'Helicopter lands and Ben Thatcher jumps out, in full training kit' - Walters reveals Thatcher's Christmas Day helicopter trip to avoid Keane fine
PUBLISHED: 17:38 19 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:38 19 May 2019
Former Ipswich Town striker Jon Walters has revealed that ex-team-mate Ben Thatcher once arrived at training in a helicopter on Christmas Day in a bid to avoid a fine for lateness from famously-strict then-boss Roy Keane.
Chatting to Alan Brazil on the Ipswich icon's popular Talksport breakfast show, the now retired Walters recounted how the team were training on Christmas Day, with no sign of hard-man defender Thatcher.
The group were convinced that Thatcher's tardiness would see him fined a week's wages - until a helicopter landed at the training ground and out jumped the defender, fully kitted up and ready to train!
Walters said: "Roy had something about being late. Don't be late, if you're a second late, even a second, you'd be fined a week's wages or two week's wages, whatever it may be.
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"Christmas Day, we were all in, no sign of Ben Thatcher. We all go out for the warm-up. You normally go out ten minutes early, so say it's twenty past ten, you start at half ten and there's still no sign of Ben Thatcher and everyone's thinking 'oooo you've got a week's wages here, maybe even two week's wages - Christmas Day, he's just stayed at home.
"Two minutes to go, all you can hear is 'bom-bom-bom-bom' coming over the trees and you look up and there's a helicopter, as we're just about to warm up, lands in the middle of our training pitch and Ben Thatcher jumps out, full training kit, jumps on the pitch and the lads are in bits.
"He just joins in the warm up as if nothing's happened and just carries on warming up. But he was on time!"