The Book

Sir Walter Winterbottom was arguably the most influential man in modern English football. He is best known as the first England team manager, but more than that he was an innovator of modern coaching, sports administrator and a man ahead of his time; a man who had a profound effect on English football and who laid the foundations for England's World Cup success in 1966. Walter managed them all, from Lawton to Charlton, and inspired many to become coaches: Ron Greenwood, Bill Nicholson, Jimmy Hill and Bobby Robson were amongst his disciples and took his gospel to the clubs they managed.

Born in 1913, Winterbottom started out as a teacher and physical education instructor, playing amateur football in his spare time. He was soon signed up by Manchester United, playing 23 first-team games in the 1936-37 season, but a spinal ailment prematurely cut short his playing career. During World War 11 he served as a wing commander responsible for physical training in the Royal Air Force. The FA appointed him as Director of Coaching and England team manager in 1946. He remains the only manager to take the national side to more than two World Cup Finals and was created an OBE in 1963 and a CBE in 1972 before being knighted in 1978. Walter died in 2002 but his legacy continues to inspire many in football today, and in March 2013 the FA unveiled a bust honouring him at National Football Centre at St George's Park..

With interviews and insight from top football names, this book – written by Winterbottom's son-in-law – also draws on personal diaries, photographs and letters. However, this is more than just a biography of one man – it is a story of how modern football came about.

Sir Walter Winterbottom

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