Date: 10th September 2012 at 4:29pm
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Pompey fans world-wide will mourn the passing of former captain and manager Ron Tindall, who passed away in his sleep on 9 September 2012 after a long illness. Ron served Pompey admirably for ten years both on and off the field.

RAF and goals

Ronald Albert Ernest Tindall was born in Streatham, South London on 23 September 1935. He played his youth football with Camberley and joined Chelsea as a professional in 1953 and the following October started national service in the Royal Air Force – two years later would score on his league debut against West Bromwich Albion. At the time Chelsea were Football League Champions for the only time!

He was to form a potent strike force at the end of the fifties with a young Jimmy Greaves; in 1960/61 they scored fifty nine goals between them. However Ted Drake the manager left shortly after and Greaves was off to Italy. New boss Tommy Doherty then sold Ron to West Ham and after a short period at the Boleyn he moved again to Reading in 1962.

Pompey calling

Meanwhile Pompey were having no goal scoring problems with Ron Saunders regularly hitting twenty to thirty goals a season but in September 1964 Saunders was sold to Watford and manager George Smith decided that Ron Tindall could bridge the gap left by the prolific scouser. This was a move that Jimmy Dickinson play a major role in by putting the two parties together.

Sadly though Ron drew a blank and at the time became a bit of a laughing stock among fans. It was in fact fifteen games before he found the back of the net at Bolton and before long Smith turned to a young Ray Hiron to wear the number nine shirt.

Smith though had other plans for Tindall and knowing he was a good footballer decided to try Ron at full back where he had some experience during his Chelsea days – he was an instant success and would finish his career as a defender and club captain. It total Ron played 162 League games for Pompey and scored seven goals – quite a number from centre half.

His last Pompey game was against Bolton on 10 January 1970 and things were about to make a big change in his career. In March that year George Smith was moved to General Manager after some disappointing results and the directors asked Ron to take over as boss – a post he had been groomed for, for some time.

Ron was to be Pompey manager for the next three seasons in Division Two and although they were not exceptional seasons, he managed the best he could with the very limited resources made available to him and did the job with a smile on his face.

The spring of 1973 brought some major changes to the boardroom at Fratton Park and a certain Bramdean John Deacon joined the board and wanted to pour in significant resources. He moved Tindall upstairs to become General Manager and appointed John Mortimore as the new boss. Deacon then went about making his big money signings, Peter Marinello, Paul Went and Ron Davies etc.

1973/74 started badly though and Mortimore was to last just over a year before he was sacked and Ron asked to take charge while a new manager was found. That man was to be Ian St John and Ron had just two games before the Scot arrived.

Down under

In April 1975 the board sacked Ron for the simple reason that the money had run out. He then decided to look to pastures new one day when in his role as Secretary to Waterlooville golf club he was was offered the job of director of coaching for Western Australia. It was in Perth that Ron was to remain for the rest of his life and to win a new legion of friends and admirers.

Writing books and producing videos on coaching the beautiful game. He was also happy to talk to the legion of ex-pat fans in the Perth area about the game in general and Pompey in particular.

It was in 2008 that Ron was to receive his greatest accolade when in the Australia Day honours list he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to Sport. Ron was also inducted into the Western Australia Soccer Hall of Fame in 2002 and won the Eunice Gill Australian Soccer Coaching award in 1991.

As I have seen one Australian comments today ‘A pioneer of professionalism in coaching in our country – way before ‘badges’ came into fashion.` That probably sums up Ron`s contribution to Aussie soccer quite succinctly.

Leather on willow

Ron`s other love was cricket and he had a contract at Chelsea which allowed him to play cricket rather that football where the seasons overlapped. He played for Surrey and during the fifties they were County Champions for seven consecutive seasons and had a team full of star names – Jim Laker, Peter Loader, Tony Lock, the Bedser Twins and Peter May to name a few. Ron thus struggled to make too many appearances. Curiously both Lock and Loader would emigrate and play in Western Australia in the 60s.

Ron was awarded his County Cap in 1962 after six years at the club and would play on until 1966 – he had no such `Cricket first` contract with Pompey. His career statistics show he scored more that 5,000 runs and took 150 wickets.

Back home

Ron did make the odd return to his native country later in life and in 2008 He was also introduced to the Fratton Park crowd before the Wigan game while of holiday.

Ron served for many years as the Patron of Pompey Down Under, the Aussie Supports group.

Ron was without doubt a man who put a great deal into football without taking much in return and will be sadly missed. Vital Pompey offer their condolences to his family and friends.