Comedian Eric sent pre-final boost

AN FA Cup winner aged just 20, life was good for David Geddis.His appearance in the final had not only brought a ray of sunshine into the lives of Ipswich Town supporters, but also the comedian Eric Morecambe, who was a director of Luton Town, where Geddis had been on loan the previous season.

Nick Garnham

AN FA Cup winner aged just 20, life was good for David Geddis.

His appearance in the final had not only brought a ray of sunshine into the lives of Ipswich Town supporters, but also the comedian Eric Morecambe, who was a director of Luton Town, where Geddis had been on loan the previous season.

Morecambe had sent him a personal letter before the final which, typical of the late comedian's humour, was dated 'Berlin 1941' and simply said 'Have a good day son' which had touched Geddis.

His mother's pride in her son's performance also won her a necklace and a bracelet in a competition run by one of the women's magazines.

“The competition was either in Women's Realm or Women's Own and was offering two pieces of jewellry to the winner to describe how proud you were of something and she won first prize for writing about me going to the cup final.”

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However, within a few months his life was turned upside down when he was involved in a car accident which claimed the life of close friend and Ipswich team-mate Peter Canavan, a promising defender who had already represented England at under-17 level.

Geddis left the club in September 1979 and joined Aston Villa for £300,000, after Alan Brazil burst onto the first-team scene.

Brazil scored nine league goals in just 14 starts and a further five appearances as a substitute during the 1978/79 season, and Geddis, who started just six league games and made nine appearances from the bench, admitted he didn't want to just be a squad player.

He said: “My leaving Ipswich was down to the emergence of Alan Brazil. The writing was on the wall and so I made the decision to leave. I was not the finished article, but Ron Saunders (the Aston Villa manager) wanted someone young who could offer my style of play, although I could not deliver what Andy Gray had in terms of goals.”

Although Geddis said it was a very good move for him, the following year Villa signed Peter Withe, who was the final piece in the jigsaw in the side Saunders led to the First Division Championship, pipping Ipswich to the title in 1980/81.

Geddis described Withe as “an outstanding centre forward” and together with Gary Shaw they formed a lethal partnership, subsequently firing Villa to the European Cup in 1982.

After a short loan spell at Luton in December 1982, Geddis was on the move again the following September, this time to Barnsley, after scoring 12 goals in 43 appearances plus four as a substitute at Villa Park.

He said: “It was a breath of fresh air playing for Barnsley. Norman Hunter, the former Leeds United defender and one of my childhood heroes, was the manager.”

Geddis scored 24 goals in 45 games, before moving to Birmingham City in December 1984, where he notched 18 goals in 41 starts and one substitute appearance.

He had a short loan spell at Brentford in November 1986 and then joined Shrewsbury Town in February 1987.

“I just wanted to play first-team football - I didn't want to be a squad player. Strikers were always sought after and I was always in demand. Although the clubs varied in quality they were all good clubs I played for. I kept Shrewsbury up in Division Two. They were dead and buried when I went there, but I helped them survive by scoring the goals that got the points to keep them up.

“That was a great achievement from my point of view, and after I left they were relegated and have never come back.”

Geddis scored 11 times in 38 appearances, including two as a substitute, before heading to Swindon Town in October 1988, where he played just 10 times including twice from the bench, scoring three goals.

In 1990 he moved to Darlington, but injuries restricted him to two starts and a further 11 appearances from the bench in two seasons, before he retired due to back and hip injuries.

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