Tributes paid to former South Shields school boy footballer who went on to win FA Cup

An FA Cup winning South Tyneside footballer has been fondly remembered following his death at the age of 79.
FA Cup winning defender John Talbut. Picture credit Laurie Rampling.FA Cup winning defender John Talbut. Picture credit Laurie Rampling.
FA Cup winning defender John Talbut. Picture credit Laurie Rampling.

Defender John Talbut was acclaimed as having the game of his life in helping West Bromwich Albion beat Everton 1-0 to win the 1968 trophy.

The former South Shields Grammar School pupil joined the Midlands club from Burnley for £30,000 in 1966 and played 144 league matches for them over five seasons.

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John, who spent his entire playing career in England in the top-flight, then moved to Belgian second division side KV Mechelen where he ended his career and also managed.

The centre-half, affectionately known as the ‘Big T’, was born in Headington, Oxfordshire, but moved to South Shields as a child.

He died last month in a care home in Mechelen, having been diagnosed with dementia six years ago.

A spokesman for Premier League side West Brom described him as “a redoubtable defender” who was particularly known for his aerial ability.

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He added: “The club extends its deepest condolences to his loved ones.”

And Dawn Astle, the daughter of late England player Jeff Astle, who scored the only goal in the 1968 final, also paid tribute.

Dawn said that although her father had grabbed the winner, he had consistently praised Mr Talbut’s contribution to the victory.

She added: “Dad may have got the plaudits for scoring the winning goal in the FA Cup final, but he always said John Talbut had the game of his life that day.”

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John, who leaves a wife, Ena, daughters Nicola and Debbie, and son Mark, set the local scene alight as a member of the South Shields Schoolboy’s team.

They reached the last eight of the English Schools Shield, the equivalent of a schools’ FA Cup, in the 1955/56 season, but lost to Liverpool Schools.

The team also featured Ronnie Fenton, who played for Burnley and West Brom and spent six seasons as assistant manager to Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest.

John started his professional career at Burnley in the early 1960s, but his hopes of being selected for the national team in 1964 were dashed when injured playing for England Under-23s.

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