By 90Min
June 17, 2019

Sir Alf Ramsey is number 45 in 90min's Top 50 Great Managers of All Time series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next 10 weeks. You can find Wilfred Laurence's career overview of Ramsey here.


Sir Alf Ramsey may have possessed just three jobs in a 23-year managerial career, but that didn't stop him working with some of the most talented players of the 20th Century. 

Now, obviously, the majority of the players selected here come from that 1966 World Cup squad, because, you know, 54 years of hurt and all that, but there is also representation from his First Division-winning Ipswich Town side. 

And, in keeping with Ramsey's infamous decision, there's no place for legendary striker Jimmy Greaves, because, well, you know, hat-trick hero himself. 

Formation: 4-1-3-2.


Goalkeepers & Defenders

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Gordon Banks - He played every single minute of the 1966 World Cup triumph, produced the best save in history, lead Stoke City to the only major trophy they've ever won and was named FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year on no less than six occasions. Who else?  

George Cohen - Seemed consigned to play backup for Jimmy Armfield until Ramsey took a chance on him following Armfield's injury, and he swiftly became a mainstay on the flanks in '66. He's also the uncle of Rugby World Cup-winning winger Ben Cohen, so it's in the blood.

Jack Charlton - The lesser-sung brother of Bobby, and lesser-sung defensive partner of the other Bobby, Charlton was indispensable for England, and is the only player on this list to have lead a country of his own out at a World Cup as manager. 

Bobby Moore - Need I say more, except for excuse the pun? Nope, but I'll say it anyway. Bobby Moore was the greatest defender of the 20th century. There. Done. 

Ray Wilson - Considering the importance of full backs in Ramsey's various systems, it's perhaps surprising to note that his two greatest are probably the least celebrated of this rearguard, but Wilson, who was the oldest member of the '66 squad, deserves recognition.


Midfielders

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Nobby Stiles - The toothless wonder. Despite his diminutive stature, Stiles was one of the greatest midfield enforces of his generation. Indeed, so integral was he to Ramsey's plans, that the coach threatened to resign during the World Cup when FIFA suggested he could be suspended for a hard-nosed challenge. Marshalled Eusebio, probably the most talented player at the competition, out of the semi-final completely. 


Bobby Charlton - Ranked 24th on 90min's 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time list, Charlton is undoubtedly England's greatest and, out of everyone, probably possessed the greatest relationship with our man Alf, which, thinking about it, was probably pretty wise management from Rambo. 

Alan Ball - The youngest member of the '66 squad, Ball was a versatile playmaker, and a key goalscoring threat from midfield, scoring 180 league goals across a 22-year career. 

Martin Peters - A fellow youngster, at 22, Peters was just one year older than Ball in '66, and similarly influential. His crowning moment came when he put England in front with 12 minutes left of normal time in the final. It wasn't to be the winner, but still, quite the CV headliner.


Strikers

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Geoff Hurst - Jimmy Greaves is incensed, not for the first time, but how can you not include the only man who has scored a hat-trick in a World Cup final? It's impossible. Hurst's inclusion in that final was also one of the biggest decisions of Ramsey's career, so it makes sense.


Ray Crawford - Better late than never, here he is, the only member of this all-star XI to not win the 1966 World Cup! And it's Ipswich Town's finest, Ray Crawford! Though he was the first Tractor Boy to be capped by England in 1962, the season after the club's incredible First Division title, he would earn just one more. But that never stopped him from scoring over 300 goals at club level, 259 of which came in Suffolk.


Number 50: Marcelo Bielsa: The Argentina Manager's All Time Best XI

Number 49: Vic Buckingham: The English Manager's All Time Best XI

Number 48: Claudio Ranieri: The Tinkerman's All Time Best XI

Number 47: Bill Nicholson: The Tottenham Legend's All Time Best XI

Number 46: Sven-Goran Eriksson: The Former England & Lazio Manager's All Time Best XI

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