Aston Villa's Ron Saunders Dies

Aston Villa will pay tribute to their former manager Ron Saunders during their game with Leicester City today(Sunday). In a statement the club announced that Mr Saunders died at at 3pm on Saturday. He was 87. His family have asked for their privacy to be respected at such a difficult time.

Ron Saunders is widely regarded as one of the club’s greatest ever managers. He guided Villa to promotion in his first season in charge, lifted two League Cups and steered the club to a league championship in 1980/81.

Against Leicester City the players will wear black armbands and, as a mark of respect. The club said it would be holding a period of applause to mark his outstanding contribution to Aston Villa.

The Birkenhead-born Mr Saunders enjoyed a prolific career as a player, scoring 200 goals combined for Everton, Gillingham, Portsmouth, Watford and Charlton from 1951 through to 1967.

Upon retiring, he immediately went into management, initially withYeovil, before spells with Oxford, Norwich and Manchester City, and then taking over at Villa in 1974. Mr Saunders enjoyed eight years with the club prior to joining bitter rivals Birmingham, followed by 19 months at West Brom, concluding with his sacking in 1987. He remains the only manager to take charge of all three clubs.

I have always held Ron in very high regard and I have the utmost respect for his achievements throughout his career and, in particular, his committed service to the three midlands rivals. His record of reaching the League Cup final three consecutive times with three different clubs is testament to his determination and dedication to his profession. The thoughts of everyone at the LMA are with Ron's family and friends at this sad and difficult time

Howard Wilkinson, League Managers' Association chair