Notts County legend Sirrel dies, 86

SIR Alex Ferguson has led the tributes to legendary Notts County manager Jimmy Sirrel following his death yesterday at the age of 86.

Glasgow-born Sirrel, who also played for Celtic, first took charge of the Football League's oldest club in 1969, leading them to the top flight in 1981.

Hailed as the Magpies' greatest manager, he had three spells in charge – from 1969-75, 1978-82 and 1985-87.

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Manchester United manager and fellow Glaswegian Ferguson was a good friend. "All I can say is that I'd be confident in Jimmy Sirrel managing a team I supported, and that would be the general opinion from all the managers in the game," he said.

"People like Jimmy have had to work with either no money or little money and if you look at his career at Notts County and Sheffield United, you'll see he's done fantastically well with players who are quite limited."

Former Notts County and Scotland midfielder Don Masson also paid tribute to his former manager. He said: "I owe everything in my football career to Jimmy – he was fantastic."

The Magpies' record goalscorer Les Bradd said: "We certainly feared him on match days, particularly when he was throwing jugs of tea at us. But generally Jimmy was a friend to the players. He would tell funny stories, we would laugh at him."

Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington, signed for Notts County by Sirrel, said: "I have a lot of good feelings for Jim. He did wonders for my career at Notts County. He was an excellent coach and his man-management was very good, particularly with the young ones."

Sirrel, who left the Magpies for the first time in 1975 to take over at Sheffield United, regularly attended matches at Meadow Lane until recently. Notts County chairman John Armstrong-Holmes said: "The news has stunned everyone and although it's 20 years since Jimmy left the club, he was still affectionately remembered by everyone.

"It was indicative last year of how Notts County fans regarded him that the Trust commissioned a portrait of the great man. It now hangs prominently in the entrance to Meadow Lane and will be a permanent reminder of all he did for our club."

As a player, Sirrel joined Celtic at the tail-end of wartime football from Renfrew Juniors, scoring twice in ten games before the peacetime league format was re-introduced. He went on to play a further 18 games as inside-forward and notched another two goals in the process. However, injury blighted his time at Celtic Park and a free-transfer saw him move to Bradford Park Avenue in May of 1949.

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"The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Celtic Park are with Jimmy's friends and family at this sad time," said a statement from the Scottish Premier League club last night.

As well as playing for Celtic and Bradford Park Avenue, Sirrel was a right-winger with Brighton before he moved to Aldershot, where he began his coaching career. A statement on the Aldershot website yesterday read: "Jimmy passed away in the early hours of Thursday morning following a period of ill-health. All at Aldershot Town FC would like to express their sincere condolences to Jimmy's friends and family."


2 February 1922

Born in Glasgow


After spending the inter-war years in the Royal Navy, turns down contracts from Rangers and Arsenal and joins Celtic. Makes 13 appearances for the club, scoring twice.


Leaves Celtic Park to fulfil a playing career that would take him to Bradford Park Avenue, Brighton and Aldershot.

September 1967

First managerial appointment at Brentford. Finishes 14th and 11th in old Fourth Division.

November 1969

Appointed Notts County manager, taking the team from Fourth to Second Division in six years. Achieves promotion to First Division in 1981.


County' Road Stand renamed in Sirrel's honour.