TOP-FLIGHT JACKS: Ian Walsh

28th March 2016
Top Flight Jacks

We continue our focus on players who featured for Swansea City during the club's previous foray into the top flight of English football.
Here, we reflect on the career of former striker Ian Walsh.

IAN WALSH
Date of birth: September 4, 1958
Appearances/goals for the Swans: 48 apps; 16 goals.
Former clubs: Crystal Palace (1976-1982), Swansea City (1982-1984), Barnsley (1984-1986), Grimsby Town (1986-1987), Cardiff City (1987-1989)
Memorable moment: Playing and scoring for Wales in their 4-1 win over England at the Racecourse in 1980.
Did you know? Walsh is the uncle of former Premier League player and Wales international Simon Davies.

Ian Walsh began his football career as a young boy in the Welsh city of St David's.
It was while he was growing up in this idyllic part of Pembrokeshire that he attracted the attention of various scouts while representing his country at schoolboy level.
With his eye-catching performances at such a young age, Walsh decided to try his luck in the professional game in London with Crystal Palace.
At Palace the youngster gained youth and Under-21 recognition for Wales before later representing his country at full level, making his debut in a 2-1 win over the Republic of Ireland, scoring a goal with the other being scored by a certain Alan Curtis.
Walsh was a member of the hugely successful Palace youth team that won the FA Youth Cup in 1976-1977, while he made his Football League debut in September 1976 in a 2-1 defeat against Chester City before going on to establish himself as a first-team regular the following season.
Walsh played his part in the Eagles' Second Division title triumph in 1978-1979 when, managed by Terry Venables, Vince Hilaire, Kenny Sansom and Gerry Francis became the nucleus of the side that found themselves dubbed 'The Team of the 80s'.
With the vast array of talent at their disposal, led by the charismatic Venables, Palace were drawn to play against the Swans in the third round of the FA Cup in 1980. After a 2-2 stalemate at the Vetch Field, in which Walsh scored one of the two goals for the Londoners, the tie was decided on a third game at Ninian Park, where the Swans triumphed 2-1 to progress to the next round.
The 'Team of the 80s' tag seemingly proved too much for the Eagles when, in 1981, they suffered relegation back to the Second Division, which was when Walsh joined the recently promoted Swans back in the top flight.
His debut for the club came as a substitute in an away visit to Arsenal, before opening his Swansea account on his first start at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Walsh scored the only goal of the game to earn the Swans maximum points to take the Swans to the top of the First Division.
Walsh's second season at the Vetch Field saw him continue to find the back of the net, which was highlighted when he scored a hat-trick in Swansea's European Cup Winners Cup record 12-0 win over Sliema Wanderers. But along with other established first-team regulars, the forward was allowed to leave the club in 1984 due to the poor financial situation at the club.
Walsh moved to Barnsley, where he spent two seasons before joining Grimsby Town, whom he helped win promotion in his first season. But injuries were beginning to catch up with him as persistent ankle and back problems forced the St David's-born striker into considering his future with the club. Despite ending the season as top goalscorer at Blundell Park, Walsh opted to move back home to Wales, joining Cardiff City in January 1988.
However, after playing in only 17 first-team games for Cardiff - most of which were from the substitutes bench - Walsh was loaned out to Conference side Cheltenham Town in order to help him get back to full fitness. But the prolific attacker struggled to shrug off the injury problems and, at the age of 31, retired from the game.
Since hanging up his boots, Walsh has worked for BBC Wales as a commentator and pundit, whilst running his own independent financial advisory company.