Wednesday, September 26, 2012

John Bond 1932-2012

John Bond might not have managed a 'big club' - with respect to Man City they were a club on the way down when he was their manager - but he was a genuine football man who learned his craft under Ted Fenton and then Ron Greenwood.

'Muffin' as he was affectionately known by the home crowd at the Boleyn was one of a group of players that included Malcolm Allison, Dave Sexton, Frank O'Farrell,  who would spend hours after training in a cafe on the Barking Road moving salt and pepper pots around on the table to illustrate different tactics. Bond was an attacking right back who was also pressed into service as an emergency centre forward on more than one occassion, once scoring a hat-trick against Chelsea.

He was known as 'Muffin' because there wasn't anything subtle about his kicking - Muffin The Mule was the name of a children's t.v character and not, as the old joke went, a sexual act! My Mum used to tell a story of how during one home game he went to take a corner on the left side of the pitch and managed to kick the ball so high into the air that it drifted back towards him, not an easy feat in those far off days of leather balls which resembled medicine balls on a wet day.

After leaving West Ham (he made 444 appearances) he went down to Torquay where he played for another three years and enjoyed a similar popularity to that he had enjoyed at West Ham. When his career ended he decided that he was going to put all that experience and tactical nous to good use and having failed to get a couple of managers jobs he was successful in his application for the job at Bournemouth where he began his managerial career in 1970. You have to be of a certain vintage to remember the days when BBC Match of The Day's main match featured two clubs from outside of the top division of English football but February 12 1972 (my twelfth birthday as it happens) featured as its main match Aston Villa v Bournemouth from the 'old' Third Division. Just over 48,000 were at Villa Park to see the home team come from behind to win 2-1, Bournemouth's only consolation being that their goal, a diving header by Ted MacDougall won goal of the month. Bournemouth finished third that season behind Villa and Notts County.

Bond stayed at Dean Court until 1973 when he left for Norwich City, a club it would be fair to say that has always punched above its weight but where Bond is still revered to this day as the man who brought back the smiles to the faces of the Carrow Road crowd. With old West Ham boy Martin Peters, Phil Boyer and Ted MacDougall (after flops at Man Utd and West Ham), Norwich played attacking football but were regarded as something of a yo-yo club being relegated and then promoted between the First and Second Divisions whilst also reaching a League Cup Final.

The ex-West Ham player connection followed 'Muffin' to his next job at Man City where he succeeded Malcolm Allison as manager. Bond was just as flamboyant as Allison  City's greatest day under Bond was the 1981 FA Cup Final where Steve McKenzie scored one of the great FA Cup Final goals which was later consigned to the memories of just anoraks like me by Ricky Villa's brilliant winning goal in the replay for Spuds.

For a generation of football fans who grew up with Match of The Day on a Saturday and The Big Match on a Sunday John Bond was rarely off the screens. He was one of the old school who said what he thought and damn the consequences or the army of easily offended ex and fellow professionals. Along with Brian Clough, Malclom Allison, Jack Charlton, Derek Dougan and Johnny Giles, John Bond represented a footballing generation that told it how it was on a Sunday lunchtime or for international matches.

John Bond was respected by fans of all the clubs he played for and managed right through Burnley, Birmingham, Shrewsbury and Swansea. I saw him play but my memories aren't clear, I know he was disappointed at not being selected ahead of Joe Kirkup for the European Cup Winners Cup Final at Wembley in 1965 and I was so disappointed that my Dad and Uncle John wouldn't take me that I sat on the stairs at home and cried, well I was only five. I have the DVD of the FA Cup Final in 1964 against Preston which now seems like another sport played on another planet, a team of eleven Englishmen, managed by an Englishman, winning the FA Cup (just as West Ham would do again in 1980 with eleven Englishmen managed by an Englishman) against another side containing seven Englishman, three Scots and an Irishman   

P.S what this post proves is how much 'rubbish' you take in during your formative years. With the exception of the date and crowd of the Villa v Bournemouth match I didn't have to search any of the above information.


A Northern Bloke said...

The 1964 FA Cup Final was the first televised live football match I can remember. I'm from Preston and it was a big occassion. I recall that we were 2-1 up at half time and our centre forward (Alex Dawson) had scored. In the second half West Ham's outside left, Sissons, tormented our defence and we lost 3-2. Howard Kendall was, at 17, the youngest player to play in an FA Cup Final.

48 years ago......Crikey!

Paul said...

It's funny Shy but I met another Preston fan a while back and he had the same memories of that day as you.

John Sissons was a good little player who ended up at Sheff.Wed.

Yes 48 years ago, a long time in football.

Span Ows said...

Not that I remember it clearly but he sold Lee Dixon from Burnley when he was manager there...I'm glad he did but it was not altogether impressive route via Chester, Bury and Stoke City that Lee arrived at Arsenal!

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