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Transfers That Shook The League Of Ireland: Part Two

In the second instalment of a new feature on Pundit Arena, Niall Newberry looks back at the time two ex-Premier League players signed for Dublin City and when a former World Cup-winning goalkeeper joined St. Patrick’s Athletic.


Gordon Banks to St. Patrick’s Athletic, 1977

When you think of Gordon Banks, the likelihood is the first thing that pops into your mind is that save he made from a Pelé header at the World Cup in 1970.

The former Leicester City and Stoke City goalkeeper was also a World Cup winner with England in 1966. But what you mightn’t know, is that Banks played one game for St. Patrick’s Athletic in 1977.

Chelsea legend Barry Bridges, then player/manager at St. Pat’s, had persuaded Banks to come to Inchicore for a match against Shamrock Rovers.

Banks was pretty much a spectator for the duration of the match but produced a very fine save late on from none other than Eamon Dunphy as Pat’s ran out 1-0 winners.

Banks, who seemingly enjoyed the occasion, said after the game:

“I thoroughly enjoyed myself and if I am asked back there is every chance I can come.”

Unfortunately it didn’t happen and Banks would never grace the Richmond Park pitch again. A real pity, as some say the save he made that day was even better than the one he made from Pelé – we at Pundit Arena are not so sure about that though…


Efan Ekoku & Carlton Palmer to Dublin City, 2004

The birth of the Premier League in the early 1990s changed the face of football as we once knew it. Lucrative television deals led to worldwide exposure for those playing in England’s top division. Just two of those players were Efan Ekoku and Carlton Palmer.

Palmer, a defensive midfielder, made 261 Premier League appearances for Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds United, Southampton, Nottingham Forest and Coventry City.

Inexplicably in the eyes of some, he also won 18 international caps for England, who failed to qualify for the World Cup in 1994. The same could not be said of Efan Ekoku, who represented Nigeria at the finals.

Ekoku, who scored over 50 goals in the Premier League for Norwich City and Wimbledon, is best remembered for scoring four in one game against Everton – the first Premier League player to do so.

With a combined age of almost 80, how did both Ekoku and Palmer end their careers with struggling Dublin City in 2004?

Roddy Collins, the League of Ireland’s very own Mr. Marmite, was managing Dublin City at the time. The Vikings were rooted at the bottom of the Premier Division and seven points from safety, though Collins was confident the signing of Palmer would turn his team’s fortunes around.

“Carlton is a class act and he’s still very fit. He has lots of experience and I’m delighted to have signed a player of his calibre. I know he’ll make a big impression here at Dublin City.”

Ekoku was signed barely days later, in what was widely regarded as nothing short of another publicity stunt from Collins, who didn’t necessarily agree.

“He’s (Ekoku) as lean as the butcher’s dog and we’ve had a good chat and I know he won’t let me down.”

Unfortunately for Dublin City, both players proved to be enormous let downs and Collins left the club three weeks before the season ended to take over at Shamrock Rovers.

Dublin City were relegated that season and Shamrock Rovers suffered the same fate a year later. Roddy, to this day, maintains he’s never had a club relegated.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.