Macari leads Sexton tributes
Reds legend Lou Macari has paid tribute to Dave Sexton, the former United manager who passed away on Sunday 25 November, aged 82.
Macari was a regular during the four years Sexton was in charge of the club between 1977 and 1981 and described the London-born manager as “football mad” and “a real gentleman”.
“Of all the managers I worked with, Dave Sexton was my favourite,” Macari told ManUtd.com.
“At United I also had Tommy Docherty and Ron Atkinson, who were both larger-than-life characters, sharp and witty. But sandwiched between them was Dave Sexton, who was the polar opposite.
“Dave was laidback, chilled out and a very nice man. He was football mad – he lived for the game – and a real gentleman.
“After I left Old Trafford I saw Dave quite a few times at various football matches and he always had a smile on his face. His name for me was “Little Fella”… for obvious reasons!”
Although Sexton led United to the 1979 FA Cup final and oversaw a second-place finish in the league in 1979/80, he failed to win a trophy at Old Trafford and was sacked at the end of the 1980/81 season.
“He wasn’t the most popular manager we’ve had and a lot of fans complained he wasn’t tough enough,” Macari said.
“I think that’s just because he was quietly spoken. He wasn’t one to rant and rave or make a scene for the cameras.
“He came from a boxing family – his dad Archie was a pro – and certainly to those of us inside the dressing room he gave the impression that if you stepped out of line he’d knock your head off. He was tough but didn’t tell everyone about it.
“Dave also suffered because he followed Tommy Docherty. The Doc loved the spotlight and the media loved him – they loved that he’d give them headlines and controversial quotes. Dave was the opposite.
“I remember one day, in the week leading up to a Manchester derby, some of the press boys collared me and asked me to have a word with Dave and convince him to give them a few lines.
“So I saw him and suggested he tell the press that we were going to smash them 5-0. He almost fell over. ‘There’s no way I’m telling them that!’, he said. ‘What if we don’t win?’
“That’s the type of man he was: an honest guy and a fair competitor. It’s really sad to hear of his death.”