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Ron Atkinson

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Larger than life character, Manchester United manager, television pundit.
Date of birth: 18th March 1939 (Liverpool).
Career history: Oxford United player (382 + 1 goals);
sub (12 goals). Manager of Cambridge Utd (1974-78);
West Bromwich Albion (1978-81 & 1987-88);
Manchester Utd (1981-86); Atletico Madrid (1988-89);
Sheffield Wednesday (1989-91 & 1997-98); Aston Villa (1991-94);
Coventry City (1995-96) and Nottingham Forest (1998-99).

One of a long line of journeymen players to blossom into top-line managers, today Ron Atkinson remains in the spotlight as a television commentator. His own playing days began with the obscure amateur side BSA Tools before he signed professional forms with Aston Villa in May 1956.

However, it was only by dropping into non-league football that Ron Atkinson was able to make his mark. Joining Oxford United of the Southern League, on August 18th 1962, he wore the number four shirt as the Manor Ground outfit played its first Football League game. Indeed, Ron’s younger brother Graham scored one of the U’s goals in a 2-3 defeat at Barrow.

Recovery was swift, however, and in the 1964-65 season both brothers were mainstays in the side that won promotion from division four.  Three seasons later, Ron Atkinson skippered Arthur Turner's side to another promotion as Oxford United were crowned third division champions at the end of the 1967-68 campaign.

Nicknamed “The Tank” because of his powerful, driving approach from the middle of the pitch, Ron Atkinson played his last league match in October 1971 having established a club record for the most league appearances. 

Then, in October 1974, he took up his first management job when moving from Kettering Town to Cambridge United, proving his potential at the Abbey Stadium.

Atkinson's next post was with West Bromwich Albion; his years at the Hawthorns seeing the Midlands club turn on the style in the top-flight to earn regular UEFA Cup jaunts.  The manager's reward for this success was his appointment as boss of Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson's predecessor, steering his Old Trafford charges to two FA Cup triumphs before being relieved of his duties.

Later, one of many managers to sit in the ‘hot seat’ at Atletico Madrid, before retiring from management in 1999, Ron Atkinson tasted more cup success with Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday.


Larger than life character, Man Utd manager, TV pundit

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