Ranking Ipswich Town's top seven transfer flops of the last 40 years

Finidi George can't believe his second half score has been cancelled out for offside

Finidi George, who did not live up to his top billing at Ipswich Town - Credit: Archant

Football writer Carl Marston compiles a top seven of Ipswich Town flops in the transfer market over the last 40 years, since the 1980-81 season...

Having compiled numerous lists of my top Town players of the last 40 years, with regards keepers, defenders, midfielders, strikers and alike, it's time to change tact and look at some of the 'misses' rather than 'hits.'

Or if you prefer, some of the Town villains rather than Town heroes, at least in  my eyes.

Here I list my top seven Town transfer flops of the last four decades, since the triumphant season of 1980-81.

They are a mixture of expensive flops, those that never lived up to their expensive price tag, and also players who arrived with high expectations, but never fulfilled their promise.

Naturally, the choice is vast, given the 40-year period, especially with the under-performing players that have donned the Town shirt over the last two decades.

Money has been wasted, high-profile players have misfired and others hardly played at all.

Most Read

Bubbling just outside my top seven were candidates such as Nigel Reo-Coker, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Lee Martin (over-priced at £1.5 million, but improved later under Paul Jewell), Cameron Stewart, Michael Chopra (this £1.5m buy was saved by one fine season), Sam Parkin, Jonas Axeldal and Tommy Oar.

Of course everyone will have their own 'favourites,' or rather 'least favourites,' but here's my top seven.

Town signed Nigerian superstar Finidi George for the 2001/02 season, but were relegated. Picture: PA

Nigerian international, Finidi George - Credit: PA


The Nigerian international arrived at Portman Road in a blaze of glory in 2001, joining George Burley's Premier League squad at a price of £3.1 million.

He had rattled up 60-odd appearances for Nigeria during the 1990s, featuring in two World Cups, and had starred for the likes of Ajax (Champions League winners in 1994-95), Real Betis and RCD Mallorca, so big things were expected of him.

However, George was already in the twilight of his career - his exact age was shrouded in mystery - and so the veteran failed to sparkle on the right flank.

He played just 35 league games, and was powerless to prevent Town from being relegated from the Premier League, often looking sluggish and ineffective on the pitch, before being released from his contract in 2003.

Ipswich Town entertain Doncaster Rovers at Portman Road; Going nowhere - Tamas Priskin grounded

Tamas Priskin, who could be considered a flop in the transfer market after being bought by manager Roy Keane - Credit: Archant


Another big-money signing, Hungarian international striker Priskin was one of several signings made by manager Roy Keane who failed to make the grade.

Priskin had impressed at former club Watford, but he never lived up to his £1.7 million price tag following his arrival in the summer of 2009.

He only mustered one league goal from 17 appearances in his first season, and in all only managed five league goals for Town in 51 outings before he was released from his contract in January, 2012.

Of course Priskin will always be remembered for netting the winner in the 1-0 victory over Arsenal in the first leg of the League Cup semi-finals in early 2011, but that goal is not enough to keep him out of this top seven!

Amir Karic played more for his country than he did for Ipswich, during his time at Portman Road.

Amir Karic, who struggled to make an impact at Town


The Yugoslav left-back was another to arrive at Ipswich with a fine pedigree, and high expectations.

The tough-tackling Karic had played in the 2000 European Championships before signing for Town in a £700,000 deal, but he never even made a league appearance for the Premier League side.

After a mere three outings in the League Cup, and a disappointing loan stay at Crystal Palace, Karic had his contract terminated in the autumn of 2002.

Leon Best pictured during the Ipswich Town v Huddersfield Town (Sky Bet Championship) match at Portm

Leon Best, who never really settled at Portman Road - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller


In the past, front-runner Best had commanded big fees of £1.5m (to Newcastle, in 2010) and £3m (to Blackburn, 2013), and there were high hopes that the 29-year-old would rediscover some of his lost form when signing for Town in the summer of 2016.

However, Town fans never saw the best of Best. He turned out for just 12 games, before falling out with manager Mick McCarthy following an FA Cup defeat at non-league Lincoln City.

Left out in the cold, Best never even scored a goal for the Suffolk club before the much-travelled striker was released the following summer.

A gamble that never came off.

Adrian Paz

Adrian Paz, who only scored one goal for Town following his high-profile move from South America - Credit: Archant


Much excitement surrounded the transfer coup that saw South American striker Paz signing from Argentine club Estudaintes in 1994, towards the end of John Lyall's tenure.

I remember a video of Paz's great goalscoring moments were passed around the members of the 'East Anglian Daily TImes' sports desk. We were all very impressed.

The Uruguayan certainly seemed to have a knack of scoring some wonderful goals, although some of them looked suspiciously alike.

Still, much was expected of crowd-pleaser Paz when he arrived alongside full-back Mauricio Taricco, a fellow South American.

At the time, Paz was seen as the glamour signing, and Taricco as the bit-part accompaniment.

But whereas Argentine defender Taricco went on to have a terrific career in England, Paz flopped, scoring just one goal in 18 appearances, although he did achieve the accolade of being the first Uruguayan to play in the Premier League.

Nathan Ellington

Nathan Ellington, who misfired at Ipswich - Credit: Andy Abbott


Strikers feature so strongly on this list because clubs, and fans, often pin all their hopes on their shoulders. They have more to lose and, when they flop, they tend to flop badly.

Ellington was past his best when he signed for Town in 2011, a few weeks before his 30th birthday.

He had built up a reputation as a dangerous front-runner and regular goalscorer at the likes of Bristol Rovers and Wigan, before enjoying a spell in the Premier League at West Brom.

But Ellington never even got close to making a name for himself at Ipswich. He failed to score in 19 appearances and had a loan stint at Scunthorpe before being released in the Spring of 2013 to join Crewe.

However, at least Town had snapped him up on a free transfer, so he wasn't an expensive failure.

Ivar Ingimarsson is one of a number of players who have left Ipswich Town 'by mutual consent' in rec

Ivar Ingimarsson, past his best when he signed for Town


Another player who had his best years behind him, Icelandic centre-half Ingimarsson was close to celebrating his 34th birthday when he was signed on a free transfer from Reading in the summer of 2011.

But although in the later stages of his career, and not saddled with a transfer fee, Ingimarsson still disappointed during his few months at Town.

He had made 282 appearances for Reading, and was a star performer, but he totalled just eight appearances for Paul Jewell's Town before having his contract terminated by mutual consent in early 2012.

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