Polling station attack

IPSWICH Town hero Brian Talbot was attacked after he was caught up in a skirmish outside a polling station for the Iraq election.Talbot, who manages Oldham Athletic, was driving to an FA Cup tie against Bolton Wanderers yesterday when he passed the polling station in Miles Platting, close to Manchester city centre.

IPSWICH Town hero Brian Talbot was attacked after he was caught up in a skirmish outside a polling station for the Iraq election.

Talbot, who manages Oldham Athletic, was driving to an FA Cup tie against Bolton Wanderers yesterday when he passed the polling station in Miles Platting, close to Manchester city centre.

A scuffle had broken out between Iraqi Kurds who had come to vote and a group of about 60 anti-Coalition protesters.

One man was pushed into the path of Talbot's car and was accidentally knocked down. An angry mob then surrounded the car, smashing its windows and assaulting the former Blues midfielder.


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Talbot, part of Ipswich Town's 1978 FA Cup-winning side, was said to be "shaken" by the incident, but insisted on attending the crucial match, which his team lost 0-1. The damage to his car included a smashed front and rear windscreen.

An Oldham Athletic spokesman said: "Brian was very shaken up and his car was in a right state, but he made it to the game and he just wanted to get on with the match. He was told he did not have to come if he did not feel up to it, but he insisted on being here."

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Speaking after the FA Cup fourth round tie, Ipswich-born Talbot, 51, downplayed the attack, saying: "There was an incident in the road, but I'm just here to talk about football."

The skirmish was described by Greater Manchester Police as a "minor disturbance" and a force spokeswoman said the pedestrian struck by Talbot's car had been treated in hospital for a minor head injury.

Gavin Aarvold, who organised the Manchester vote on behalf of the International Organisation for Migration, said: "There was an incident outside in which a group of protesters of Pakistani origin had come along to make a demonstration.

"It became obvious that people were not happy at their presence and as they were leaving, one lad was bumped into the road. He went into the path of a car and there was some trouble, but it was brought under control quite quickly."

Brian Talbot went to the Tower Ramparts school in Ipswich and signed for the Blues on July 28, 1970, making his full debut against Burnley on February 9, 1974.

During his nine years at Portman Road he made 227 appearances and scored 31 goals - and became the first Ipswich-born player to win a full cap for England, for whom he played six times.

After his debut, the midfield powerhouse held his place in the Town team after that and was in the side that beat Arsenal 1-0 in the 1978 FA Cup Final.

Talbot was an FA Cup winner the following year when, after his £450,000 transfer to Arsenal, he scored in their 3-2 defeat of Manchester United, but could not make it three triumphs on the trot in 1980 when the Gunners lost 1-0 to West Ham.

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