Tributes paid to Ipswich Town legend Ted Phillips who has died at the age of 84
- Credit: Archant
Fond and heartwarming tributes have been paid to Ipswich Town Football Club legend Ted Phillips who has died at the age of 84.
The former No 10, who had been unwell for a couple of years, had one of the notorious hardest shots in the game and died at a nursing home in Ipswich.
They have come from a host of former players, supporters and people linked to the Portman Road club.
The Town flag was flying at half mast above the Cobbold Stand and players will be wearing black arms bands this Saturday at the home clash with Leeds United with a minute’s applause planned to honour the striker.
He formed a lethal partnership with Ray Crawford which was crucial to Town’s spectacular climb up the Football League ladder, winning the Second Division Championship in 1960-61 and the First Division Championship at the first time of asking the following season.
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Crawford said: “He was a great character and I was lucky enough to play alongside him.
“When I first arrived at the club he was such a joker and I had to ask who he was. He had a great shot on him and he was really proud of it ... our partnership was just natural and was something that just happened.
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“I didn’t pass the ball when I was in the penalty area and he never passed the ball when he was 25 yards from goal. We were just a great little pair and the then manager Alf Ramsey could handle him and got the best out of him. He was just a bit of a maverick.
“I know he had been ill of late but I want to remember him as he was ... he was just unbelievable.”
And Crawford spoke of the best goal he saw his strike partner score.
It was during the 1961-62 season when they won the First Division Championship in a game ironically against Leeds.
Crawford and Phillips exchanged passes inside the Leeds half and the No 9 headed the ball onto his strike partner who hit an unstoppable 25-yard volley past the keeper Gary Sprake.
At the time Leeds central half Jack Charlton turned to his skipper Billy Bremner and said: “That was something special.”
And Crawford added: “That’s one of the best goals that I have ever seen at Portman Road.”
Former Ipswich Town manager George Burley said: “It’s a sad day as he was a legend at the club reknowned for his goalscoring ability helping the club to win the league.
“The older fans will remember seeing him play and everyone spoke very highly of him.”
Steve Doe, chair of the Ipswich Town Supporters Club said he was “saddened” by the death of the legendary striker.
“Legend is a word that is used too much but he would definitely make the list.
“It was a very different game back then with local players playing for their local team but it’s an extremely sad day to lose a stalwart of the club and lots of people will fondly remember him.”
Irene Davey, chair of the Ipswich Branch of the Supporters Club, who has followed the team for 72 years said: “It’s a very sad day and I am so sorry to hear the news.
“I was at Leiston when Ipswich signed him. We watched the game and then he went inside the little office and he signed for the Town.
“Whenever he got the ball everyone used to shout ‘Hit it Ted, hit it’ and usually he did and scored,” added the 84-year-old.
Elizabeth Edwards, supporter liaison officer, at the club said: “It is sad to have to say ‘farewell’ to one of Town’s greatest-ever players.
“Ted Phillips will forever be remembered as a key member of the team that won the league back in 1962 - the many fans who saw him play always describe him with a huge smile. I was lucky to meet him several times in his later years - he was a delight to chat to about the old times and his love for the club and loyalty to his team-mates was still so evident.”
There were also dozens of messages from people on Twitter.
Dave Gooderham, a former sports reporter and Ipswich Town correspondent for the East Anglian Daily Times, Tweeted: “Terribly sad news about Ted Phillips.
“I had the privilege of interviewing him in his home a few years back. Could have stayed chatting to him for hours. True gentleman. RIP.”
And fellow former sports reporter Elvin King added: “Ted Phillips an ITFC icon. Wonderful goalscorer and what a character. Excellent cricketer too. Sad day.”
Mark Murphy, the Breakfast show presenter at BBC Radio Suffolk who also hosts and is an ardent Town fan, said: “So sad to hear that ITFC legend Ted Phillips has died at the age of 84. Crawford and Phillips arguably our greatest ever strike partnership.”
Town fan Andrew Goodchild said: “RIP Ted Phillips. My grandad used to tell me he had never seen someone strike a football as hard as he did.”
And Jim Robbins added: “Really sad to hear that Ted Phillips has died. A true legend for Ipswich when we won the league in the 60’s and had the hardest shot in football.”
Troy Farth said: “So sorry to hear passing of town legend Ted Phillips thoughts with family ... such a legend wish I saw him play.”
Bert Gray-Malkin said: “I’m far too young to remember him playing but my father did and used to tell me about Ted, and ‘Jungle Boy’ Crawford, ‘Taxi’ Broadbent ... happy days.”
Harley Marshall: “RIP Ted Phillips. Suffolk boy and all-time great town player. Thoughts and prayers with his family and friends.”
Daniel Hill: “Saddened by the news of Ted Phillips. My grandad’s favourite ever Town player. Always talks about him and Crawford up front.”
Jon Welch: “Would love to go back in time and watch Ted in action.”
Chris Bolton: “I fell in love with Town listening to my grandad telling me tales of Ted Phillips; the lad from Leiston, who became a Town legend. RIP Ted.”
Kevin Burch: “Ted Phillips ... didn’t he once hit the ball so hard that it went right through the net, or was that just the stuff of legend?”