04 Apr 2018


The LMA is deeply saddened following the death of Ray Wilkins MBE, a highly respected and valued member of the League Managers Association.

LMA Chairman Howard Wilkinson said: “Ray lived and breathed football his whole career. As a player, he was a leader on the pitch and he instilled his beliefs and values into his coaching, helping a vast number of players understand what it meant to win games of football at the highest level.

“Ray has been a stalwart of the LMA for many years. His energy and love of the game were his biggest strengths. As well as being a manager in his own right, he became one of the most supportive and trusted Assistant Managers in the Premier League, providing a sounding board to many managers in the past 20 years and achieving great successes with his boyhood club, Chelsea.

“Many things come to mind when I think of Ray but, above all, no matter what the circumstances he remained a true gentleman.”

LMA Board Member Sir Alex Ferguson added: “I am very, very sad to hear the news about Ray and send my deepest sympathies to Ray’s wife Jackie, his children Ross and Jade and all of his family.

“Ray was a great football man, who was well respected and liked by all who knew him and he always had a kind word and time for people.

“Ray was an impressive football talent and had a fantastic career representing some of the biggest clubs in the world including Chelsea, Manchester United, AC Milan and PSG and of course his country, England.

“As a manager, Ray was so popular amongst his LMA colleagues and I know that he will be missed by us all.”

LMA Chief Executive Richard Bevan concluded: “Throughout his career, Ray was known for high levels of professionalism and dedication to his craft. As a coach, he had a hugely positive impact on the careers of players and his coaching peers, as a trusted advisor to many and expert within his field.

“In 1993, Ray was awarded an MBE for services to Association Football, but such early recognition for his efforts in the game should be reaffirmed by the following 25 years, where he became an influential and respected personality within English football. Ray will be sorely missed by all within the game, especially his peers within the LMA.

“Ray was incredibly generous with his time and support of all of the team at the LMA and our thoughts are with Ray’s wife Jackie, his children Ross and Jade, and Ray’s wider family.”

Ray enjoyed a distinguished career within the game both as a player and coach. The former England midfielder began his career with Chelsea, making his debut as a 17-year-old in 1973. He went on to enjoy an illustrious playing career with the likes of Manchester United, AC Milan, QPR and Rangers before entering management and coaching.

His two managerial tenures in English football came in the nineties. Firstly, as Player-Manager of Premier League side QPR in 1994, where Ray led his side to eighth in league and the FA Cup quarter-finals. QPR were unable to build on Ray’s first season in charge and were relegated to the Football League at the end of 1995/96.

Ray’s next appointment came at Fulham where he led his side to the Division Two play-offs in his only season at the club.

Having proven himself as a talented coach, Ray returned to his boyhood club Chelsea as Gianluca Vialli’s Assistant Manager. After Vialli left Chelsea and joined Watford, the pair were reunited as Ray once again joined the Italian’s coaching staff.

A spell at Millwall followed as Assistant Manager to another former Chelsea colleague, Dennis Wise, in 2003. During this time, Ray also joined The FA as Assistant Coach to England Under 21 Manager Peter Taylor.

His long association with Chelsea continued in 2008, as Ray was appointed as a first team coach to support Luiz Felipe Scolari. In 2009/10, Ray formed part of the Chelsea coaching staff, under Carlo Ancelotti, which won the Premier League and FA Cup double. In Ancelotti’s autobiography The Beautiful Games of an Ordinary Genius, Carlo said: “Ray is one of those select few, always present, noble in spirit, a real blue-blood, Chelsea flows in his veins.”

Having left Chelsea in 2010, following a successful spell at the club, Ray became increasingly active as a broadcaster and commentator, offering his insight and expertise on the game across a number of different media platforms.

Ray returned to coaching in 2013 with Fulham before being appointed as Head Coach of Jordan national team in September 2014. His time in charge of Jordan culminated by leading the country at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.

In his final coaching role, Ray returned to the Premier League as Assistant Manager to Tim Sherwood at Aston Villa.