LONDON: Don Howe, one of the outstanding figures of English football as a player and then coach, has died aged 80.

Howe, born on October 12, 1935, in Wolverhampton, was widely respected through the British game and particularly at West Bromwich Albion where he was player and later manager. However it was as a coach that he made his most significant contributions and highlighted the importance of the role in the modern game.

Howe turned professional in 1952 and, three years later, made the first of his 350 games for the club over 12 years. He won 23 caps at rightback for England for whom he played at the 1958 World Cup finals in Sweden.

In 1964 he joined Arsenal in 1964, duly becoming club captain, but was forced into premature retirement after a leg fracture in March 1966.

Howe subsequently became Arsenal’s reserve team coach under Bertie Mee, then stepped up to first team coach in 1968 and was a crucial influence behind the 1970-71 ‘double’ team.

He returned to West Bromwich as manager but they were relegated in 1973. Howe then joined Leeds as a coach, later becoming assistant manager under Jimmy Armfield, before moving on to manage Turkish club Galatasaray in 1975.

Howe rejoined Arsenal in 1977 as head coach, under Terry Neill. He also became a part-time member of the England set-up in 1981, working under Ron Greenwood. When Greenwood retired a year later, Howe stayed on under new manager Bobby Robson.

After Neill’s sacking in December 1983, Howe took over as Gunners’ manager before being replaced in the spring of 1986 by George Graham.

Howe later joined Wimbledon as assistant to Bobby Gould in 1987, and helped them win the FA Cup with a shock win over Liverpool in 1988. Later he had brief management stunts with QPR and Coventry City.