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Saturday links - Malcolm Allison, 1927-2010

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Photo by Getty Images
Photo by Getty Images

There have been some excellent pieces about Malcolm Allison in the twenty-four hours or so since his death. Take some time out this morning to read the best of them:

  • In came Book, Francis Lee and "the best player I've ever seen', Colin Bell. So did Allison's left-field ideas. Players built up their lung capacity by wearing gas masks in training. City trained with ballet dancers and Olympic sprinters and the mesmeric coach offered advice on diet and nutrition. [FourFourTwo]
  • Characterised by the press as a fedora-wearing, cigar-smoking Flash Harry, Allison was also one of the most thoughtful and inspirational coaches of his time, as he demonstrated above all during his eight years at Manchester City from 1965. [The Telegraph]
  • With Allison as assistant manager and coach, under the benign aegis of Joe Mercer as manager, City had flourished, winning the Second Division Championship in 1966, the League title in 1968, the FA Cup in 1969, and in 1970 both the European Cup-Winners Cup and League Cup. [Brian Glanville, The Guardian]


  • "Big Mal" offered plenty of evidence on that score during a sublime partnership with Joe Mercer at Manchester City in the late 1960s and early 1970s. When they were together , with Mercer's wisdom and maturity moderating the excesses of his charming but headstrong protege, almost everything they touched turned to gold. [Ivan Ponting, The Independent]
  • The best of Big Mal some time ago drifted off into a half-world that was the most poignant mockery of all the wit and vibrancy and sheer, madcap courage that made him the most brilliant football coach of his times.....few men, in or out of the boundaries of the game he made so thrilling, will ever be more easily conjoured. [James Lawton, The Independent]
  • Malcolm Allison, who died yesterday at the age of 83, was a big man of football with big ideas - some profound, some impractical and a few...well, just ideas. Ron Greenwood believed that the biggest asset a player could have was imagination, and this Allison had in abundance. [David Lacey, The Guardian]
  • There was a time I wasn't playing well for a variety of reasons. Mal spread the word, saying I was washed up, finished, knowing that it would get back to me. It did to such an extent that, one game, I felt I was not only playing the other team, I was playing Malcolm Allison as well. But it worked. I had a blinder and never looked back. [Mike Summerbee]
  • Mike Summerbee once told me that Malcolm Allison was the greatest coach this country has ever seen. Gary Owen, another former Manchester City hero, once told me he was baffled by Allison's techniques. Different portraits, same man. Allison never was easy to pin down. [Mike Whalley]
  • By the time Allison teamed up with Joe Mercer, the black curtains were about to be drawn. Within months colour flooded back into the lifeless body and the sky blue half of the city awoke to a period of laughter and unbridled triumph. [Down the Kippax Steps]