Jimmy Hagan Statue Unveiling
Last Update: 29 March 2003
"Even Sean Bean is humbled by meeting the Portugese star."
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SUFC Official Website
19 January 2001
Eusebio meets the Lane press
Portuguese soccer legend Eusebio arrived at the Lane today to unveil
a bronze statue of the late Jimmy Hagan, his friend and former
manager at Benfica.
Jimmy, who died three years ago and would have celebrated his 83rd
birthday this weekend, is widely recognised as the greatest Sheffield
United player of all time.
And the city's most famous son later struck up a lifelong friendship
with Eusebio after guiding Benfica to three successive championships
at the start of the 1970s.
Speaking to the press at Bramall Lane ahead of tonight's dinner in
Hagan's honour, Eusebio said: "Jimmy is still in my heart to this
day and I can see exactly why he was so popular with the people of
"He was my coach at Benfica between 1970 and 1973 and I remember
him being a manager who knew how to handle players well.
"He always offered me good advice and told me where I should be
playing to get the best out of me.
"He was also a strong disciplinarian and when he first arrived, we
were surprised by the physical preparation for games.
"All the players thought his training schedules were too punishing
and some were physically sick after the first training session.
"But after a while, they realised it was worth it as we started
winning games. He gave us the extra strength and he is the reason
Benfica won three successive championships."
"It's a testimony to him that I am here today and it will be a very
emotional moment when I unveil the statue. Jimmy deserves this
recognition because he was a good player, a wonderful manager and
a great man."
Jimmy Hagan, who also managed Sporting Lisbon, played for United
for 20 years between 1938 and 1958.
He earned one full England cap before retiring from the game and
commencing his managerial career with West Bromwich Albion.
Eusebio, returning to Sheffield in Hagan's honour for the first time
since playing in the city during the 1966 World Cup, also revealed
his passion for English football.
He cited Manchester United as his favourite team and spoke out in
support of the appointment of Sven-Goran Eriksson as England's
first ever foreign coach.
Eusebio explained: "I think it is important only to have a good
manager and it doesn't matter what nationality he is.
"Many of the managers in England come from France, Italy and other
places in Europe. But football is a universal language and that is
Jimmy's son, David, and daughter, Jackie, have arrived in Sheffield
for the unveiling of the statue which will stand in the Box Office
and attended the media conference.
Jackie, who speaks fluent Portuguese, assisted Eusebio with
interpretation on some points although the Portuguese star
conducted most of the interview in English.
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