Gallery and poll: Ipswich Town’s 20 best-ever signings
06:00 15 November 2014
Over the years, Ipswich Town have signed hundreds of players. Some of them have worked out brilliantly – others haven’t.
Town Top 20
Ipswich Town goalkeeper Paul Cooper asks Evening Star photographer Owen Hines how much time left to play at the 1978 FA Cup final
Matt Holland celebrates promotion with Ipswich
Jimmy Leadbetter never looked like a finely-honed athlete. But what a crucial role "Sticks'' played in Ramsey's tactical masterplan which took the footballing nation completely by surprise. This photo was taken during a hot pre-season training session, if the state of Jimmy's shirt is anything to go by.
Roy Bailey diving for the camera. Bailey was Town's keeper through the Ramsey glory years. His son, Gary, has less happy memories of Portman Road, where he conceded six goals in 1980. Mind you, he also saved three penalties in the same game! The bakground to this picture shows just how homespun Portman Road remained even when the team was the best in the land.
Roy "Rocky'' Stephenson, who played played such an integral part in Ipswich winning the League Championship in 1962.
Marcus Stewart celebrates his goal for Ipswich against Dagenham and Redbridge, during their AXA FA Cup Third Round match at Dagenham's Victoria Road ground Saturday January 5 2002. PA Photo: Toby Melville (Final score D & R 1 Ipswich 4) THIS PICTURE CAN ONLY BE USED WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF AN EDITORIAL FEATURE. NO UNOFFICIAL CLUB WEBSITE USE. DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE V IPSWICH TOWN FOOTBALL EADT 7.1.02 ES 7 01 02 GREEN UN 12.1.02
Paul Mariner when he was terrorising top flight defences
A dispairing dive from Port Vale's keeper fails to stop David Johnson scoring for Ipswich yesterday.
Today, we give you the very best of Town’s transfer deals. Feel free to argue with us!
And see our worst 20 signings here.
Goalkeeper who was an integral part of Alf Ramsey’s team which won the First Division title in 1962. Like most of his team-mates, Bailey had an undistinguised career before flourishing under the genius management of Ramsey. His son, Gary, played in goal for Manchester United - memorably conceding six at Portman Road in 1980.
Another legendary Town keeper, Cooper was signed from Birmingham to be understudy to Laurie Sivell. He displaced the diminutive Sivell to become Town’s reliable number one during the glory years. Remarkable penalty saving record. Would have played for England in the modern era, but had the likes of Shilton and Clemence ahead of him back then.
What were Pompey thinking of? Portsmouth let Crawford leave for a pittance, only to watch in horror as he became just about the best centre-forward in England. Why he only played twice for his country, goodness only knows. Had a second spell at Portman Road, helping McGarry’s team gain promotion to the top division. Famously scored twice for Colchester at the end of his career to knock mighty Leeds out of the FA Cup.
Burley’s captain who memorably lifted the Play-off trophy at Wembley in 2000 after several years of agonising near misses. Great engine in midfield, hard but fair tackler, weighed in with his fair share of goals, and exemplary character.
Hugely significant signing for Robson. After George Best had single-handedly demolished Ipswich in a League Cup tie at Portman Road, the crowd called for Robson’s head, he was convinced he would be sacked in the morning. Instead, chairman John Cobbold apologised, and let Robson sign commanding centre-half Hunter. The first great Robson team was being constructed. A lesson for trigger-happy chairmen everywhere?
David Johnson (1970s)
The swapping of Rod Belfitt for little-known Everton youngster David Johnson took Town fans by surprise. But what a shrewd move. He established a lethal goalscoring partnership with local boy Trevor Whymark.
David Johnson (1990s)
Same name, same goalscoring prowess. David Johnson the Second was signed by Burley to boost his promotion-seeking late 1990s team. The goals flowed, and Johnson started (but didn’t finish) the Play-off final in 2000. Couldn’t score goals in the Premier League, though.
Leadbetter looked anything but a footballer. Like so many others, his career was transformed by Ramsey, who converted him from journeyman winger, tucked him inside, and created the supply chain for Phillips and Crawford.
Signed by Burley to provide the midfield guile and sublime passing for his late 1990s team.Who can forget Magilton’s hat-trick against Bolton? Surely the most dramatic game ever at Portman Road.
The Dutchman got a stiff neck during his debt against Liverpool, watching the ball flying repeatedly over his head. Robson soon adapted the team’s style to get the best from the Dutchman’s magical left foot. At the end of his career, Muhren memorably supplied the cross for Marco van Basten’s “goal of the century’’ volley for Holland.
Town won a three-way tug of war with West Ham and West Brom to get Mariner from Plymouth. Marked his home debut with a sensational solo goal, and never looked back. Part of the FA Cup winning team and the UEFA Cup triumph three years later. Scored a lot of goals for England, too.
The captain of Alf Ramsey’s ground-breaking 1962 team which shocked the football world by winning the title in their first season in Division One. Another one rescued from obscurity by the genius who was Ramsey.
Didn’t stay long, but played a huge part while he was here. O’Rourke was the final piece in the jigsaw in McGarry’s 1968 Second Division championship-winning team. Scored the goals which got us over the line.
Without JimmyRobertson, the history of Ipswich Town would look very different. Town were in desperate trouble when he signed from Arsenal towards the end of the 1969-70 season. He and Frank Clarke inspired the team to a run which avoided the drop. The rest is history.
Same story as Jimmy Leadbetter. A winger who Ramsey tucked inside, to confuse opposing defences - the prototype for the “wingless wonders’’ who won the 1966 World Cup.
Signed from Huddersfield (Terriers’ fans would say stolen) to boost Burley’s ultimately successful promotion bid in 2000. Unforgettably rescued Town in the first leg of the play-off semi-final against Bolton, and then headed home the vital third goal at Wembley. Also scored for fun in our first, wonderful season back in the Premier League.
Supposedly a makeweight in the deal which brough Adrian Paz to Portman Road. While the Uruguyan Paz flopped, Taricco established himself as a Portman Road legend. Feisty, to say the least!
The other half of the Dutch duo. Thijssen arrived half a season after Muhren. Totally different player - a dribbler rather than a passer - but the pair complemented each other brilliantly. Memorably chucked mud at the ball to make Liverpool miss a vital penalty at Anfield!
One of those unheralded signings which works out brilliantly. Venus came to Town from Wolves as part of the deal which saw Steve Sedgley go to Molineux. We certainly got
the better of that one! Venus was brilliant in Burley’s team - and scored some cracking goals as well.
We were all worried when Taricco was sold, to be replaced by an unknown Dutchman. But Fab was great. We’ll never forget the step-over trick - every time he attacked. And his disparaging comments about Norwich have cemented his legendary status. “Fabian Wilnis, he’s a blue - he hates Norwich.’’