Do you recall the last Argyle transfer?

WILL he or won't he? David Norris that is; Sign for Ipswich Town?The chase for the Plymouth star has already turned into a long-running saga for the Plymouth star.

Mike Bacon

WILL he or won't he? David Norris that is; Sign for Ipswich Town?

The chase for the Plymouth star has already turned into a long-running saga for the Plymouth star.

However, it is not the first time Ipswich Town and Plymouth Argyle have crossed swords over transfer deals . . . MIKE BACON reports.

SEPTEMBER 1976 . . . the end of a long, hot summer.

Packed beaches, scorched playing fields, empty reservoirs, Abba and even a Minister for Drought.

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It was a summer to remember for most, and was about to be a summer to remember for Ipswich Town fans.

While in the current, not so hot climate, Ipswich Town and Plymouth Argyle continue to haggle over midfielder David Norris, back in 1976 it was another Plymouth Argyle player Ipswich were desperate to get hold of - Paul Mariner.

Those of us old enough to remember what Paul Mariner did for Ipswich Town when he did eventually sign for the club, will invariably enjoy a wry smile.

Thirty-three England caps while with Ipswich, and a further two more with Arsenal, Mariner was a skilful centre forward and Town fans loved him.

He scored 135 goals in more than 330 appearances and was part of Town's superb FA Cup and UEFA Cup-winning sides.

Indeed just as Norris is a wanted man now, so Mariner was then.

While today Leicester, Norwich and Southampton are all chasing Norris' signature, in 1976 it was West Ham and West Brom who were desperate for Mariner's.

He chose Town for £220,000, with Town stars John Peddelty and Terry Austin going the other way.

“I remember moving to Plymouth,” Peddelty said. “If me and Terry hadn't been part of the deal I think Mariner would not have come to Town.”

But before the deal was done, Mariner appeared on the verge of signing for the Hammers. Only quick intervention by Bobby Robson secured his man and Ipswich fans were forever grateful.

Mariner's debut for the Blues was October 30, 1976. It was the start of a wonderful partnership between him and the Portman Road club.

In eight years he became a cult hero . . . “We'll Walk a Million Miles for One Of Your Smiles . . . Paul Mariner” . . . the North Stand used to ring out.

David Norris may not be an Ipswich player yet - indeed he might never be.

But should Norris sign, he will need to go a long way to emulate his fellow Pilgrim who made the journey East.

Here's hoping.

DO you remember Paul Mariner and his time with Ipswich? How good was he? Was he Town's best-ever No.9

Let us know, sport@eadt.co.uk.

MARINER FACTFILE

Town record

Played 339 games

Goals 135

England record

Played 35 times

Goals 13

Currently at New England Revolution with former Liverpool star Steve Nichol