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John Angus Lyall (24 February 1940 – 18 April 2006) was an Englishmarker footballer and manager of Scottish descent. He was born in in Ilfordmarker, Essex.

Lyall was a useful defender for West Ham United until he suffered a knee injury at the age of 23 and never played again. He rose through the coaching ranks at Upton Parkmarker to succeed Ron Greenwood as team manager, managing West Ham for 15 years (1974-1989). In 1975, at the end of his first season as manager, West Ham won the FA Cup but they slipped down to the Second Division in 1978 and did not return to the First Division until 1981.

During their exile from the top flight, (in 1980), West Ham beat Arsenal in the FA Cup final, the last lower league side to do so. Lyall also took West Ham to their highest ever league finish in the 1985-1986 First Division campaign when they finished third behind champions Liverpool and runners-up Everton. Unfortunately they were unable to compete in the UEFA Cup because of the ban on English teams from European competition arising from the previous year's Heysel Disastermarker.

John Lyall was sacked in June 1989 after West Ham United were again relegated to the Second Division, but he made his return to football management on 11 May 1990 with Ipswich Town. During the 1989-90 season, he acted as Technical advisor to Terry Venables.

At the end of 1991-1992, John Lyall guided Ipswich Town to the Second Division championship and promotion to the newly-formed Premier League. In January 1993, Ipswich were fourth in the Premiership and fans were hoping for at least a UEFA Cup place, maybe even the Premiership title. But a dip in form during the final weeks of the season saw Ipswich finish 16th and 1993-94 brought a similar pattern, a good start following by a slump - Ipswich finished 19th in the final table and were only saved from relegation by Sheffield United's last gasp 3-2 defeat at Chelsea. John then 'moved upstairs' and took on the role of Director of Football with Mick McGiven taking control of 1st team management at Portman Road.

John Lyall resigned as Ipswich Town manager in December 1994, with the club bottom of the Premiership, and never returned to football management.

Lyall died suddenly on 18 April 2006, at the age of 66, after suffering from a heart attack. His wife and family still live in Suffolk.
Sports Heritage Blue Plaque for John Lyall at West Ham's Boleyn Ground


When West Ham played Middlesbrough F.C. in the FA Cup Semi Final on 23 April 2006, a one minute silence was held in Lyall's honour, although after only a few seconds the West Ham fans started a chant of "Johnny Lyall's claret and blue army" in tribute to their most successful ever manager. West Ham won the match 1-0 to reach their first FA Cup Final since 1980.

On 5 December 2007 it was announced that the Heritage Foundation charity would be erecting a blue plaque in Lyall's memory at West Ham's Upton Park groundmarker on 20 January 2008.

References

  1. Newham Recorder - Blue plaque tribute for legendary Lyall



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