Ipswich Town’s top 100 players - the top ten!
PUBLISHED: 09:00 06 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:44 06 February 2017
Lifelong Ipswich Town fan Terry Hunt completes his look at the top 100 players to ever play for Town with his top ten, starting with Terry Butcher
10: Terry Butcher
The most famous photo of Terry Butcher is him with his white England shirt drenched in blood. He also shed blood for Town at least a couple of times, during a career with Ipswich which ended with him in tears as the team was relegated in 1986. He also won 77 caps for England, playing in three World Cup finals tournaments, captaining the national team in 1990.
9: Allan Hunter
A huge signing for Bobby Robson. As George Best was dumping Ipswich out of the League Cup in 1971, large sections of the crowds shouted for his head. Chairman John Cobbold was furious, and gave Robson the money to buy Hunter. The team never looked back.
8: Ted Phillips
A good old Suffolk boy,Ted formed a fearsome goalscoring partnership with Ray Crawford. Phillips allegedly had the hardest shot in football in the early 1960s. The duo’s goals fired Town into the First Division in 1961, and the following year their firepower - combined with Alf Ramsey’s tactical mastery - played a huge part in shocking the whole of football by winning the First Division championship.
7: Frans Thijssen
When Thijssen joined Dutch colleague Arnold Muhren in Town’s midfield, the team was complete. The pair were the best midfield partnership in England, and contributed massively to the team’s 1980-81 season, when they won the UEFA Cup and fell agonisingly short in both the First Division and the FA Cup. Thijssen won the Footballer of the Year title.
6: Paul Mariner
Town won a three-way fight with West Brom and West Ham to sign Mariner from Plymouth – and what a capture! He marked his home debut with a glorious solo goal against West Brom, ironically, and his Town career just soared, including the FA Cup win and the UEFA Cup triumph. Also played more than 30 times for England, with a good goalscoring record.
5: Arnold Muhren
Muhren watched the ball flying over his head endlessly on his Town debut. The team soon adapted to the Dutchman’s style and performances were transformed. Muhren developed an almost telepathic understanding with Alan Brazil, creating so many goals for the Scottish striker. Muhren’s magic left foot was still in fine fettle in 1988, creating Marco van Basten’s famous volleyed goal in the European Championships.
4: Ray Crawford
Surely the best striker in Town’s history – certainly the club’s record goalscorer. Portsmouth’s loss was Town’s gain when the young Crawford arrived at Portman Road. He joined up with Ted Phillips to terrorise defences, initially in the Second Division, and then in the top-flight, where astonishingly the team grabbed the title in their debut season. After spells at Wolves and West Brom, Crawford came back to Ipswich to help the team regain its place in the First Division. At the end of his career, Crawford famously scored twice as Colchester knocked mighty Leeds out of the FA Cup.
3: Mick Mills
Ipswich captain through the Robson glory years, Mills was a born leader. He inherited the captaincy at a very young age, after Bill Baxter’s ignominious departure. As well as that responsibility, Mills was also comfortable and dependable playing in both full-back positions, and occasionally midfield. In 1982, he had the honour of being captain of England in the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain.
2: John Wark
How did he do it? How did John Wark score all those goals? Warky wasn’t blessed with great pace, or blinding skill. He just had an incredible knack of being in the right place at the right time, and the ball usually ended up in the back of the net. Memorably, he scored 36 times in the 1980-81 season. He was deadly from the penalty spot. Later in his career, he played at the back. Only Mills has played more times for Town.
1: Kevin Beattie
Surely the greatest player ever to wear an Ipswich Town shirt. The word “colossus’’ is one which is greatly over-used in football, but it is exactly what Beattie was.
His sheer power, and pace, were both absolutely awe-inspiring. Bobby Robson called him his “diamond.’’ He also said he was “daft as a brush.”
Both were true.
Beattie should have won 100 England caps.. Instead, serious injury problems meant he only played nine times for his country. His last game for Town was in the 1981 FA Cup semi-final against Man City, when he had to go off after breaking his arm.
It was a poignant, and somehow fitting, way for this great, but unlucky, player to end his career. I cannot believe any of us will see better playing for Town.
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