Ipswich Town derby day hero reveals how he could have signed for Norwich City

Ian Marshall

Ian Marshall

Ian Marshall helped plot the downfall of Norwich City in one of the most memorable East Anglian derbies of recent times, but the affable Liverpudlian revealed how he could have been on the opposite side that day.

Marshall scored the opener at Portman Road in Town’s 2-1 win in April 1996, a game which will always be remembered for Bryan Gunn’s ‘airshot’ which resulted in the City goalkeeper letting team-mate Rob Ullathorne’s back-pass go past his foot and into the net for the winner.

The former Oldham man signed for then-Premier League side Ipswich in the summer of 1993, but admitted he could have moved to the Blues’ arch-enemies earlier in his career.

“I could have moved to Norwich about a season before I signed for Ipswich,” said Marshall.

“Robert Chase was the chairman then and he was interested in signing me from Oldham.

“It never really got to the stage (where the two parties held talks) and I was not really interested at the time, Oldham were doing well in the Premier League and I was quite happy where I was.

“I think the manager at Norwich (Mike Walker) at the time wanted me to play at centre-half too, I was playing centre-half and centre-forward at Oldham, and that didn’t really appeal.

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“I wanted to play centre-forward and the following season John (Lyall) came in for me and made it very clear what he wanted.

“It could have been oh so different but I am glad it wasn’t.”

Marshall is back in Ipswich as he prepares for the opening of the Ian Marshall Football Academy, based at Greshams Sports Club in Ipswich, which kicks-off in September and the 49-year-old is keeping a close eye on his former team’s fortunes.

“I thought they (Ipswich) were unlucky in the first leg and had they got a lead from the first leg, I don’t think anyone could have complained,” he added.

“They are capable of beating Norwich. There are probably more talented teams in the division but what Ipswich have got is bundles of guts and determination.”

While Marshall became a hero in East Anglian derbies, he also played in a couple of Merseyside clashes for Everton.

“I can remember my first Merseyside derby, even though I’ve tried to forget it!” joked Marshall.

“We were 3-0 down at half-time and I got the shepherd’s hook, and we ended up losing 3-2.

“But I will never forget the game though as I got to play against my hero, Kenny Dalglish, who was up front with Ian Rush.

“I also played in a Charity Shield derby and it was a great experience as 10 to 15 years before I had been watching the games as a kid.

“They were fantastic occasions but Ipswich v Norwich was just the same and there is probably a bit more needle in the East Anglian derby.

“The intensity has been built up over the years. Both are proud clubs fighting it out.”

An open/taster day for the Ian Marshall Football Academy (for 16-18 year-olds) will be held on May 28 at Greshams Sports Club in Ipswich (11am start). For more details contact 01709 913600 or email marketing@ptcsports.co.uk

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