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Former Clarets express sadness at death of ex-Burnley manager Bond
FORMER Burnley players have insisted that John Bond should be remembered as a man who did his best to bring success to Turf Moor – after the once controversial boss passed away yesterday at the age of 79.
Bond’s unsuccessful reign as Clarets manager between 1983 and 1984 is still regarded as one of the most turbulent years in the club’s history.
The former Manchester City and Norwich boss became unpopular with supporters to such an extent that he stayed away from a fixture at Turf Moor on police advice when he was in charge of Shrewsbury eight years later.
But Brian Flynn and Steve Daley, who both played under Bond during his time with Burnley, expressed their sadness at yesterday’s news and hoped he would be remembered for what he brought to the sport rather than the more difficult parts of his Clarets tenure.
The flag at Turf Moor was flown at half mast yesterday as a mark of respect to Bond.
“There aren’t many icons in the game but John Bond was definitely one of them,” said Daley, who was once the most expensive signing in British history and had previously worked with Bond at Manchester City.
“I didn’t always see eye to eye with him but I always had the utmost respect for him, I really did.
“Looking back now I realise that he was a fabulous manager, and a fabulous man too.
“Fans are passionate about football but all the disagreements, they are insignificant at times like this. Life’s life.
“He was doing his job and he always wanted the best for every football club he was at.
“He was passionate about football and we were passionate about football, and sometimes that’s why we disagreed. But it was because he cared so much.
“And at the end of the day he would have a beer with you.
“He will be missed but he will never be forgotten in football.
“He was a character, along with the likes of Malcolm Allison, Ron Atkinson, Harry Redknapp.
“Football has always needed people like that.”
Bond became the first manager without Burnley connections to take charge of the club for almost 30 years when he was appointed in the summer of 1983, when the Clarets had just been relegated to Division Three.
Expectations were of a swift return to the second tier but the club slipped from seventh to 12th in the final weeks of the season.
Disagreements with the board then culminated in Bond being sacked just five days before the start of the 1984/85 campaign.
“The strike force we had, Tommy Hutchison, Billy Hamilton and Kevin Reeves, that would grace the Premier League now, it was outstanding,” said Flynn, who worked with Bond during his second spell with the club.
“We were beating teams five, six or seven but we went to Newport County at Easter when we were on a roll and we lost and it all came to a stop.
“He wasn’t a fans’ favourite, that is an open secret.
“But he was always very fair and reasonable with me. He was good to me, I knew his son Kevin which helped, and we got on well.
“I stayed in touch with Kevin and I occasionally played golf with John, the last time would have been more than 12 months ago.
“Most certainly we should remember the good things about him.
“He was a flamboyant character. It is sad to hear the news.”
And Daley believes Bond had good intentions at heart when he attempted to bolster the Clarets squad with a number of new signings, even if many came at the expense of crowd favourites and some did not work out.
Striker Kevin Reeves suffered a career-threatening injury midway through his season in charge.
“He wanted to bring in experience,” said the former midfielder, now 59.
“Brian Flynn, Billy Hamilton and Dobbo (Martin Dobson) were there and he brought in people like Willie Donachie, Kevin Reeves, Dennis Tueart and Tommy Hutchinson. These were proven players, but you can’t legislate for injuries.
“When he signed me for Burnley I was playing in America and he flew all the way to America with the chairman John Jackson.
“We talked for a couple of hours at the airport and after everything had been agreed he said, ‘Let’s have a beer to celebrate’.
“He loved his football and he loved his five-a-side and if you didn’t pass to him there was hell to pay!
“He would always listen to you, though, it wasn’t just we were doing it his way and that was it, although you would have to listen to him and often we did do it his way.
“But if you gave him 100 per cent in games he would pull you through.
“I had heard a couple of weeks ago that he wasn’t too good. My heart goes out to Kevin and the family now.”