Monday, April 30, 2012

30 April 1974 - That's The Penalty For Setting High Expectations

On 30 April 1974, the FA sacked England manager Alf Ramsey, who led the team to World Cup glory in 1966.

Ramsey took charge of England in May 1963 after a successful time at Ipswich Town. He began his new job in bold style, claiming that they would win the upcoming 1966 World Cup as hosts. And he made good on his promise. After opening the tournament with a scoreless draw against Uruguay, England reeled off five straight victories, including a 4-2 win over West Germany in the final to lift the cup.

But the decline started soon after. In 1968, England finished third out of four teams in the European Championships and, two years later, they were eliminated by West Germany in the first knockout round of the 1970 World Cup. West Germany again proved to be their nemesis in 1972, ending England's qualification campaign for the 1972 European Championships.

The final straw for Ramsey came in October 1973, when a draw with Poland prevented England from qualifying for the next year's World Cup. Although he remained in charge for another six months, the failure to reach the World Cup effectively sealed his fate. The FA finally dropped the curtain on his tenure at the end of April despite his overall record of 69 wins, 27 draws, and only 17 losses in 119 matches played.

He later had a brief spell in charge of Birmingham City (1977-78) and another as technical director of Panathinaikos (1979-80) but could not recapture the success he had with Ipswich and England. He died of a heart attack in 1999 and, in 2002, was an inaugural inductee into the English Football Hall of Fame.

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