Picture of football glory sparks memories for readers

John Talbut is sure to be in this picture of WBA winning the FA Cup in 1968
John Talbut is sure to be in this picture of WBA winning the FA Cup in 1968

Like a sparking match to paper, the picture of J. Talbut certainly caused a flame to ignite among the memories of so many readers, as I explained on Friday.

John, or Jackie Talbut, as some knew him, not only forged a successful professional footballing career, he also went on to collect a winners’ medal in the FA Cup final of 1968.

Geoff Driver emailed me to say: “Your photograph of J. Talbut (He was called John, but always got Jack) revived some great memories for me.

“Jack was a classmate of mine at what was South Shields Boys Grammar School. Jack had a Cockney accent, having moved up to South Shields with his family presumably for employment.

“I am almost sure that this particular photograph was taken because of Jack’s selection for the England Boys Football Team.

“Jack went on to become a very successful professional footballer with West Brom after initially signing for Burnley.

“He joined West Brom in 1966 and went on to play for them as centre half, and racked up a total of 144 games.

“One of those games was the FA Cup Final of 1968 which West Brom won. I understand that when he finished playing he went on to manage a team in Belgium.

“As a footnote, our class had another two boys who also became professional footballers. They were Charlie Appleby, who signed for Newcastle United, and Ronnie Fenton, who signed for Burnley.

“Ronnie Fenton eventually became assistant manager for many years to the great Brian Clough.”

Philip Hughes, 64, of Jarrow, said Jackie won seven under-23 England caps before turning pro and hitting a career high with WBA at Wembley.

Mr Fenton said he believes John’s cup-winning medal was sold a few years ago for £13,000.

“I saw him play a few times at Sunderland and Newcastle in the old First Division,” said 64-year-old Mr Hughes.

Another admirer of John, was 74-year-old John Keightley, of Egerton Road.

“He was in the same year as my brother, two years older than me, and was very popular,” added the Stanhope Road lollipop man.

“I saw him play, everyone was in awe of him.”

Oswyn Coutts, of South Shields, said Burnely had a great football talent scouting presence in South Tyneside, so it wasn’t surprising that John ended up playing for them.

“I remember going into Woolworth’s in King Street, a few years ago, and John Talbut was manager there.

“As far as I know, he is still alive.”