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

06:00 25 December 2014

John Wark and Paul Mariner with the UEFA Cup

John Wark and Paul Mariner with the UEFA Cup

Archant

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.

14 comments

  • I think John Wark was more skilful than you claim. Limiting it to 10 is problematic. Matt Holland and Brian Talbot were great midfielders but not better than those in the 10.

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    GrahamGersbach

    Saturday, December 27, 2014

  • What about Paul Cooper?

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    Rex Ide

    Friday, December 26, 2014

  • Don't think for our top 10 players we need to include 4 centre backs ??? Beattie was in a class of his own - & Baxter the closest to him.I would therefore not include Hunter or Butcher !! As with others I would have Phillips in this list which is of course subjective - though for my last choice would go for Clive Woods - who was on his day unplayable.!!

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    Old Timer

    Friday, December 26, 2014

  • Mich D'avery - the only player I ever saw who got shorter when he would jump for the ball..

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    chris_uk_parker

    Friday, December 26, 2014

  • john elsworthy was a man before his time. great passer of the ball.good vision of the game

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    mike benham

    Friday, December 26, 2014

  • This is getting repetitive but I too agree, ted Phillips in & billy Baxter (top notch centre half though he was) out. Other names worth a mention include Russell Osman, Trevor whymark, Clive woods, Richard wright (1st time round at least), Brian Talbot (another local lad) etc etc.

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    Richard Gardiner

    Thursday, December 25, 2014

  • What do you mean "Strange he never became Town manager"? He's still alive and therefore MM may succeed MM when he's won us the Champions League and leaves on a high. Saves on new tracksuits too.

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    Jonathan Randall

    Thursday, December 25, 2014

  • Ted Phillips has got to be in the all-time top 10 - how he has been left out is anybodys' guess...

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    Chris Ward

    Thursday, December 25, 2014

  • got to agree with the 2 posters about adding ted phillips even though i only managed to see him play a handful of times. local born and part of the team that put ipswich on the world map when surprising eveyone to win the league at their first attempt.

    Report this comment

    don wilson

    Thursday, December 25, 2014

  • Last line on John Wark profile "played until he was about 86". ???

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Thursday, December 25, 2014

  • Kevin Beattie by a mile, no one else even close

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    saxon

    Thursday, December 25, 2014

  • Goalkeepers would turn their back to Ted Phillips, he had the most powerful shot in football, sodden lace-up balls as well. Have to agree with Beattie being the best ever, he was immense. Thijssen and Muhren not bad LoL

    Report this comment

    Brobat blue

    Thursday, December 25, 2014

  • People will argue until the cows come home but we have had more than our fare share of the greatest players of all time and what wonderful, exciting, football they played for us so were we not lucky? It gives me a great big thrill just reading that list of names so please just keep them coming. If they played for Ipswich Town in our hayday then each and everyone of them was a great player and wouldn't it be lovely to think those days might return as they might if we hang onto our own players and they continue to bond them into a real team as they have already started. ManUre, Chelsea, Arsenal -who are those bought teams?

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    BlueArgyll

    Thursday, December 25, 2014

  • any top 10 must..must have TED PHILLIPS..every bit as good as the other 10 and even more influential.

    Report this comment

    JAMES EASTER

    Thursday, December 25, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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