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A TRUE GREAT; Malcolm Allison: 1927-2010: Tributes as football legend dies.

Byline: DAMIAN SPELLMAN

TRIBUTES were paid last night to "one of the greatest coaches there has ever been in this country" following the death of soccer's Malcolm Allison.

Allison, who had been living at a nursing home in Sale and had suffered from dementia for several years, died aged 83.

He enjoyed a long and colourful career as a player, coach and manager, and is perhaps best remembered for his time at Manchester City, where he initially worked under Joe Mercer and then had two spells as manager in his own right.

Mike Summerbee, a member of the City side which won the league title, the FA Cup, the League Cup and the European Cup Winners' Cup under Mercer and Allison after emerging from Division Two, had little doubt about his standing in the game.

He said: "It is sad to lose not only a great character, but one of the greatest coaches there has ever been in this country.

"He was the best coach this country has ever had, without a shadow of a doubt. He was a great coach, a very special person and a nice man as well." Llandudno hotelier Trevor Mitchell became friends with Malcolm Allison in the mid eighties when he started working with Malcolm's son Mark for a property consultants company.

They had interests in both Spain and Portugal and this coincided with Allison's stay as manager of Vitoria de Setubal from 1986-1988.

He recalls a number of stories during this time with great delight.

"I will tell you this one .... a certain Sunday tabloid had arranged and paid for a number of the World Cup winning team of 1966 to come for a wine and dine in The Canteen (a restaurant in Setubal) It was during this that I asked Bobby Moore if he enjoyed watching the World Cup final. In case you didn't know I have no knowledge of football at all!

"We had a great time but Malcolm wanted an early exit, he winked at me and motioned to go, so I wheeled him towards the door, this was just after Malcolm had surgery on his ankle and was in a wheelchair so in effect I was his 'chauffeur!'" "As we approached the door we looked back to see the journalist from the paper yelling at us to help him as he was being chastised by six irate waiters as he had 20 different credit cards to pay the bill but no cash. The Canteen of course only took cash!" "Malcolm and I laughed so hard we nearly cried, he eventually signed for the bill and everyone was happy. We returned to the villa and drank red wine until it came out of our ears."
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 16, 2010
Words:454
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