In the early 1980s, neither Manchester club was a dominant force in English football in the way both are now. But they were certainly notable for their managers: United's perma-tanned Ron Atkinson – Mr Bojangles – and City's bouffant-haired John Bond, inevitably known as Bondy, formed a colourful, quotable duo in their ice-cream suits and striking ties.

Bond, who has died aged 79, had already clinched his place in the nation's hearts when, in the 1980-81 season, after an FA Cup tie, he leapt from the upper tier of the Maine Road stadium to comfort his son Kevin, a defender in a Norwich side that City had just thrashed 6-0. The incident was made all the more piquant by the fact that Bond senior had just left Norwich to take the Manchester City job.

Bond was an affable, courteous man who throughout his footballing life spoke in the slightly rustic tones of his native Dedham, in rural Essex. A schoolboy footballer with North-East Essex, he played for the non-league Colchester Casuals before joining West Ham United in 1950. There, he was part of a side that included Malcolm Allison, Harry Redknapp and later Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters, which won the 1957-58 Second Division Championship and the 1964 FA Cup. A right-back, his level of finesse can be gauged by the fact he was known as Muffin, after the principal puppet in the children's TV show Muffin the Mule. Bond was alleged to have a kick like the said creature.

After 444 appearances for West Ham, Bond left in 1966 and saw out his playing days at Torquay United. Then he was taken on as manager of Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic, where he is reputed to have been the driving force behind its change of name to AFC Bournemouth, to make it sound more continental. Having led them out of Division Four in his first season, 1971-72, he went to First Division relegation-romancers Norwich City in November 1973, taking with him Kevin, then a trainee. Unable to save them from the drop at the end of that season, he got them back at the first attempt.

In an attempt to rebuild the side, he tried to sign the now ageing Moore. So keen was he to have him that Bond said he could stay in London, train with West Ham and commute on match days. Moore signed for Fulham instead. Bond did, though, bring another former team-mate to East Anglia in the form of Peters, with whose help he managed to establish Norwich in the top division. He also reunited Ted MacDougall and Phil Boyer, who had formed a successful striking partnership in Bond's Bournemouth days, and in March 1975 he took Norwich to the League Cup final, where they lost 1-0 to Aston Villa.

It was Bond's reputation for producing an entertaining side on a budget that attracted Peter Swales, chairman of Manchester City, in those days feeling the pinch after the extravagance of Allison's cigars-and-fedora regime. In 1981, at the end of his first season with City, Bond was back at Wembley, this time in an FA Cup Final against Tottenham Hotspur, which went to extra time and then a replay distinguished by one of the most memorable goals ever seen at Wembley. Sadly for City, it was scored by Tottenham as Ricky Villa ran almost half the length of the pitch with Bond's men swarming around him before finding a sliver of space through which to despatch the winner past Joe Corrigan.

Meanwhile, chairman and manager had fallen out over the purchase of Trevor Francis, and Bond threatened to walk out if the deal failed to go through. Francis duly arrived and scored twice on his debut against Stoke City. But Francis's career was hobbled by injuries, the friction between Bond and Swales returned, and in 1983 Bond moved on to Burnley, which had just been relegated to the Third Division.

Turf Moor hailed him as one of the biggest names in the game, but selling local heroes such as Trevor Steven and Lee Dixon and bringing in a bunch of Manchester City faces went down badly. Within a year, reviled by the fans and unable to bring back the glory days, Bond left.

He had a year at Swansea City, leaving in 1985, by which time they were grappling with the twin threats of dropping out of the league and bankruptcy. After that, he went to Birmingham City but was sacked in 1987, by which time they were hovering one place above relegation to Division Four. His last job, when he was nearly 67, consisted of scouting and coaching duties for Wigan.

In addition to Kevin, Bond is survived by his wife, Janet, and his daughter, Toni.

• John Frederick Bond, footballer and manager, born 17 December 1932; died 26 September 2012