Express & Star

Former Walsall boss Jan Sorensen dies aged 68

Walsall are mourning the death of former manager Jan Sorensen, who has died at the age of 68.

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The former Denmark striker was manager at the Bescot Stadium for a single season in 1997-98.

Sorensen took over from Chris Nicholl but a disappointing season saw them finish 19th in the third tier of English football before he departed.

He did provide supporters with a memorable FA Cup run, where they reached the fourth round before losing at Manchester United. Walsall did win plaudits from pundits for having a go at the Old Trafford giants before eventually going down 5-1

The Dane had moved to Staffordshire with his wife in the early 1990s and was reportedly recruited by Saddlers after writing to then chairman Jeff Bonser requesting an interview, despite having little managerial experience other than two short spells in Portugal.

Former Walsall manager Jan Sorensen, right, with then chairman Jeff Bonser

Sorensen did have a wealth of playing experience, having scored 95 career league goals in 330 appearances for BK Frem, before going on to represent FC Bruges, in Belgium, and Dutch sides FC Twente, Feyenoord, Excelsior and Ajax.

He also scored three goals in 11 games for Denmark between 1977 and 1980.

The highlight of his playing career came when he played in the 1978 European Cup final, where Bruges lost 1-0 to Liverpool. Sorensen kept Liverpool full-back Phil Neale's shirt as a souvenir.

He ended his playing career with Portimonense in Portugal.

After leaving Walsall, Sorensen remained in the Midlands, running a pub in Tamworth before a spell as sporting director at Danish club Hivodre IF from 2002-04.

Walsall said in a club statement: "Everyone at Walsall Football Club is sad to learn of the passing of former manager Jan Sørensen

"Jan took charge of the Saddlers during the 1997-98 season and enjoyed some memorable cup runs, including a 4th round trip to Old Trafford in the FA Cup Our thoughts are with his family & friends at this sad time."