IT HAS been announced that former Bradford City manager Jimmy Wheeler has died at the age of 86.

Wheeler was in charge at Valley Parade from June 1968 to September 1971 and guided the club to their first promotion in 40 years.

Having joined the club from home-town Reading - where he is regarded as one of the Royals' greatest ever players - Wheeler took City up to Division Three in the 1968-69 season thanks to a record-breaking sequence of 21 games unbeaten.

His early success saw him offered a new five-year deal during the following campaign but fortunes ultimately dipped, with the club coming close to relegation in 1971. After a poor start to the following season, he resigned, with former England World Cup star Ray Wilson filling in as caretaker-boss before Bryan Edwards took over permanently.

Wheeler's death was announced by Reading, for whom he scored 168 goals in his 453 appearances for them. He was one of their most capped players and the second top goal-scorer in the Royals' history.

Wheeler was born in December 1933 and as a professional was a one-club man with Reading, joining the club in 1948.

A prolific forward, he reached double figures in the scoring charts in eight seasons out of nine from 1955-1964.

He had been on course to become Reading's record goalscorer, but he suffered a broken leg at Barnsley in September 1964, which effectively ended his League career.

He was cautioned only once in his 16-year playing career.

Wheeler joined City having been assistant to Roy Bentley (who later scouted for the Bantams) at the Elm Park Club.

His time at the Valley Parade helm was his only job in club management.

Both City and Reading have issued messages of condolences following Wheeler's death.

City tweeted: "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of former City manager Jimmy Wheeler, who has sadly passed away at the age of 86."


Reading state on their website: "We would like to pass on our heartfelt condolences to Jimmy's family and friends at this difficult time, as we remember one of the greatest players in the history of Reading Football Club."