Ipswich Town’s standards should remain high, insists George Burley

Ipswich Town players and staff celebrate their Play-Off Final win at Wembley back in 2000. Photo: Ja

Ipswich Town players and staff celebrate their Play-Off Final win at Wembley back in 2000. Photo: Jamie Niblock - Credit: Archant

Seventeen years ago George Burley led the Blues to the Premier League via an enthralling 4-2 Play-Off Final victory against Barnsley at the old Wembley. The Scot insists Ipswich Town’s standards should not slip ahead of a 16th successive season in the Championship.

George Burley lifts the Play-Off trophy in 2000 as Ipswich Town secured promotion to the top-flight.

George Burley lifts the Play-Off trophy in 2000 as Ipswich Town secured promotion to the top-flight. Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town legend George Burley insists the club shouldn’t be happy simply treading water in the Championship.

This afternoon, Reading and Huddersfield will do battle for a place among English football’s elite. Seventeen years ago to the day Burley was leading the Blues to the Premier League via an enthralling 4-2 Play-Off Final victory against Barnsley at the old Wembley.

Town finished fifth in the top-flight the following year, but were subsequently relegated and have been in the second-tier ever since.

A recent 16th place finish represented the club’s worst season in almost 60 years and there’s a growing sense of apathy among supporters, reflected by a drop-off in season ticket sales of around 2,000, heading into a 16th successive Championship campaign.

“The tradition of this club, with what Alf Ramsey, Bobby Robson and even myself achieved shouldn’t be forgotten,” said Burley, who was part of Robson’s FA Cup and UEFA Cup winning squads as a player.


You may also want to watch:


“Right now, Ipswich should be contesting for the top six in the Championship every year at the very least – that’s where I think they should be. I was at the club for 21 years as a player and manager and the standard never dropped below that.

“That’s the level Ipswich Town should be endeavouring to be at again. That’s where they should expect to be. It’s that type of club.”

Most Read

Burley, who lives in Ipswich and is a regular at Portman Road, continued: “When I took over in 1994 the first thing I said was I wanted to take the club back into Europe and we did that.

“When you have a club with the sort of tradition and success that we have then it’s inevitable that fans have high expectations. If you took that dream away then you’d have nothing left. You’ve got to have ambition and belief otherwise what’s the point? Hopefully we can get back to producing our own players, build a team and Mick (McCarthy) can get us competing at the top end of the table again.”

Dutchman Martijn Reuser, who scored the clinching fourth goal back in 2000, said: “I was over to watch the game against Newcastle at Easter and was very impressed, but I’m told that was not the normal performance.

“It’s getting harder and harder to get to the Premier League. I just hope the good times will come back to Ipswich.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter