Walter Winterbottom

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Sir Walter Winterbottom CBE (31 January 1913 – 16 February 2002) was the first manager of the England football team, serving from 1946 until 1962.



Born in Oldham, Lancashire, Winterbottom's first career choice was to be a teacher. He trained at Chester Diocesan Training College (now the University of Chester) and qualified as a physical education instructor in 1933. While teaching he also played amateur football for local teams and was soon signed up to Manchester United as a professional, playing his first game in 1936 and being part of the team that won promotion to the First Division in 1938. He appeared in twenty six first team games before a spinal ailment curtailed his career.

During World War II, Winterbottom served as an officer in the Royal Air Force.[1]

The Football Association (FA) appointed Winterbottom as England's national director of coaching and first manager of the national team in 1946.[2] Winterbottom is the only England manager to have had no prior managerial experience in professional football. His duties included not only managing the national team but also developing the overall standard of coaching in England. David Goldblatt writes: "That a single post could be responsible for such a massive workload suggests either naivety of lack of interest on the part of the FA".[2] Walterbottom did not, however, have the power to pick the England squad: that remained with the FA's selection committee.[2] His first game was a 7-2 victory over Ireland in September 1946.

World Cup competitions

Winterbottom managed the England team (and arranged travel, accommodation and meals) for its first four World Cup competitions, in 1950, 1954, 1958 and 1962. He remains the only manager to have taken England to more than two World Cup Finals, and one of only two managers in the world to have managed the same national team at four consecutive World Cup Finals tournaments (the other one being Helmut Schön of West Germany).

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