Former Ipswich Town defender and club stalwart Colin Harper has died at the age of 71.

Harper, from Ipswich, passed away yesterday after a long illness.

He made his debut in the first team in February 1966 against Plymouth Argyle, having signed as a junior and been a regular in the reserves.

Left-back Harper went on to make 171 full appearances for the Blues, with five off the bench, scoring six goals. He helped the side to the Second Division title in 1967-68 and went on to play for the Blues in Europe.

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Harper was released in June 1977 and then served as player/manager at Port Vale and Waterford. He also managed Chelmsford City before running his own successful building business back in Ipswich.

He was still a regular at the Suffolk club and often attended Portman Road to cheer on his beloved Blues over the years.

He leaves a wife, Carol, and three children.