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Management, working with legends and lives away from football - what happened next for Ipswich Town’s class of 2000

PUBLISHED: 06:00 30 May 2020

Ipswich Town celebrate beating Barnsley at Wembley to win promotion to the Premier League in May 2000 Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Town celebrate beating Barnsley at Wembley to win promotion to the Premier League in May 2000 Picture: ARCHANT

In the final part of our look back at Ipswich Town’s Wembley heroics in 2000, ANDY WARREN looks at what George Burley’s players are up to these days.

Richard Wright celebrates with his medal around his neck. Picture: ARCHANTRichard Wright celebrates with his medal around his neck. Picture: ARCHANT

Richard Wright

It was an eventful day for the homegrown goalkeeper as he saw Craig Hignett’s opener bounce off the bar and in off his arm, gave away a penalty, saved it, then made a dramatic point-blank save from Gjorgi Hristov at a crucial moment.

He helped the Blues finish fifth in the Premier League before joining Arsenal in 2001, then moving on to Everton and West Ham before returning to the Blues for two seasons ahead of a short third spell in 2011/12. He finished his career as Manchester City’s third choice goalkeeper and now coaches the Premier League side’s stoppers.

John McGreal

The four Ipswich Town goalscorers - Richard Naylor, Tony Mowbray, Martijn Reuser and Marcus Stewart - celebrate on the Wembley pitch: Picture: JAMIE NIBLOCKThe four Ipswich Town goalscorers - Richard Naylor, Tony Mowbray, Martijn Reuser and Marcus Stewart - celebrate on the Wembley pitch: Picture: JAMIE NIBLOCK

Promotion came in McGreal’s first season with the club following his move from Tranmere and he continued to be a solid performer for the club until he joined Burnley in 2004.

The defender’s career finished at Turf Moor and he returned to Suffolk and studied for his coaching badges. He took his first steps with Colchester’s academy before ultimately taking on the top job at the Essex club in 2016. At the time of football’s stoppage, the U’s sat sixth in League Two, inside the play-off places.

Tony Mowbray

What a way for the old stager to sign off, with a crucial goal in what proved to be his final game as a professional footballer.

Tony Mowbray wheels away to celebrate his goal at Wembley. Picture: Simon Parker. 29/5/2000 ES 11 04 07Tony Mowbray wheels away to celebrate his goal at Wembley. Picture: Simon Parker. 29/5/2000 ES 11 04 07

He had already made the transition onto George Burley’s coaching staff and remained there throughout Town’s time in the Premier League, before taking temporary charge of the club between Burley’s departure and the appointment of Joe Royle. But he always wanted to go out on his own and was appointed Hibernian boss in 2004 before taking charge of West Brom, Celtic, Middlesbrough and Coventry. He’s currently at Blackburn and has been there more than three years.

MORE: ‘I dream of this happening again for Ipswich Town’ - chairman, manager and captain remember Wembley 2000

Mark Venus

The cultured defender with a vicious left foot spent three more seasons with the Blues following promotion, scoring the club’s first goal back in the Premier League at Tottenham in August 2000, before winding down his playing career with a season at Cambridge.

Tony Mowbray rises to head Ipswich Town level at Wembley. Picture: Simon Parker. 29/5/2000Tony Mowbray rises to head Ipswich Town level at Wembley. Picture: Simon Parker. 29/5/2000

His coaching career has seen him follow Mowbray to assist his old team at all of six of his clubs, including current side Blackburn. He’s hinted he may be interested in going it alone if the right job came along.

Gary Croft

The former Grimsby and Blackburn man got the nod ahead of Fabian Wilnis for the big game, ending a rollercoaster first season at Ipswich which also saw him spend time in prison for motoring offences.

After leaving Ipswich in 2002, Croft spent time with Cardiff, Grimsby and Lincoln before settling in Lincolnshire and founding a successful property business.

Jamie Clapham

The man who provided the cross for Marcus Stewart’s third goal remained with the Blues throughout their two seasons in the Premier League, before departing for Birmingham during Town’s first year back in the second tier.

He played for Wolves, Leeds, Leicester and Notts County before hanging up his boots and entering the coaching ranks, working for Lincoln, Barnsley, Middlesbrough and Leeds.

Jermaine Wright

Matt Holland celebrates promotion on the Wembley pitch. Picture: ARCHANTMatt Holland celebrates promotion on the Wembley pitch. Picture: ARCHANT

One of the unsung heroes of this Ipswich Town side, having been brought in amid comparisons with departing midfielder Kieron Dyer.

He remained with the Blues until 2004 when he joined Leeds, before finishing his career with Southampton and then Blackpool. Two of his sons, Drey and Diaz, are professional footballers with St Johnstone and Colchester respectively. Jim Magilton

The hero of the semi-final remained a central figure at Ipswich Town until the end of his playing career in 2006, taking over the captaincy from Matt Holland, before making the transition from player to manager as he replaced Joe Royle.

The Blues finished 14th and 8th in the two full seasons he managed before he was sacked just days after Town’s last victory over Norwich in April 2009. Since leaving Town he’s managed QPR and Melbourne Victory and is currently the elite performance director of the Northern Irish FA, making it clear he would like to manage his country now the position is vacant following the departure of Michael O’Neill.

Marcus Stewart celebrates scoring Ipswich Town's third goal at Wembley in 2000. Picture: ARCHANTMarcus Stewart celebrates scoring Ipswich Town's third goal at Wembley in 2000. Picture: ARCHANT

MORE: ‘We didn’t have any money...we had to get it right’ - how selling the crown jewels eventually took Town to the promised land

Matt Holland

Town’s captain fantastic lifted the trophy in Wembley’s Royal Box and continued to lead the Blues for the next three seasons, as they finished fifth, qualified for Europe, were relegated from the top flight and played through an extremely difficult financial period for the club.

He ultimately joined Charlton in the summer of 2003 and remained at The Valley until 2009 when he hung up his boots. He’s since worked in the media and can these days be heard on talkSPORT while also working for Premier League Productions and Amazon during their foray into football broadcasting.

Richard Naylor slots the ball home to put Ipswich Town ahead at Wembley. Picture: ARCHANTRichard Naylor slots the ball home to put Ipswich Town ahead at Wembley. Picture: ARCHANT

David Johnson

The frontman once again led the club’s scoring charts in 1999/00 as he netted 23 times, but was hampered by a calf injury which forced him off after 20 minutes in the final.

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His time with the Blues ended the following season as he was sold to Nottingham Forest, where he became a firm favourite and scored 50 goals before being forced to retire with a back injury. He remains in football, working in various roles in the business side of the game.

Ipswich Town captain Matt Holland (R) celebrates with team mate Jim Magilton after Martijn Reuser (not pictured) scored for them against Barnsley at Wembley Stadium, in their Division 1 playoff final football match at Wembley Stadium, London.Ipswich Town captain Matt Holland (R) celebrates with team mate Jim Magilton after Martijn Reuser (not pictured) scored for them against Barnsley at Wembley Stadium, in their Division 1 playoff final football match at Wembley Stadium, London.

Marcus Stewart

Town’s third goalscorer at Wembley went on to find the net 19 times in the Premier League the following season as the Blues finished fifth. Scandalously, though, he didn’t receive an England call-up.

He was sold to Sunderland shortly following Town’s relegation in 2002, before finishing his career with spells at Bristol City, Yeovil and Exeter. He began his coaching career at Exeter, spent five years as Darrell Clarke’s assistant at boyhood club Bristol Rovers and recently left his role alongside Clarke at Walsall in order to spend more time with his family.

Richard Naylor

(L-R) Mark Venus, Tony Mowbray and Jim Magilton celebrate after Town went 4-2 against Barnsley at Wembley Picture: PA SPORT(L-R) Mark Venus, Tony Mowbray and Jim Magilton celebrate after Town went 4-2 against Barnsley at Wembley Picture: PA SPORT

This was Naylor’s greatest day as an Ipswich Town player as the substitute scored the Blues’ second and then played important roles in goals three and four. His Ipswich Town career ran until 2009 but ended with him playing as a centre-back, having been converted to the role by Joe Royle.

His departure, following a testimonial against a ‘Wembley 2000’ side, led to a dream move to hometown club Leeds United, captaining the Whites before beginning his coaching career in the Elland Road club’s youth system. He’s now working in Hull’s academy.

Martijn Reuser

‘Reuser... Premiership’ - immortal words as the Dutchman slammed home goal number four to take Town into the top flight. He played an important role once they were there, too and continued to contribute until falling out of favour with Joe Royle.

Former Town chairman David Sheepshanks, pictured with Martijn Reuser, following the victory at Wembley. Picture: ARCHANTFormer Town chairman David Sheepshanks, pictured with Martijn Reuser, following the victory at Wembley. Picture: ARCHANT

His playing career took him back to the Netherlands, where he played for Willem II, RKC Waalwijk and NAC Breda before hanging them up. He’s coaching now, managing the Dutch U15 and U16 national teams in recent years.

MORE: ‘I was lost and alone... I needed a clean break’ - Wembley hero Mowbray on rebuilding his life in Ipswich

James Scowcroft

The homegrown striker was the Blues player-of-the-season in 1999/00 but cruelly missed the final through injury. But he put that disappointment behind him the following season as he played a key role in Town’s fifth-placed finish in the top flight.

It's 20 years this Friday since Ipswich's famous play-off final win at Wembley over Barnsley - Martijn Reuser scored the clincherIt's 20 years this Friday since Ipswich's famous play-off final win at Wembley over Barnsley - Martijn Reuser scored the clincher

He was sold to Leicester in the summer of 2001, though, staying there until 2005 when he had a brief loan spell back with the Blues. His professional career ended in 2010 following spells with Crystal Palace, Coventry and Leyton Orient. He remains in football, having worked in the media as well as in scouting and recruitment.

Fabian Wilnis

The Dutch full-back was the third and final substitute at Wembley but was a regular starter the following season, notably scoring against Manchester United at Portman Road.

Like Naylor, his Portman Road career earned him a testimonial prior to his departure in 2008, when he finished his playing days in non-league with Grays Athletic. He’s coaching in Colchester’s centre of excellence and splits his time between England and the Netherlands.

Wayne Brown

The defender made 30 appearances during 1999/00 and was an unused substitute at Wembley, but never made a top flight start for the Blues. He left for Watford in 2002 before a prolonged spell with Colchester and time with Leicester before ending his playing career.

He’s coached at Colchester too as was manager of Maldon & Tiptree last season as the Essex side enjoyed a prolonged FA Cup run, beating Leyton Orient before losing to Newport in round two.

Keith Branagan

Town’s substitute goalkeeper at Wembley had yet to make his Ipswich debut back in May 2000, but did well during three games in 2000/01 as he replaced RIchard Wright following the No.1’s injury. His final professional appearance came as a substitute in 2001, following Matteo Sereni’s red card at Leicester.

He’s currently the director of football coaching at Bolton School.

MORE: Four strikers, 52 goals, two painful injuries and one Wembley win - the tale of Burley’s four Town marksmen

Mick Stockwell

The Ipswich Town stalwart made 40 appearances for the Blues during 1999/00 but didn’t feature in any of the play-off games. He was released following promotion and finished his career with three years at Colchester.

Since retiring he’s coached young players at Town’s academy, continues to work in hospitality on matchdays and is also a highly respected kitchen fitter.

Manuel Thetis

The Frenchman made 20 appearances during the course of the season and started the play-off semi-final first leg with Bolton, which proved to be his final Town game.

He was loaned out to Wolves and Sheffield United the following season before retiring. He’s now back in France, working as a scout.

Jonas Axeldal

The Swedish striker made 21 appearances during the course of the campaign, with only one coming from the start, without scoring.

He was released in the summer of 2000 and briefly played for Cambridge before returning to his homeland, where he is currently the assistant manager at top flight side Falkenbergs FF.


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