Piling on pounds put Brady out of Cup Final
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