A moving experience

AS Ipswich Town celebrate 70 years as a professional club, a new DVD charting the club's history has been released. Derek Davis meets the man behind the project and a couple of Blues' legendsIT takes something special to move a group of cynical old hacks to applause but, along with three football greats, that is precisely what happened when the titles ran on John Gubba's epic Official History of Ipswich Town.

By Derek Davis

AS Ipswich Town celebrate 70 years as a professional club, a new DVD charting the club's history has been released. Derek Davis meets the man behind the project and a couple of Blues' legends

IT takes something special to move a group of cynical old hacks to applause but, along with three football greats, that is precisely what happened when the titles ran on John Gubba's epic Official History of Ipswich Town.

John Elsworthy, Kevin Beattie and John Wark marvelled as the story of the club from the professional era unfolded, seeing captured moments of their own past that they had not seen since living the dream.

Elsworthy, who has a unique collection of four title-winning medals, two from Division Three (south), Division Two and the ultimate prize as Ipswich were crowned Champions of England.

The man who arrived at Portman Road from Newport, Wales, said: “This is the finest club I ever played for. Coming here was brilliant but, when I first signed, I had to look on the map to see where Ipswich was.

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“Scott Duncan was manager when I signed but then Alf Ramsey took over.

“He played the game exactly as I wanted to play it. We had players like Ted Phillips and Ray Crawford and I combined with Jimmy Leadbetter.

“Alf was a tactical genius and a marvellous coach who made us all better players.

“He knew the strength and weakness of every player, not just ours but the opposition too.

“It was incredible winning the title and I can't see it ever happening again with a team like Ipswich. It is far more difficult now financially.

“The DVD is marvellous, really fascinating and I had not seen the goal that is featured on film before.”

With his permed hair and outstanding defensive ability, Beattie is still an iconic figure in one of the Blues' most wonderful eras under Bobby Robson and features heavily in the 105-minute programme.

Beattie said: “Some of the clips on there I have never seen before and it brings back fabulous memories. It makes me want to get out there and kick a ball about, but I'm too old now.

“It is a fascinating video and how John Gubba has put all these clips together from so far back is amazing.

“It is a pleasure watching it and I'm going to go home and watch it again.”

Beattie joined the Blues as a home-sick teenager from Carlisle but grew to love both the club and the town and relishes the reunions. He said: “We won the Championship in the 1960s, the FA Cup and UEFA Cup and it is great when we get invited back.

“Those wins may still be in the memory of many but, if it was not for the players before us, then we wouldn't be where we are now or won what we did in my day.

“It is hard to get on with Suffolk people but once you are in with them then you are here for life. The people are fantastic and it is lovely place to live.”

The DVD is produced by VSI, with experienced football programme maker Gubba, the veteran of 300 videos for 18 different clubs, using material garnered over 15 years to make a unique insight into the club's colourful past.

Gubba said: “For the size of the club, Ipswich has a fascinating history. They have provided two England mangers, won the UEFA Cup, the FA Cup and have been champions of England.

“It has been a real rollercoaster too. It is not like doing a programme about Liverpool or Manchester United, who win something almost every year, this is a good story that has heartache and success.”

“It sounds a bit of a cliche but you see, with people like Warky, Beat and John Elsworthy, who are real stars in the video, that once you come here you stay and, while I'm a Man Utd fan who is actually from Manchester, I have an affection for Ipswich.”

There is no fancy title for this DVD, it is exactly as it says on the cover and will enthral and entertain not just Blues fans but football supporters everywhere.

Priced at £18.99, the Official History of Ipswich Town DVD is available from Planet Blue stores and online.

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