Chambers moves into Town’s top 10 alongside heroes and legends... but how high can the skipper go?
- Credit: Archant
Captain Luke Chambers has entered the top 10 Ipswich Town league appearance-makers. Andy Warren looks at the legendary company he’s keeping.
1: Mick Mills – 591 games, 22 goals (1966-82)
Will anybody ever catch this true legend at the top of the club’s appearance charts? It’s highly unlikely.
The full-back captained Bobby Robson’s Blues through their greatest era, lifting the FA Cup and UEFA Cup under Sir Bobby Robson and also leading his country during that period having been given his international debut by another Ipswich great, Alf Ramsey.
He finished his career with Southampton and then Stoke but it’s Ipswich where he’s best remembered, with the 71-year-old still keeping a firm eye on the Blues through his role as BBC Radio Suffolk’s matchday summariser.
2: John Wark – 539 games, 135 goals (1975-84, 1988-90. 1991-97)
Three spells, two major trophies, four player-of-the-year awards and a bucket load of goals make John Wark an undisputed Ipswich Town great.
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He was of course a central figure in Robson’s side which conquered Europe in 1981, setting a UEFA Cup record with 14 goals on the way to the trophy (though that record is now held by Radamel Falcao on 17) and he is the third-highest scoring player in the club’s history despite rarely featuring as a striker.
3: Micky Stockwell – 506 games, 35 goals (1985-00)
What a servant this man was to Ipswich Town during a career at the club spanning the best part of two decades.
He was a youth team player under Bobby Robson before graduating to the first-team and becoming a central figure in the Town side which won the Second Division title in 1992 to earn a spot in the Premiership.
Stockwell remained a central part of the side throughout the decade, making 40 appearances in 1999/00 as Town again won promotion to the top flight before he departed for Colchester.
4: Paul Cooper – 447 games (1974-87)
The third member of Sir Bobby’s great sides to make this list is the man often overlooked by those on the outside looking in, given he never received international recognition.
But his contribution to the Blues was priceless, with Cooper winning the club’s player-of-the-year award in 1981 as Town won the UEFA Cup. He had a real knack of saving penalties, too.
The best goalkeeper in the club’s history? It’s hard to argue against it.
5: Tommy Parker – 428 games, 86 goals (1946-57)
The midfielder was a mainstay of the Ipswich side immediately after arriving, soon after the end of the Second World War, and took the captain’s armband.
For many years following his retirement he was the club’s leading appearance maker, while also working for the club off the pitch after hanging up his boots.
6: Billy Baxter – 409 games, 21 goals (1960-71)
The Scot was signed by Alf Ramsey in 1960 and quickly became part of a successful Ipswich side which won back-to-back league titles, with promotion to the top flight followed by Town’s only top division league title in 1962.
The wing half’s time at Town came to an acrimonious end after a changing-room fight with Bobby Robson.
7: John Elsworthy – 396 games, 44 goals (1949-65)
The Welshman gave the best part of 20-years’ service to the Blues and was part of teams which won titles in the Third, Second and then First Division in quick succession.
The left-half ran a post office branch in Ipswich following his retirement.
8: George Burley – 394 games, six goals (1973-85)
No man has represented Ipswich Town more often than George Burley.
His playing career was legendary in itself, with the Scot a leading player for Robson’s FA Cup and UEFA Cup-winning teams, before the right-back returned to manage the club in 1994.
He then led Town into the Premier League and back into Europe.
9: Doug Rees – 356 games, one goal (1948-59)
The Welshman was the captain of the Ipswich side which won a third-tier title in 1957 – the last time the Blues played at this level.
Chambers will be looking to replicate his achievement at the end of this season.
10: Luke Chambers – 345 games, 17 goals (2012-present)
And now onto the newest member of Ipswich Town’s top 10 – captain Luke Chambers, who has passed Jason Dozzell and Jimmy Leadbetter to claim 10th place with Leadbetter.
His achievements on the pitch don’t match up to the rest of this list, given it’s littered with trophies and medals, but there’s no doubting his commitment and passion for the club certainly does.
Since arriving in 2012 he’s been a central figure under four managers, shouldering a leadership burden at times when Town squads have lacked voices.
So, how high can he get on this list? He claimed 10th place alone this weekend at Lincoln and, should he remain injury-free, he will pass Rees before the end of 2020.
Then it’s all dependent on whether or not he earns a new contract, with his current terms up this summer. If he plays every game of this season and then all of next, he will get up to fifth. Could he go even higher than that? Only time will tell.
11: Jimmy Leadbetter – 344 games, 43 goals (1955-65)
The man recently passed by Chambers was signed for the princely sum of £1,750 from Brighton in 1955, going on to win titles at Third, Second, and First Division-level under Ramsey.
Leadbetter started off as a winger but Ramsey’s move to become the ‘Wingless Wonders’ saw him play deeper and thread passes for the prolific duo of Ted Phillips and Ray Crayford.
The next four
12: Jason Dozzell - 340 games, 53 goals (1983-93 - 1997)
13: Richard Naylor - 324 games, 37 goals (1996-09)
14: Ray Crawford - 320 games, 204 goals (1958-63, 66-69)
15: Frank Yallop - 316, seven goals (1983-96)
Thanks to @callmestat for the statistics