Talbot was local boy who made good

THE phrase “local boy made good” could have been coined with Brian Talbot in mind.Although the Wembley line-up included several home-spun players, Talbot was the only Ipswich-born member of the team that defeated Arsenal 1-0 to win the FA Cup.

Nick Garnham

THE phrase “local boy made good” could have been coined with Brian Talbot in mind.

Although the Wembley line-up included several home-spun players, Talbot was the only Ipswich-born member of the team that defeated Arsenal 1-0 to win the FA Cup.

Talbot, whose parents Ernie and Yvonne, now both in their 80s, still live in the Ipswich area, said: “I had three ambitions in football: to play for my home-town club, to play in a cup final and to play for my country - and I was fortunate to achieve all of them.”

Talbot, who won six caps for England, five while at Ipswich, recalled: “I said to Bobby Robson I wanted 54 tickets for the final to give to family and friends. A coachload went to the semi-final, but for the final tickets were at a premium. I got a sufficient number but some people were disappointed.”

The midfield dynamo said he was surprised Arsenal were such hot favourites to win the final.

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“We had international players throughout the team, but we were such underdogs it was unbelievable.

“We had injury problems with Allan Hunter, who only passed a fitness test on the morning of the match, and Kevin Beattie, who was wrapped in cotton wool after the semi-final, but we knew if they were playing that Malcolm Macdonald, Frank Stapleton and Alan Sunderland would not get a kick, and that was the way it turned out.

“Ipswich were still seen as country cousins, even though we had a very good side under Bobby Robson which for 10 years competed with the best in the country. He built three teams during that time - the 1975 side, this one and the 1981 side.

“We had some great times with some great players. What made it even more special was that Roger Osborne, Mick Lambert, Trevor Whymark, Clive Woods and myself were all from this area.

“A lot us had played together in the reserves and I even played with Kevin Beattie in the youth team. I still think Beattie was the best player I ever played with. Through injury and bad luck he never realised his full potential. He did a fantastic job for Ipswich Town, but he could have done so much on the European stage. Sadly, his time at the top was too short.”

Being Ipswich born and bred meant the home-coming the day following the final held extra significance for Talbot, who estimated it is 10 years since he last visited Portman Road.

He said: “It was special in as much as we were coming home to family and friends and my home town.

“From Chelmsford all the way home down the A12 there were supporters on the side of the road, which showed just what it meant to them.

“Sometimes when you are young you do not appreciate the relevance and importance of it all.

“I think too much is made of football - it is not a matter of life and death - but it is important to a lot of people in their lives and when we won the cup it was something which had never happened before - and it has not happened since.”

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