Alan Brazil, a CV which boasts spells at White Hart Lane and Old Trafford. Current presenter of TalkSport radio for 17 years; a prolific goalscorer in his day, only to be cruelly robbed short of a career at 27 due to spinal issues.
In spite of these stints at Tottenham and Manchester United, it is Brazil’s time at Ipswich with Bobby Robson that stands out. A UEFA Cup winner, twice Division One runner-up, 80 goals over seven years; Brazil’s finest years. And a large factor of such success was the late, great, Robson.
“When you’re under Big Ron [Atkinson], the issue is he loves you when you’re doing well, and when you’re not playing well; he hardly talks to you. A lot of managers are like that to be fair.”
But that was great thing about Bobby [Robson], of course he would dish it out, but he was brilliant at putting his arm around you.”
Speaking on behalf of BetOnBrazil, Alan highlights how Robson was the one who pushed the young striker. The then-Ipswich boss was not sure on Alan, and believed the Scot was not quick enough to be a highly-regarded forward. As a result of this, Bobby sent Brazil to America:
“He was worried I wasn’t going to be quick enough. He sent me off to Detroit, because he knew Jimmy Hill from Fulham. He said to me, ‘go find a yard’.
So, I flew to New York, and played at Cosmos.
On the Saturday night of the flight, I had no money, I was a kid. So Eric Gates leant me 40 quid, it was a blessing back in ’78.
It was the best four months. Travelling all over America. I ended up getting the plane home with a couple of the lads. One was at Norwich, the other at Newcastle. As we were landing back in London, we asked each other how much we’d brought back; one said $28,000, the other $31,000.
They nudged me and asked; I looked in my pocket, and had 80 dollars.
But, I hadn’t found one-yard, I found two.
Bobby offered me double the money when I returned. I received a 12-grand signing on fee. It was Kings money.”
This sort of story from Alan seemed to sum the former Ipswich man up; a man to live life to the full, taking home just 80 dollars. He laughed that he’d doubled Eric Gates’ initial loan.
But it was Bobby Robson’s management which allowed Alan to be the success he was. Offering a shoulder when necessary, making a bold decision such as sending a young lad to America to gain a ‘yard’.
Brazil went on to be second-top goalscorer behind Kevin Keegan upon his return, with 22 goals in the First Division. Confidence, that’s all the player needed; all that young players need in general. The support of the manager, the sort of footballing father figure to point them in the right direction.
Brazil eluded to his time at Manchester United, and how Atkinson wouldn’t speak to you if you weren’t playing well. It could be argued that with player power becoming so great in this day and age, that this sort of characteristic is harder to manage. Taking the example of current United boss, Jose Mourinho and his public humiliation of Luke Shaw.
Perhaps such comments which portray the left-back as a puppet, and an uncommitted professional is what is causing such negativity behind Shaw from close doors. It would seem that Jose should take a leaf out of Robson’s book; be that father figure, a loan spell might help, but perhaps a shoulder to lean on, rather than public humiliation might allow Shaw to be the player we all expect the Englishman to be.
Alan Brazil speaking to us on behalf of BetOnBrazil.