'Nobody helped' | 

Liam Brady says he was attacked by gang on Tube after IRA Birmingham bombings

He said it happened on the London Underground after they recognised his Irish accent when he tried to stop them from hassling his partner

Liam Brady

Liam Brady

Scene of the Birmingham pub bombings

Adrian RutherfordBelfast Telegraph

Former Ireland star Liam Brady has recalled how he was beaten up by a gang in England after the IRA’s Birmingham pub bombings.

He said it happened on the London Underground after they recognised his Irish accent when he tried to stop them from hassling his partner.

Twenty-one people died when bombs exploded at the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town pubs on November 21 1974.

Some 220 people were also injured in what was, at the time, the worst terrorist atrocity on English soil.

Brady, who made more than 300 appearances for Arsenal and was capped 72 times by the Republic, was speaking in an RTÉ documentary, The Irishman Abroad, to be broadcast later this month.

Details of the programme are reported in The Sunday Times.

Brady recalled how the gang incident happened while he was playing for Arsenal.

“I was on the Tube one night and these guys were getting a bit forward with the girl I was with,” he said.

“I told them to stop and they recognised my Irish accent. They turned out to be from Birmingham and I became the subject of their temper over what had happened. Nobody helped me, but I managed to play on the Saturday. It wasn’t too bad a beating.”

Liam Brady

Former international team-mate Frank Stapleton describes how they would be stopped and questioned by British detectives on return from international matches.

“It was a bad time, so much happening in Northern Ireland,” Brady tells the programme.

“The thing that struck me was that the English people didn’t really understand what was happening in Northern Ireland, didn’t understand the politics their government had put in place. They [the government] didn’t understand it, either.’’

Born in Dublin, Brady joined Arsenal aged 15 in 1971 and made 307 appearances, helping the club reach three FA Cup finals between 1978 and 1980, securing the trophy in 1979.

He later played in Italy with Juventus, Sampdoria, Inter Milan and Ascoli.

Between 1987 and 1990 he played for West Ham.

Scene of the Birmingham pub bombings

After management roles at Celtic and Brighton, he returned to Arsenal in 1996 and ran their youth academy, helping to develop the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Jack Wilshere and Ashley Cole. He stepped down as director of the academy in May 2014.

In the programme, Brady also discusses being substituted by Jack Charlton in the first half of his last international game for the Republic.

He was replaced after 35 minutes in a friendly against West Germany in 1989 at Lansdowne Road.

Brady said: “I had a long walk off the pitch and I kind of knew that this was the end. Jack and I had words at half-time, a bit of a shouting match. I decided there and then that this was it.”

He added: “I didn’t have a problem with Jack, I had an idea of how football should be played and he had his way, but it was a shame the way it ended.”

In the programme Brady revisits the scene at Lansdowne Road and reveals that he later received a letter from Charlton, who died in 2020. His manager told him: “I never intended to hurt you. Believe that.”

The Irishman Abroad is on RTE on February 13

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