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Talbot leads Hibs, Marsaxlokk to glory

Brian Talbot led Hibs to back-to-back league titles.Brian Talbot led Hibs to back-to-back league titles.

In the summer of 1993, Hibernians announced that they had ap-pointed former Ipswich Town and Arsenal midfielder as their coach for the new season.

The season before, when Hibs were led by Lawrence Borg, Talbot had already been linked with Hibernians. He was just an observer that year but, unofficially, he also acted as technical director.

At the time, Hibs were hungry for success. They had not won the championship for 11 years and desperately needed someone of Talbot’s calibre to guide them to their objective.

Hibs never regretted signing Talbot as, under his guidance, the team went through one of the best periods in its history.

Talbot was born on July 21, 1953.

He first signed for Ipswich in 1968 as an apprentice and in 1972 he turned professional after spending two seasons on loan with Toronto Meteors.

Talbot played 227 first-team matches for Ipswich and won an FA Cup medal in 1978.

In January 1979, Talbot moved to Arsenal for a fee of £450,000.

He immediately made his presence felt at Highbury, winning another FA Cup medal in his first season with his new club.

His impressive stamina and fitness made him a great favourite with the Gunners. In the next five seasons he played 327 first-team matches for Arsenal and scored 49 goals. He also played six times for England in full internationals.

Talbot left Arsenal in June 1985 to join Watford but after a couple of years at Vicarage Road, he moved to Stoke City where he ended his full-time playing career.

Talbot tasted football management with West Bromwich Albion where he served as player-coach from 1989 to 1991.

After leaving the Baggies, he joined Third Division Fulham as player-manager.

His stay at Craven Cottage, however, did not last long and Talbot was soon on the move.

This time he was appointed player-manager of fourth division strugglers Aldershot who were deep in debt. He left in November 1991 and, four months later, the club went bust and forced out of the Football League.

It was at this low point of his career that Talbot came to Malta.

Here, however, he found good breeding ground for his many talents and under his leadership Hibernians developed from a mediocre mid-table team into a formidable combination and in 1993-94 and 1994-95 the club won the league championship.

In 1996, Talbot returned to English football as part of the coaching staff of the Football Conference club, Rushden and Diamonds. At the start of the 1999-00 season, he was appointed team manager.

At the end of the 2000-01 season, Rushden were promoted to the Football League and under his charge, the club won the Third Division championship in 2002-03.

Rushden, however, were relegated again the following season and Talbot left the club to take over Oldham Athletic but after an unsuccessful stint in charge he was replaced in March 2006.

Talbot made a quick return to management in 2006-07 when he came back to Malta to coach Marsaxlokk. He led the seasiders to their first Premier League title and a place in the Champions League.

Unfortunately, Talbot could not reside permanently in Malta and, initially, had to fly back and forth every weekend.

In December 2008 Marsaxlokk appointed Patrick Curmi as head coach and Talbot was handed the role of technical director.

He stayed with Marsaxlokk until February 2011 when he returned to Fulham as a scout.

Talbot will always be remembered for his jovial, good-natured manner, his professional approach to the game and the discipline he instilled in his players.

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