Why Talbot had to leave Town

BRIAN Talbot left Ipswich and moved to Arsenal for £450,000 in January 1979.“I wanted to move for two reasons - one was personal (his marriage had broken up) and the other was that I had always wanted to play in London.

Nick Garnham

BRIAN Talbot left Ipswich and moved to Arsenal for £450,000 in January 1979.

“I wanted to move for two reasons - one was personal (his marriage had broken up) and the other was that I had always wanted to play in London.

“I had been at Ipswich since I was 13 and in those days there was no freedom of contract and no Bosman Ruling. Manchester City offered a lot of money for me, but I told Bobby Robson that I would only go to Arsenal or Manchester United, and United did not want me. Arsenal got me for less than Manchester City were prepared to pay. No disrespect to Ipswich, but I thought before then, at the time and still today that Arsenal are a bigger club.


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“Football is a short career. When I was chairman of the PFA (from 1984-1988) I learnt that the average life of a professional as a first team player is only eight years, so you have to make the best of what you have got.

“Although people may have thought at the time I was wrong because I asked to leave they could not understand that I thought it was better for Brian Talbot. I had signed a new four-year contract in the August following the cup final and I gave up a testimonial to move.

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“Besides, Ipswich wanted to change the system and play Eric Gates behind the strikers. They sold me for £450,000 and brought the two Dutchmen - Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen - in for £350,000 which was a good piece of business.

“I did not know whether I would get in the team, so I did not leave because of money, but that does not take away the thrill I had of playing for Ipswich Town.

“The 1978 season was memorable for me - I will never forget it.”

Twelve months after Town's Wembley triumph Talbot was back playing beneath the famous old Twin Towers for Arsenal in the 1979 final against Manchester United.

He said: “The 1979 final was a bigger spectacle because Manchester United were the biggest club in the north and Arsenal the biggest club in the south.”

The former Town midfielder scored the first goal, although at the time it was credited to Alan Sunderland, and the photograph of it still hangs in the lounge of his home in Brookmans Park, near Potters Bar, the village he moved to 29 years ago.

“Sundy kicked my boot as I connected with the ball. I don't know if he would have been quite so keen to give the goal to me if he had not scored the winner!”

Arsenal were comfortably in control and leading 2-0 with just five minutes remaining, but United scored twice before Sunderland scored a last-minute winner for the Gunners.

“Thank goodness we scored when we did because we would have lost in extra time!” said Talbot, who spent six-and-a-half years at Highbury.

“I loved it just as much as I had at Ipswich, but maybe the social life was better. I think London is arguably the best city in the world. I have been lucky enough to travel a lot and it my opinion it is better than New York, Paris and Rome.”

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