His Cambridge United career may have been fairly brief and unspectacular, but Coconuts joins the rest of the football family in mourning Allan Harris, who died on November 23 at the age of 74.
Like his younger brother Ron, Harris was a full back who made his name with Chelsea and played in the 1967 FA Cup final against Tottenham. Unlike ‘Chopper’, he made his biggest impact on football after his playing career had finished, as a coach and manager.
He arrived at the Abbey Stadium on a free transfer from Plymouth Argyle in the summer of 1973, at the age of 29. He pulled a muscle in a pre-season friendly at Soham and lost his place to John O’Donnell, but made his debut in a 3-2 home defeat of Watford on September 19. Four games later O’Donnell replaced him again.
He played twice more for the first team, between Christmas and New Year, then spent the rest of the season in the reserve team before being released.
He joined Hayes as player-manager and later played with Terry Venables at St Patrick’s Athletic. He was Venables’ assistant manager at Crystal Palace, QPR and Barcelona, where the duo won La Liga in 1985 and reached the 1986 European Cup final. He then took Al-Ahly of Egypt to three African Cup successes and coached Malaysia from 2000 to 2004.
London-born Harris had risen through the Chelsea youth set-up and represented England at schoolboy and youth level. After 70 first-team games for the Pensioners he joined Coventry City in November 1964, but returned to Stamford Bridge 18 months later. He joined QPR in 1967 and moved to Plymouth four years later.
Ron Harris told the Chelsea website: ‘One of the reasons I went to Chelsea was that [Allan] went there two years before me and then we progressed through, and the highlight was being brothers who played together in an FA Cup final. My mum and dad were really proud and so were me and Allan.’
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