End of an era as Bowditch leaves

DEAN Bowditch, the once golden boy of Ipswich Town's academy, has been released.Although no big surprise, as the 21-year-old has not figured in the Blues first team all season, Bowditch's departure represents something of an end of an era for Ipswich.

Derek Davis

DEAN Bowditch, the once golden boy of Ipswich Town's academy, has been released.

Although no big surprise as the 21-year-old has not figured in the Blues first team all season Bowditch's departure represents something of an end of an era for Ipswich.

Bowditch is the last of the 2002/03 Academy class to leave the Blues, with only Lewis Price at £200,000 to Derby County, sold for money.

The striker burst onto the first team scene with a memorable debut at Norwich City and went on to make 35 starts and 46 substitute appearances.

The most memorable of his nine senior goals was the hat-trick he netted against Watford.

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Bowditch was widely regarded as the next big thing coming through the ranks, with a number of clubs linked to him.

Manchester United had tried to recruit him as a 15-year-old, claiming his Harlow home was within an hour of their training ground as he could fly from Stansted.

Although it was Joe Royle who handed him his debut, saying at the time “the secret is now out” after he had been prolific in the second string, Bowditch suffered a severe confidence crisis and loss of form under the old boss and he has never been able to live up to expectations.

The former England Under 19-international has been at Portman Road since joining at the age of 10 after being discovered by Malcolm Moore and worked under coach Steve Leslie initially before progressing through the ranks to the first team.

Prolific at every level Bowditch battled with Darren Bent and Darren Ambrose to progress.

Injuries have hampered him in the past two seasons and loan spells at Brighton and Northampton have ended prematurely.

He sent a message to prospective new employers in his last game for the Blues by hitting all four goals in the reserve team's 4-3 win at Luton Town.

He signed off at Portman Road with a hat-trick for the reserves in the 4-0 win over Stevenage Borough and they are one of the clubs to have shown an interest in the striker.

Barnet and Rushden & Diamonds are also understood to have watched him recently.

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