It is with deep sadness that we learned today that one of our finest full backs passed away at the age of 80. Don Howe, Black Country boy born in October 1935, made his debut in August 1955 against Everton. He established himself in the side that year and went on to make 379 appearances, scoring 19 times in a career that lasted 14 years at The Hawthorns. He was an England International playing 23 consecutive times in the White shirt. He left us in 1964 to join Arsenal but a broken leg in 1967 forced him to retire as a player. He was a coaching scholar and became assistant manager to the successful Arsenal side of the late 60’s & the 1971 Double Winning side. His coaching skills brought him back to The Hawthorns as Manager, unfortunately he was not to be as successful back home and relegation beckoned in 1973. He left us in 1975 and went onto manage various clubs including Arsenal again, Wimbledon as coach in the year they won the FA cup in 1988.
It was probably as Coach to the England side under another former great Sir Bobby Robson that he became renowned for his coaching techniques , he also worked with Terry Venables. Though his coaching skills, during his managerial spell at The Hawthorns, were not apparent at the time, he did leave an indelible mark on those players because a few years later they all said that things Don taught them they remembered and put much of that education back onto the football field.
To his family we offer our deepest sympathy. He will be remembered as one of the finest full backs ever to have worn a blue and white shirt and the white shirt of England, a legend he most certainly was.
Rest in Peace Don