Pil­ing on pounds put Brady out of Cup Fi­nal

Sunday Sun - - Football - By Graeme An­der­son

FOR­MER Sun­der­land boss Mal­colm Crosby has re­vealed for the first time how su­per-tal­ented young­ster Kieron Brady blew his big chance of be­com­ing a Wem­b­ley hero in the 1992 FA Cup Fi­nal.

The supremely gifted mid­fielder was of­fered the in­cen­tive of in­volve­ment in the fi­nal if he knuck­led un­der and got him­self into the best pos­si­ble shape, only for the young Ir­ish­man to fail to rise to the chal­lenge.

Speak­ing for the first time on the sub­ject, Crosby told the Sun­day Sun: “Kieron had been a sub­sti­tute in al­most every game in the Cup, but when we got to the fi­nal, he had put some­thing like six pounds on in weight.

“Kieron was prone to be­ing a bit heavy, and so about a month be­fore the fi­nal I pulled him into the of­fice and I told him ‘Lose at least half of it, and you will ei­ther be play­ing at Wem­b­ley or you will be on the bench’. “Do you know what hap­pened? “He put more weight on! “If you’re six pounds over­weight, it will show on a foot­baller, but if you put even more on it is def­i­nitely go­ing to show. That is the rea­son I didn’t put him on the bench.

“That told me what sort of pro­fes­sional Kieron was. I had told him he would be play­ing in the FA Cup Fi­nal if he lost some weight, and with­out a doubt, he would have come on had he been in any­thing like de­cent shape.

“He had been given a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity in ad­vance, but he just didn’t bother, and that was such a shame.”

Cult hero Brady is still talked about in revered tones by Sun­der­land sup­port­ers who be­lieve he could have been ‘our Gazza’. Sun­der­land le­gend Michael Gray has de­scribed him as the best young player he ever saw.

And there were glimpses of Brady’s po­ten­tial ge­nius on the pitch but not enough be­fore a ca­reer-end­ing blood dis­or­der and he played only 33 times for Sun­der­land, scor­ing seven goals, be­tween 1989-92.

The game he is al­ways re­mem­bered for is a man-of-the-match dis­play in a 4-3 win over West Ham.

“He could have been one of the best play­ers to have played in this coun­try. He re­ally could, he had that much abil­ity,” re­calls Crosby in the new book ‘The Man­agers’ Tales From the Reds and Whites’ which is be­ing launched at the Sta­dium of Light with Peter Reid this Fri­day.

Brady, who was forced to re­tire at the age of just 21, has gone on to a ca­reer as a suc­cess­ful cam­paigner, most no­tably against dis­crim­i­na­tion in foot­ball and cur­rently coaches young play­ers with Gary Ben­nett in the Back­2Ba­sics coach­ing com­pany.

Kieron said: “Yes, I re­mem­ber that and it’s a shame, but I think you have to re­mem­ber that in most of the games I played for Sun­der­land’s first team, I was still el­i­gi­ble for the youth team – so I was very young and per­haps a bit ig­no­rant of the dif­fer­ence a few ex­tra pounds could make.”

Kieron Brady pic­tured play­ing for Sun­der­land AFC in the 1990s

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