Former Sheffield Wednesday manager dies just days after death of close friend and assistant

The death of former Sheffield Wednesday manager Len Ashurst at the age of 82 has been announced.

Saturday, 25th September 2021, 9:27 am

Ashurst managed the Owls at a difficult time for the football club between 1975 and 1977, most notably presiding over their 1976 escape from relegation to the fourth tier and that famous last day victory over Southend.

A warm and popular figure, the Liverpool-born man was a club legend at Sunderland – who confirmed the news on social media on Saturday morning – where he featured over 400 times as a player and later managed.

He also had managerial spells at Hartlepool United, Gillingham, Newport County, Cardiff City and worked as a coach in the Middle East with the national teams of Qatar and Kuwait.

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Former Sheffield Wednesday manager Len Ashurst (right) has died at the age of 82.

The news comes just days after Wednesday confirmed the death of Ashurst’s legendary right-hand man Tony Toms, with whom he shared a close friendship.

Among many stories of the period was an infamous overnight stay in freezing conditions on Broomhead Moors, a left-field motivation technique that sparked a run of results that took them to that dramatic last day safety effort.

Though Ashurst lost his job at Hillsborough in 1977, work of the pair in cutting down the club’s vast squad numbers, helping to repair the club’s financial outlook and instilling a more professional attitude was highly commended and many credit him with laying the foundations for the success of his successor Jack Charlton.

A committed football man, he stopped coaching in 1991 and took up administrative roles with the FA, overseeing work on academy structure and later becoming an assessor for match officials.

Former Sheffield Wednesday boss Len Ashurst poses with new signings Roger Wylde, Gary Bennett and Clive Walker.