Sone Aluko announced his retirement from football following Ipswich Town's promotion to the Premier League. Ross Halls looks back on his time at the club. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Sone Aluko pictured when he signed for Ipswich in 2021.Sone Aluko pictured when he signed for Ipswich in 2021. (Image: ITFC)


Aluko was the 12th of 19 summer recruits of Paul Cook's 'Demolition Man' job of 2021, joining the Blues on a free transfer from Reading. 

He brought experience to the Town ranks, having played for the likes of Rangers, Fulham and Hull City, playing in the Premier League with the Tigers and helping them reach the FA Cup final in 2014. 

However, he had a tough start on his Blues debut as Town lost 1-0 at home to League Two side Newport County in the Carabao Cup first round. 

He looked off the pace in that game and was replaced just before the hour-mark, but it can't be forgotten that Cook's team didn't have a good start to the season, with Town having to to wait until mid-September to record their first victory. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Sone Aluko scored his first two goals for Ipswich at Cambridge United.Sone Aluko scored his first two goals for Ipswich at Cambridge United. (Image: Pagepix)


The former Nigerian international was able to recover from a difficult start though, and he become a fans' favourite after scoring his first two Town goals away at Cambridge United.

He was a surprise starter in that game, but it paid off as he netted two first-half goals, with the opener being an expertly-lobbed finish. However, the Blues ended up drawing the game 2-2. 

He was among the scorers once again just a few days later, this time in a 4-0 win at Portsmouth, which would be the main highlight under Cook's reign before he was sacked and replaced by Kieran McKenna. 

Aluko became an important part of the Ipswich squad in his first season at Portman Road, featuring 36 times as the Blues finished 11th in the third tier. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Sone Aluko played 19 games during the 2022/23 season.Sone Aluko played 19 games during the 2022/23 season. (Image: PA)


Aluko signed a new deal in the summer of 2022, but his game time was limited as the Blues achieved promotion to the Championship. 

Although he made just four league starts, he was praised by McKenna for his 'important minutes that made a difference' and his ability to set an example to the younger players in training.

He said: “Sone is so important to the environment and the culture here day-to-day. “He’s highly regarded by his team-mates, first and foremost, but also the staff around the club. 

Aluko also showed his class the FA Cup replay at Burnley. He was a box of tricks with his dancing feet and fancy flicks, playing a beautiful pass to start the attack for the equaliser that night. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Sone Aluko becoming a key member behind the scenes.Sone Aluko becoming a key member behind the scenes. (Image: PA)


Aluko was offered a new deal last summer, but he spent most of this season watching games with the analysts and providing insights to the team at half time. 

He also played an integral role behind the scenes, acting as a role model and mentor to the younger members of the squad. 

He did, however, score a crucial goal against Bristol Rovers in the Carabao Cup, captaining Town against his former club Fulham in the same competition a few months later.

In total, he played 62 games for the Blues, scoring four goals during his three seasons at Portman Road.

East Anglian Daily Times: Sone Aluko has played an integral role behind the scenes.Sone Aluko has played an integral role behind the scenes. (Image: Ross Halls)


It was announced he would be hanging up his boots this summer to end his 17-year playing career after making close to 500 career appearances and earning seven caps for Nigeria. 

Speaking at the club's End of Season dinner, he said: "I couldn't think of a better place to end my career.

"From top to bottom the club is amazing, and it has been a privilege to be here. I've not played as much as I would have liked, but this has still been the best year of my career.

"All of the lads, I love every one of you, even you, Harry Clarke." 

It’s expected that Aluko may stay with the Blues in some capacity, with McKenna wanting to keep him at Portman Road as the Blues prepare to take on the Premier League.

The Town boss said: "We’re so proud of him, we hope that Sone’s going to stay with us in one capacity or another, we need to negotiate that, his agent’s going to speak to Mark about that,” 

“We’re really keen to keep good people and Sone’s a fantastic person and we hope that he’ll be involved in some way. I’m sure it won’t be the last that we’ll see him after tonight.”