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Were these Ipswich Town’s top 10 players - ever?

PUBLISHED: 06:00 25 December 2014

John Wark and Paul Mariner with the UEFA Cup

John Wark and Paul Mariner with the UEFA Cup

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Welcome to our special festive treat – Twelve Days of Ipswich Town Christmas.

Each day from now until Twelfth Night, editor Terry Hunt will bring you a Tractor Boys top ten. Players, games, managers, strikers, keepers, defenders, foreign signings - even “Suffolk Swedes” – and lots more.

We’re sure you’ll have your views on our choices. Let us know!

We kick off with Town’s top ten players – strictly in alphabetical order.

Bill Baxter

Baxter was “the boy’’ in Ramsey’s team which miraculously won the First Division title in 1962. He stuck with Town through the dreadful Milburn era and was captain by the time McGarry took the Blues back to the top flight in 1968. How he never won Scottish caps goodness only knows. Famously fell out with Robson and left under a cloud.

Kevin Beattie

Simply the greatest Town player ever. Awesome power, pace, brilliant in the air, thunderous shot, extraordinary courage. Probably too brave for his own good, because injuries meant he only won nine England caps. Scored a memorable headed goal in the 1975 demolition of Scotland at Wembley.

Terry Butcher

“Butch’’ replaced Beattie in Town’s defence. A giant of a man who grew up in Suffolk and always wore his heart on his sleeve. Immense alongside Osman in Town’s 1981 UEFA Cup winning team. England braveheart as well - who can forget the blood-stained head bandage?

Ray Crawford

With Ted Phillips, “Jungle Boy’’ Crawford scored the goals which rocked English fotball as Ramsey’s “country cousins’’ won the title in their first top-flight season. Only two England caps? Ridiculous. Later came back to Portman Road to top score as McGarry’s team won the Division Two championship in 1968. Don’t mention his name to Leeds fans...

Allan Hunter

Massive signing as Robson began to build his first great side. Alongside Beattie, formed a rock-like defensive barrier. He also showed surprising glimpses of skill, leaving many a centre-forward on his backside after a clever little trick. “Six foot two, eyes of blues, big Al Hunter’s after you.’’ We loved him.

Paul Mariner

Sublime centre-forward for both Ipswich and England. Robson won a three-way tussle with WBA and West Ham for Mariner’s signature, and what a signing. He led the line brilliantly in both the FA Cup and UEFA Cup winning seasons. Great goal record for England, too.

Mick Mills

Robson’s trusted lieutenant on the pitch, and Town’s leader for more than a decade. Record number of appearances.More than 40 England caps and captain of his country in the World Cup finals in 1982. Strange he never became Town manager.

Arnold Muhren

The first of Robson’s sensational Dutch signings. Muhren spent his debut watching the ball fly over his head, but things soon changed. Midfield genius who struck up a telepathic understanding with Alan Brazil. Later set up Marco van Basten’s “Goal of the century’’ for Holland in the 1988 European Championship final.

Frans Thijssen

Arrived a few months after Muhren, and what a partnership they made. Thijssen ran with the ball, whereas Muhren passed it sublimely. If one didn’t get you, the other one would. Famously threw mud at the ball to make Liverpool miss a crucial penalty.

John Wark

“Warky’’ was an incredible player. No great pace, no great skills - but he scored hundreds of goals. The ultimate “Johnny on the Spot,’’ he got 36 goals from midfield in the extraordinary 1980-81 season. Had three spells at Town and played until he was about 86.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says he will be restricted to signing a striker on loan due to the fact the Blues can’t compete financially with some of the ‘bonkers’ transfer fees being spent in the Championship.

Blues fans of all ages have gathered at Portman Road today to meet their heroes ahead of the start of the new season.

Huge queues are building up outside Portman Road this morning for today’s annual Ipswich Town Open Day.

The second tier season starts next Friday, however, clubs are working frantically to add to their squads, ahead of a long campaign. Several deals HAVE already been done though and CHRIS BRAMMER picks out six of the best.

Nearly 60 per cent of Ipswich Town fans would like to see Luke Chambers start in the heart of the Blues defence, alongside Adam Webster, when the Championship season begins next Saturday.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says he is prepared to play a waiting game to sign the right striker before the transfer window shuts.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy won’t sacrifice results to satisfy supporters’ thirst for more attractive football at Portman Road this season.

Colchester United manager John McGreal insists his players still have a lot of room for improvement, ahead of the U’s League Two opener at Accrington Stanley, next Saturday.

Ipswich Town beat Colchester United 1-0 in a pre-season game at the Weston Homes Community Stadium last night. Stuart Watson gives his thoughts.

Summer signing Joe Garner scored his sixth goal of pre-season as Ipswich Town defeated Colchester United, 1-0, in a friendly at the Weston Homes Community Stadium on Tuesday evening.

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