Former Norwich City manager John Bond dies, aged 79

PUBLISHED: 14:52 26 September 2012 | UPDATED: 15:35 26 September 2012

John Bond, right, pictured with his son Kevin.

John Bond, right, pictured with his son Kevin.


Former Norwich City manager John Bond has died at the age of 79.

The former West Ham full-back was in charge at Carrow Road for seven years, leading the club to promotion from Division Two and a Wembley final in his first full season in charge.

Bond was appointed manager at Carrow Road in November 1973 as successor to Ron Saunders, who had resigned and moved to Manchester City.

Bond joined Norwich from Bournemouth, and a succession of his former players followed him, among them Mel Machin, John Benson, Phil Boyer and Tony Powell, and later his own son, Kevin, who later became captain of the Canaries and a successful coach.

His first major signing was prolific striker Ted MacDougall, who arrived from West Ham in a part-exchange deal involving Graham Paddon, but had made his name with Bournemouth, where he once scored nine times in an FA Cup tie.

Another of his most famous signings was England World Cup winner Martin Peters, who arrived at Norwich in 1975 and played for five seasons, becoming captain.

The Canaries finished bottom of Division One five months after Bond’s arrival, but despite being relegated, the new boss had already introduced a more attacking style of football than his predecessor.

The following season, 1974-75, was one of the best in City’s history. They regained Division One status at the first attempt, finishing third in Division Two, and reached the League Cup final at Wembley, where they lost 1-0 to Saunders’ Aston Villa after knocking out Ipswich and Manchester United en route.

Bond established City as a mid-table first division side and in 1975-76 they finished 10th, the highest position in their history at the time.

He became famous for his flamboyant personality and big cigars and his readiness to speak out on all football issues. He was on the BBC’s World Cup panel in 1978.

In October 1980, Bond resigned as Norwich boss and, like Saunders before him, became Manchester City manager, leading them to the FA Cup final in 1981, where they lost to Tottenham in a replay.

He was succeeded at Norwich by his long-time assistant and former West Ham team-mate, Ken Brown, who also managed City for seven years.

Current Norwich boss Chris Hughton was in the Tottenham side that beat Bond’s team 3-2 in the replay at Wembley after a 1-1 draw in the first match, the 100th FA Cup final.

After his spell at Manchester City ended in 1983, Bond went on to manage Burnley, Swansea, Birmingham and Shrewsbury.

Essex-born Bond spent 16 years as a player at West Ham, joining the club in 1950 and missing just one match as they lifted the Division Two title in 1957-58 to move into the top flight. He and Brown were members of the Hammers’ FA Cup-winning side in 1964, when they beat Preston 3-2 in the final.

He moved to Torquay in 1966 and helped them to promotion and, in his first managerial job, he led Bournemouth to promotion from Division Four.

His growing reputation at Bournemouth made him the number one target for City when Saunders left, and he had a very close working relationship with chairman Sir Arthur South, though their mutual respect turned sour in 1980 when Bond took one of his management tea, John Benson, to Manchester City with him – when Sir Arthur had identified Benson as the man he wanted to succeed Bond as manager.

Bond’s son, defender Kevin, made his Norwich debut in 1976 and later played under his father at Manchester City.

It was during Bond’s reign that the Canaries sold their first £1m player, striker Kevin Reeves, who joined Manchester City in March 1980 – to be reunited with Bond when he replaced Malcolm Allison as manager at Maine Road seven months later.

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  • It's sad to see that John has died he was a real character and did his job with flair and style and will be warmly remembered bycity fans.

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    leslie cater

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

  • R.I.P. John Bond. We at Ipswich knows what it is like when one of the gentleman managers from a bygone era passes away. It is always a sad loss to the older supporters of the club concerned as well as the man's own family. I remember that same bygone era when it was friendly rivalry between our two clubs and not the hostile animosity you get these days from some idiots. Those happy days when both Ipswich and Norwich were competing in the top flight. The local rivalry was good for both clubs as I remember they were both near the top of the old First Division one season back in the 1970's. I even used to watch the occasional Norwich home match and I think others did too. I can't imagine that happening these days. ITFC are light years away from playing in the top flight so it is good that one team from East Anglia is flying the flag for the region. Good luck for the season but along the way let us not forget those characters from the past that helped to shape the history of our clubs.

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    Ken M

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

  • this is indeed sad news. my earliest city memories are of the promotion winning side under saunders [still got my copy of canary crusade somewhere] and the optimism of a new dynamic manager in john bond once RS left. It is still evident in some ways the style of play john brought to the club. subsiquent players, managers know we have a way of doing things on the park. This was started IMHO by John Bond. My condolences go to Kevin, and his family. I hope the club pays a fitting tribute

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    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

  • This is very sad news. He was a truly unique individual the likes if whom are rarely seen in football today. The style of football he liked his teams to play mirrored his own flamboyance and positivity. His finest achievement was in bringing the great Martin Peters to the club, which, in my opinion is the best signing the club has ever made. John well and truly brought the glitz, glamour and no little success either to our club. Thanks, JB, for some wonderful memories.

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    Julian Hudson

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

  • It's a very sad day for Norwich. He was a man who introduced so much flair to the way we played, not to mention some of the most talented players, Phil Boyer, Ted MacDougall and Martin Peters to name a few. He was also a great character and I will never forget those 70's suits!! My heart goes out to his family. JB RIP.

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    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

  • Sad news indeed, He changed the image of city from a dour starless remote club to a entertaining team boasting a world cup winner in their ranks capable of beating the then mighty Leeds, Liverpool and Everton in their own back yards. Norwich became an established top flight club during his tenure that never really looked in danger of being relegated.

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    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

  • John Bond brought things to life and made me believe in the club. He will be missed.

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    Swiss Canary

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

  • By my calculations he was 47 in this clip. Looked good on it. I remember watching it @ the time + being annoyed by that arrogant Jock saying Man City were "big time" Ha Ha more like in United's shadow right up till last May. Good manager Bondy. Kept us mid-table on a tight budget. Those were some contracts they had back then " Bond's contract @ Norwich still has 6 years left to run" !

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    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

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