World’s oldest football coach stands down aged 93


The world’s oldest football coach has finally retired at the age of 93 after a stunning career spanning 73 years – during which he trained over 9,000 players.

Dedicated Ivor Powell was one of the finest players of his generation before turning to coaching in the 1950s.

During his playing career he set a record transfer fee of £17,500 in 1946, was capped 14 times by Wales and lined up alongside the Sir Stanley Matthews at Blackpool.

He was awarded the MBE for services to sport in 2008 and was even introduced to Indian spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi while posted in India during WWII.

Since retiring as a player in the 1950s, he has worked as a manager and coach – including a successful stint alongside the infamous Don Revie at Leeds.

He joined the University of Bath in 1973 and famously took Team Bath to the first round of the FA Cup in 2002.

Incredibly, Ivor was still working full-time until his retirement and pulled on his boots to get involved in training sessions.

Enjoying his first day of retirement at home in Colerne, near Chippenham, Wilts., the grandfather-of-two said: ”The game has changed so much over the years I hardly recognise the modern-day premier league.

”When I was playing, it was more about the prestige of playing for your club. Money wasn’t even a consideration.

”It seems now that all anyone is interested in is how much a player will earn at his new club rather that what he could win. We played for the fans.

”That’s not to say it’s any worse, just different.”

Ivor, a former tough-tackling half-back, was working down the mines when QPR spotted him playing for Bargoed, his local team in South Wales.

His stint with the west London side was interrupted by the Second World War, when he enlisted as an RAF physical training instructor.

He was posted to India in 1943, where he joined the forces’ football team to play 46 matches in one 55-day spell to entertain troops, and was introduced to Gandhi.

Ivor went on to play as a guest for Blackpool, where he forged a long-lasting friendship with Sir Stanley Matthews, who was best man at his wedding.

The father-of-six has previously described Matthews the greatest footballer the country has ever produced, saying: ”I’d give him the ball and say: ‘There you go, Stan.’

”You didn’t see the bloody ball after that because he’d be off, up the line, weaving his way to the by-line before pulling it back into the area.”

Ivor returned to QPR in 1946 but two years later was transferred to Aston Villa for a then record fee of £17,500.

He managed Port Vale, Bradford City and Carlisle before joining the backroom staff at Leeds United, where he joined the infamous Don Revie and trained a squad which included stars Billy Bremner, Jackie Charlton and Norman Hunter.

In 2004, Ivor was inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame alongside football legends John Charles and Ian Rush.

Two years later, he was included in the the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s oldest working football coach – whilst enjoying his 90th birthday.

And in January 2008, he was awarded the MBE for services to sport.

Until yesterday, Ivor was employed full-time as coach of Team Bath but will continue to attend training sessions once day a week on a voluntary basis because football is ‘in his blood’.


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