West Ham United legend Sir Trevor Brooking has recalled his time with League of Ireland side Cork City.
Sir Trevor Brooking is known throughout football as a true One-Club Man, having made 647 appearances and scored 102 goals for West Ham United during a glittering 18-year career with the Hammers.
What fewer supporters are aware of, however, is that Sir Trevor turned out for a host of smaller clubs following his departure from the Boleyn Ground in 1984.
On 8 December 1985, the 37-year-old made his debut for League of Ireland Premier Division newcomers Cork City, but was powerless to prevent his new team from falling to a 2-0 home defeat by Galway United at the club’s old Flower Lodge stadium. However, he did manage to hit the crossbar with one audacious long-range chip.
A fortnight later, Sir Trevor made his second and final appearance for Cork, with the Leesiders losing out 3-0 to Shamrock Rovers. Cork would win just three of their 22 league matches but would escape relegation on goal difference ahead of Shelbourne.
In the final section of an exclusive three-part interview with West Ham TV, Sir Trevor recalls his short career in Irish football and looks forward to the Hammers’ pre-season visit to Cork.
“A friend of a friend asked if I would play over there,” Sir Trevor revealed. “Funnily enough I had played in New Zealand and in the North East [of England] for a side and then I played a couple of games in Cork and then in Australia.
“It was an opportunity, after I had finished but while the body was still OK, to play a few games. New Zealand was an interesting trip but Cork was closer at hand.
“I don’t think I did too well there – we lost both games so it’s just as well as it wasn’t a long-term contract! It was just a bit of fun.
“Interestingly enough, that summer when I packed up at West Ham, a team that had just got promotion [to Division One], Chelsea, asked me to go there for a year but having struggled at Cork, I’d probably have struggled even more at Chelsea! Nineteen years at one club was a good time to finish and it gave me the opportunity to have those trips.”
While the Gaelic sports and rugby union remain the most popular sports in Ireland, Sir Trevor is expecting West Ham’s pre-season match at Turners Cross on Sunday 7 July to be well-supported by fans of both clubs.
“I did a lot of punditry for ten or 15 years for the BBC and such like and, whenever Ireland travelled away, the Irish fans were pretty awesome however they did in their group.
“I think they mystified a lot of fans of other countries when they saw them cheering their team on, even when they weren’t doing particularly well. They have this national loyalty, a bit like at West Ham, where they are passionate.
“They always have good banter in the bars before the game and they always give you a warm and friendly welcome.”
Picture with thanks to the Irish Examiner/Evening Echo