Town players in ‘Escape to Victory’ reunion

MEMBERS of the great Ipswich Town side of the early eighties are to be reunited on Saturday when the football film ‘Escape to Victory’ will be celebrated.

Kevin Beattie, Russell Osman, John Wark, Kevin O’Callaghan and Laurie Sivell are set to be at the NEC in Birmingham along with the cast of other memorable films of the 20th century.

They appeared in the film that was made in Budapest in the summer of 1982 and is shown on television most Christmas periods.

It tells the tale of prisoners of war escaping from a German camp and also starred the late Bobby Moore, Pele, Ossie Ardiles and Mike Summerbee as well as top actors Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone.

Current Town goalkeeper Marton Fulop’s father Ferenz – a former Hungarian striker – was in the German side.

“Former Nottingham Forest player John McGovern has done the organising and we will be meeting the public on our stand and signing autographs,” said Beattie, who was Caine’s double during the football action.

“We’ll be able to recall some great times.

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“I got to know director John Huston and he was a great character, and I remember how hot it was and how I felt sorry for the Hungarians dressed up as German soldiers all day long for �1 a day plus food.

“And there were only 500 extras acting as fans in the stadium. They kept moving them around so they were filmed in every part of the ground, and if you look closely you will see the same guys standing behind the goal and also on the half-way line.”

Beattie got on well with Caine and joined him for make up sessions at 7am.

“He always had a big cigar and was like a real super star.

“Sylvester Stallone was different. There weren’t too many that got on that well with him, and after I beat him in an arm wrestle – first my right arm and then my left – he didn’t speak to me again.

“I admired him as the Rocky films had just started, but it didn’t work out.

“In the film Kevin O’Callaghan had to have his arm broken so that Sylvester could take over in goal!”

Beattie said that there was just as much fun away from the acting and he can recall sitting outside the hotel enjoying a drink in the sunshine with Mike Summerbee and Bobby Moore when O’Callaghan’s clothes came hurtling down on them.

“Cally was being a bit untidy in his room and his wife Mandy was not happy and eventually dumped all his clothes out of the window.

“Mike and Bobby were normally last to bed and usually kept the hotel bar staff up late at night!

“I’m really looking forward to Saturday and it will be great to meet up with the lads again.”

Town loanee Kieron Dyer donated the signed shirt he wore for the Blues game against Reading last week to Beattie to help raise money for multiple sclerosis.

“My wife Maggie is a sufferer and it was a great gesture by Kieron.”

“WHAT are your memories of Escape to Victory? Was it a good film? Let us know - e-mail