France (3-1), Czechoslovakia (2-0), Kuwait (1-0). The second round was more difficult and two draws against West Germany (0-0) and Spain (0-0) resulted in them being knocked out of the competition.

After the World Cup, the 60 year old Greenwood decided to retire from the game. Ivan Ponting has argued that: "Greenwood had been a strong and positive influence on English football throughout his days as a coach and manager. An impeccable sportsman, he deplored the greed and hostility, the cynicism and win-at-all-costs attitude which had become increasingly pervasive. He was a deep thinker and skilled communicator who painted pictures with words on the training ground, believing simplicity was beauty and building his teams from that standpoint. He was no conventional hard man treating players as adults and expecting them to impose their own self-discipline." Greenwood once remarked that: "Football is a simple game. The hard part is making it look simple."

In retirement Greenwood increasingly suffered from headaches. Jackie Milburn once remarked: "Anyone who has ever headed a heavy leather-case ball with its attached lace will know exactly just how much it can hurt." As pointed out by The Encyclopedia of British Football: "On wet days the ball grew increasingly heavy as the leather soaked up large amounts of liquid. This, together with the lacing that protected the valve of the bladder, made heading the ball not only unpleasant but also painful and dangerous."

A large number of football players in the past have suffered long-term brain damage because of repeated heading of a heavy, wet ball. Research carried out by D. R. Williams in 2002 concluded that repetitive mild head trauma over the course of an amateur and professional footballer's career may increase an individual's risk of developing dementia in later life. Former players who have suffered from this disease include Stan Cullis, Joe Mercer, Bob Paisley, Jeff Astle, Bill Shorthouse, Peter Broadbent and Malcolm Allison.

Ron Greenwood died at his home in Sudbury, Suffolk, on 9th February 2006, aged 84, after a long struggle with Alzheimer's Disease.

Primary Sources

(1) Charles Korr, West Ham United: The Making of a Football Club (1986)

When supporters think of managers it is usually in terms of the success of the club. There is little else upon which to judge them. West Ham had been different in this respect because its pre-greenwood managers had been with the club for so long in some capacity that supporters could identify with them. The manager at West Ham was something much more than a transitory employee. Greenwood's employment changed all those perceptions. He was not 'an old boy', and he made no attempt to add affections that would give the impressions that he was part of West Ham tradition.

(2) Bobby Moore, and Ron Greenwood were interviewed by Jeff Powell for the bookBobby Moore: The Life and Times of a Sporting Hero (1993)

Ron told me one of his major reasons for coming to West Ham was that he knew he had me there to start building his team around." Greenwood rated Moore very highly: "He was exceptional on the training ground, a coach's dream. Whatever you asked him to do, he could do it. Football came easy to him. It wasn't a question of teaching him, merely a question of honing his considerable abilities... I used him at West Ham as a sweeper, which was then an unknown position. He played loose behind the defence and he thrived there."

(3) James Corbett, The Observer (7th August 2005)

Moore left West Ham on bad terms and was never again fully welcome at the club. The dispute went back to 1966 when he had sought a move to Tottenham; he believed that, with Spurs, he would have a better chance of winning the title. West Ham refused to sell - as the club was entitled to do in the era before freedom of contract - and Moore's determination to go almost prevented him from playing in the World Cup.

When his contract expired on 30 June, he was not only unattached to a club, but unaffiliated to the FA and ineligible to play for the national team. Alf Ramsey had to summon Moore and the West Ham manager, Ron Greenwood, to the England squad's base at Hendon before the two sides agreed to resolve their differences.

The dispute simmered on and, when Greenwood vetoed another transfer to Spurs four years later - which Moore, then 29, saw as his last chance of a big move - the relationship between the two deteriorated further. Finally, Moore was told he could leave on a personally lucrative free transfer at the end of the 1973-74 season.

West Ham reneged even on that promise and sold him to Fulham for £25,000. Although he still held the affection of the fans, Moore never went back to Upton Park, except for work. A friend told me how, driving through east London, Moore gestured towards the ground and said "that's West Ham over there" as if it were somewhere he'd visited once, rather than the scene of so many of his triumphs.

(4) Brian Glanville, The Guardian (10th February, 2006)

Though born in Burnley, Greenwood grew up and was educated in Alperton, north-west London. He showed precocious footballing promise, playing inside-left for the district school side when he was only eight. He became an apprentice signwriter in 1937, but his skill in minor football circles in the Wembley area was spotted, and in 1940 he was signed by Chelsea, the club with which he would, in the 1954-55 season, win a league championship medal.

But also in 1940, war saw him begin five years in the RAF. In December 1945, Chelsea pocketed a large fee when they sold Greenwood, by now a solidly built, strong tackling centre-half, to the second division Bradford Park Avenue, where he was captain. In the 1948-49 season Bradford themselves got a substantial sum by transferring him to Brentford, for whom he played more than 300 matches.

Chelsea bought him back in 1952, and in the 1954-55 season he made 21 appearances, half the total, in an era when they won what would, until the 21st century, be their only championship. Early in 1955 Greenwood moved to Fulham, where he ended an honourable, if not exceptional, playing career.

He had long been interested in coaching, held a full FA coaching badge, and coached the Oxford University football team for three years, which would be a crucial factor when he became England manager - largely because Thompson, the dominating figure in Oxford football, had become equally powerful in the counsels of the FA. In the mid-1950s, Greenwood coached the Arsenal team - he was assistant manager in 1958 under George Swindin, though their philosophies were very different. Greenwood was essentially a purist who believed in the arts and skills of the game. He was also an idealist - which accounted largely for his later resignation as West Ham's team manager. He was distressed by the way the professional game was going.... Always didactic, Greenwood liked to give small, selective press conferences after West Ham's home games. He emphasised what he called "good habits" - the ones that benefited not only the World Cup three, but successors like Trevor Brooking.

Whether it was wise to make Greenwood the England manager is a moot point. He seemed to have retired not only in body but in spirit, disillusioned with the game and curiously unfaithful to his proteges - never so much as when he left Brooking out of a Wembley international, preferring a clutch of less gifted Liverpool players. Later, after the hugely talented Glenn Hoddle crowned a fine debut for England against Bulgaria with a spectacular goal, Greenwood dropped him with the remark that "disappointment is part of football". By contrast, he seemed over-indulgent to a Kevin Keegan plainly no longer the force he once was.