Profile of Gary Tallon
By Martin Shaw
Gary Tallon joined Stags in early December 1997 on a non-contract basis. Stags were suffering an injury crisis at the time as manager Steve Parkin announced the arrival of the Irishman, saying "a healthy club is one with competition for places which were lacking just at the moment." Stags had had only 13 fit players for their previous match.
Tallon had started playing gaelic football for 8 years and didnt turn to professional soccer until the age of 18, beginning with League of Ireland side Drogheda United. He got himself a 5-day trial at Liverpool, and then signed for Blackburn. He didnt making a first-team appearance, but was substitute in a few Champions League games. He then signed for Kilmarnock and he made four appearances plus another one on loan at Chester, but it was in a seven-week spell at Barnsley where he caught the eye of Parkin in a reserve game at Field Mill.
He made his debut for Mansfield in a 2-1 defeat at Torquay in December 1997. Stags were drawing 1-1 with 10 minutes left when Tallon was substituted, but a late goal condemned Stags to defeat.
Tallon immediately established himself in the left side of midfield, and by January 1998 had earned himself a contract to the end of the following season, as Stags went 6 games unbeaten to coincide with his arrival. He continued to impress and had already become a firm favourite with the fans when he scored his first goal in a 2-0 win at home to Peterborough in March 1998. He scored with a delightful shot with the outside of his left boot to leave Stags in a position just 6 points behind the play-off zone with 6 games left. Sadly Stags missed out on the play-offs but Tallon finished the season having fully established himself and with 28 appearances under his belt.
In the 1998/99 season, Tallon made a further 42 appearances (including 5 as substitute), as Stags started the season well, but faded in the second half of the season to eventually miss out on the play-offs. He scored his second and last goal for the club in a 2-1 win at Southend. The goal came following a scrap on the edge of the box, and the ball fell for Tallon who lashed it under the keeper from 10 yards. The games Tallon missed were through 2 suspensions as a result of 9 bookings during the season. Tallon said at the time "Its frustrating to be suspended, but in my case it goes with the territory because of the way I play. Its not something Im proud of but I dont think it would be a wise idea to try to alter the way I play." Stags fans certainly agreed and his determined style of play made him a firm favourite with the Field Mill faithful.
In the 1999/2000 season, Tallon made only 15 appearances (including 2 as substitute). Before the season started, Tallon signed a new 2 year contract. He then played in the opening 7 league games and 2 cup games, until a groin injury in the home game with Leyton Orient kept him out until November, when he came on as a late substitute in the 5-2 mauling of Lincoln. He remained in the side though was frequently substituted, and he played his last game for Stags as a late substitute in the 4-3 home win over Torquay on 3 January 2000. He was a non-used substitute for several more games before it was revealed in late January 2000 that he needed keyhole surgery on a knee injury. He made no further appearances in the first team though did turn out for the reserves.
In July 2000, it was revealed that Tallon was retiring from the game due to his problematic knee.
In total, Tallon made 85 appearances (including 7 as substitute) and scored 2 goals for the Stags.
His attitude to the game, 100% commitment and rapport with the fans will be very sadly missed. We wish him well.
Below: Tallon celebrates victory in a game at Halifax. Photo by Dan Westwell.