Joe Mallett, who spent five years at Blues, has died aged 88.
Spotted playing for his works team by a London scout, Mallett was signed at the age of seventeen by Charlton Athletic to serve his apprenticeship under manager Jimmy Seed. Here he met his wife Bertha to whom he was married for over 60 years.
Charlton loaned him to Queens Park Rangers to gain experience and Rangers manager Alec Stock eventually persuaded Charlton to sell him.
His career was interrupted by conscription into the RAF and in 1947 Bill Dodgin signed him for Southampton, where team-mates included Ted Bates and Alf Ramsay.
He became playercoach at Leyton Orient before joining Nottingham Forest as coach under Walter Beattie, where he brought on a succession of young players, including Ian Storey Moore and David Pleat.
In 1965 he was appointed team manager and then assistant manager under Stan Cullis, at Blues.
Changes in the boardroom led to his departure in 1970, when his knowledge of the European game saw him as manager of Athens club Panionios.
He had barely set foot back on English soil when he was signed up for the American football league at the starstudded New York Cosmos. Here Mallett enjoyed coaching some of the games greats like Pele, Beckenbauer, Johann Cruyff and George Best. His years in the USA also took him to San Jose and Washington, where he continued to coach summer camp youngsters until into his eighties.
He is survived by his widow Bertha, three sons and one daughter.