Do you start and end early? Alan Brazil’s life as a footballer was no different from his illustrious career in our Breakfast Show.
But Brazil did not end early, forcing retirement at age 27, the legendary Scotsman did better than anyone in his major.
Recognize this man?
Brazil was an absolute target machine
Although you might know him as the voice of TalkSport, the 61-year-old was one of the fiercest players in English football at the time, rather as a flamboyant, curly-haired striker.
Do not believe – the late great Sir Bobby Robson knew this better than anyone.
Brazil recalls: “When I was purified, I did not panic. The time I score, I don’t bull 99%.
“Sir Bobby said: As soon as you accomplish this it’s a goal, I turn away because it’s a goal. You don’t miss it, son.
Brazil was a part of Sir Bobby’s Golden Age at Portman Road
There was a rush on Portman Road at this time
The eighties were strange and unusual times: everyone dressed in denim and Ipswich from head to toe which was great.
In front of 21-year-old Brazil and named after Sir Bobby, the Tractor Boys went on to win the UEFA Cup in 1981, with stalwarts such as Michel Platini, Antonin Paneca and Zbinegue Bonyc.
“People forget the whole race,” Brazil insists. “We played against a Czech team, Bohemian Prague – for which Paneca was playing.
He said, “We played against Polish club Vidje Lodz with Bonyak in his favor. Then we played the role of Saint-ेनtienne, who was never beaten by an English team in France – they had Johnny Repp, Platini, Dominic Rochetto. We beat them 4–1.
“FC Köln had Rainer Bonhof, Herald Schumacher in goal, Klaus Fisher in front. Az Alkmar had seven or eight Dutch internationals in the final. It was a hell of a caste.
Brazil played for Ipswich as they conquered Europe
John Wark formed a wonderful partnership with Brazil from the beginning
Back in England, Brazil also faced legends in the form of Kevin Keegan, as Ipswich finished in second place at the top for two consecutive seasons.
In the 1981/82 season, Brazil were given a double share of second place as they were pumped into the Golden Boot by Keegan in Southampton, not that there was anything wrong with our breakfast table or anything…
“Kevin beat me by four goals at Golden Shoe. He had seven penalties and I did not take him to Ipswich, he was an asshole!
But Brazil scored all five goals against England veteran Southampton in a stunning 5–2 win against Keegan that year.
In fact, it was so good that Brazil ended up with two match balls.
Keegan and Brazil were at the forefront of the elite
England and Scotland had severe firepower
“They were at the top of the standings, they had Keegan,” Brazil recalls. “We were Dalits and we beat them 5–2, I scored all five.
He said, “One of the balls that I had was strewn and he was knocked out of the stand. I had the second ball, with which I scored two runs.
The local newspaper made an announcement asking if anyone had a second ball, this was my first scene.
“The rumor has handed it over to a man, someone said it was Richard Wright’s father who worked in the cigarette factory behind the ground!” I still have them both at home.
This is where the eighties are really confusing: Scotland was a full force, so good that Brazil could barely get into the squad.
Alan Hansen, Graeme Songse, Gordon Strachan, Kenny Dalglish – The Scots took an endless list of geniuses for the 1982 World Cup, including our man Brazil, who was on a team with his legendary country.
Scotland tried to stop Socrates in 1982 World Cup and failed
Dalglish et co. Could not exit group
It was a dream come true for Brazil, who had an early win over New Zealand with the great Douglish, but it also turned into a nightmare – and not only because the Scots found themselves in the group.
“One of the biggest moments of my football career came on my birthday on June 15, 1982, for a World Cup in Scotland with Kenny Dalglish,” Brazil said.
“He was my hero. I was honored to play for and with him for Scotland.
“My memories were that it was over 100 degrees in Malaga, after frying it all, I had dizziness in the week and Gordon Strachan was also struggling. I had lost a lot of my weight because it was very strict what you were doing and I had to change my lifestyle a little bit.
“The match killed me, I was starting to see a double in the second half. I was selected for the post-match doping test and could not urinate for five hours. They let me go home. I did one day. Had lost something like ten pounds.
Tartan army landed in scorching number one Spain
Look at all the legends!
“It took me a few days to recover and the second game was against Brazil in Sevilla, which was much wetter and hotter. It was frightening because I desperately wanted to play there, but I didn’t.
“I came off the bench for the third game, I felt fantastic, we had to defeat the Soviet Union to qualify and we drew 2-2.” I became distraught as I was barely starting to feel myself.
“This team was full of stars! This was a team that we had.
Moving to Tottenham for £ 425,000 in 1983, the 23-year-old Brazilian man always felt the world was on his feet – but brutality, that’s when his career began to end.
At that time there was a lot of money, for this Brazil joined Tottenham
Don’t get me wrong, Brazil were not a flop: they scored six goals in the last 12 matches of 1982/83, helping the Spurs to advance to a UEFA Cup that they eventually won, before Man United gave them 1984 I was killed
But something had changed in the young striker, making him half the player at Ipswich – and Brazil could not understand why.
“I didn’t feel that strong or that sharp,” Brazil continues. “I managed to score a goal every three games at Spurs and they sold me to Man United.
“I had good memories, I scored in the UEFA Cup and we beat Arsenal 5–0 in the lane, I scored one.
By the time he came to United, Brazil’s back was already broken.
“Man United’s appeal was unprecedented, but again it didn’t work for me: waist problems, back problems, hamstrings. I thought,” What’s going on? “
“Finally, I found out that my disc had entered my spine. Nowadays, an MRI would detect it immediately, then they were guessing.
“I went to Coventry and QPR, but on 27 I was done. Weirdly, I was really relieved when they told me that my career was over. I knew something was wrong.
It was not just his hair that Brazil lost when Man United joined
“I figured I could score 30 goals per season at Tottenham and Man United – but I didn’t.”
In fact, it makes Brazil’s achievements more extraordinary. Who knows what the Scotsman would have achieved if his spine had not hit the mid-20s?
A horrific twist of fate kept Brazil from making its mark on English football, grabbing the shoulders of some veterans and naming them with them.
When asked who is the best, Brazil did not hesitate: “Dalgleish. Glenn Hoddle was an excellent player as Glenn Hobdson. Graeme Sonnes was amazing, but Dalgleish has to be the best.
And fortunately for Brazil, he had a good gig ahead of his playing career.
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