My favourite Ipswich Town XI: Karl Fuller


Karl Fuller's favourite XI - Credit: Archant

In what is proving a popular feature this summer, MIKE BACON will be chatting to Town fans, to ask them who their favourite Town XI of all time is. This week, Mike talks to KARL FULLER.

Ipswich Town v Arsenal FA Cup final April 1978 Paul Cooper NEG 61946-31

Paul Cooper celebrates Ipswich winning at Wembley in the 1978 FA Cup final.

Goalkeeper: PAUL COOPER

In this day and age we can have selfies and photos with players quite easily, just get hold of your phone and dive in!

Well, back in the day, it wasn't so easy, but Paul Cooper was the first professional footballer I ever had my photograph taken with. He attended my Primary School, at Kirby Cross, near Frinton, in about 1979. I have no idea why. But I had a photo with him. Also back in that era, goalkeepers wore the same shorts and socks as the outfield players. So whenever I think of a Town goalkeeper wearing white shorts and blue socks, I think of Paul Cooper. He was just a great goalkeeper and a big favourite of mine.

Mick Stockwell on the ball in the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa in the League Cup, fourth round, in Dece

Mick Stockwell on the ball in the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa in the League Cup, fourth round, in December 1992. Mick made more than 600 appearances for Town. - Credit: Archant


Mick was born on Valentine's Day, so you must feel the love for him!

He only ever played for two clubs, Ipswich and Colchester United. What I liked about Mick is that he was quite short. I've often heard stories over the years that players were let go by clubs because they were 'too small'. But there are plenty of 'small' players who have been super players. Mick Stockwell is sandwiched between Mick Mills, John Wark, Paul Cooper and George Burley as the five most appeared Ipswich Town players. If we were doing a Best XI, not many would put him in, but why not? He played more than 600 times for Town.

EADT NEWSKevin Beattie in actionEADT 31 03 07

Kevin Beattie. Town's greatest-ever player. - Credit: Archant

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Centre-back: KEVIN BEATTIE

Without doubt Town's greatest-ever player.

But he's not in my favourite XI just because he was the best. He's in here because he was brilliant to me. I used to be quite involved at Clacton Town FC years ago and the first time I met 'Beat', he came and presented our end-of-season trophies. And then he came and presented more trophies for my Sunday Morning team later in the season. Nothing was too much for him. When my Sunday team had a 30th anniversary game at Clacton, he bought his Sophtlogic Sunday team to play us. And he bought John Wark along for the Sophtlogic team. Wonderful.

Centre-back: TERRY BUTCHER

I was a great fan of Saturday morning TV when I was a kid.

My favourite was Multi-coloured Swapshop, which later became Saturday Superstore.
And Terry was the first Ipswich Town player I recall seeing on there as a footballing guest. I've met Terry a few times since and when you talk to him you can just tell his love for Ipswich Town is the same as mine. A true legend.

Jamie Clapham, ranked No. 3 in the Top Five Town left-backs of the last 40 years

Jamie Clapham, a good friend to Karl Fuller, despite being friendly with a Norwich City player! - Credit: Archant


Back in the day I used to do fan interviews for TWTD.

And I became quite friendly with Jamie. We used to go to nightclubs together. He took me one night to a club and one of his good friends was a Norwich player. I won't say who. Anyhow, I had to question him about this, but he was unperturbed! But what was cool about him was this. As Town used to line up for kick-off at Portman Road, he used to turn round and wave to me in the stand because he knew where I sat. I would wave back. My friends used to question me about who I was waving to and I just said, Jamie Clapham.


Jason Dozzell, a wonder goal at Anfield and two good spells with the Blues. - Credit: Archant


Jason did well for us, left the club, then came back and was a joy to watch in both eras. He also won me a bit of money!

The first time I went to Millwall's Old Den, I saw this betting booth. Jason was down as 16/1 to score the first goal. I thought I would have a couple of quid on that and lo and behold he scored the first goal of the game. My favourite memory of Jason was his goal at Anfield in the FA Cup in 1992, to put us ahead in extra-time. There was a photo in a national paper next day of him pointing to the Ipswich fans with his feet off the ground like he was walking on air. Which we were for a short while before Liverpool equalised and eventually won.

Matt Holland at Wembley 2000. He was George Burley's captain.

Matt Holland at Wembley 2000. He was George Burley's captain. - Credit: Archant


One of the best captains Ipswich Town have ever had.

If I didn't love Matt Holland enough, he has agreed to write the foreword for my forthcoming book! Aside from that, I bet there isn't an an Ipswich fan out there who doesn't love him, even if they didn't have him in their favourite XI. Matt was a great player, scored goals, led the team and of course played in the World Cup for Ireland. And you know he loves Ipswich Town, which is superb.

John Wark celebrates his goal in the Blues 1-0 win at Leicester City on the opening day of the 1980/

John Wark celebrates his goal in the Blues 1-0 win at Leicester City on the opening day of the 1980/81 season - Credit: Archant

Midfield: JOHN WARK

My favourite all-time Ipswich Town player.

I once played against Warky in that Sunday match when Kevin Beattie brought his Sophtlogic team, obviously including John, who must have been late 30s, maybe even 40 then. I remember playing left back and the ball was going down the other side of the pitch but towards our goal. So I drifted across near the penalty spot to cover some space. There wasn't a Sophtlogic player around me. Anyhow, the cross comes in and in the blink of an eye, it's in the back of the net. I thought, 'how has that happened?'. It was John Wark, who, even at that age, had timed his run to perfection to score.

Dalian Atkinson receiving the match ball after scoring a hat-trick v Middlesborough in April 1988 fr

Dalian Atkinson receiving the match ball after scoring a hat-trick v Middlesborough in April 1988 from Ipswich Town manager John Duncan. - Credit: Archant


Dalian didn't play as many games for Ipswich as we hoped.

As soon as he announced himself on the scene with his explosive style of play and goals, he was poached off us Sheffield Wednesday. We will all remember Dalian for a hat-trick against Middlesbrough on the last day of the season. I was 16 and was allowed to go with my mates. We nearly missed the kick-off catching the train from Kirby Cross. I'm glad we didn't. It was a brilliant hat-trick and in the Boro defence that day were Tony Mowbray and Gary Pallister. That's how good Damian was. Today, he'd be worth £30m or so.


A Town legend who should have played for England.

Marcus was a great striker who paid back his transfer fee with those two goals at Bolton in the play-offs and the goal at Wembley in 2000. I once interviewed him. He was such a nice guy. You so get the feel of people when you interview them. Did you know, he had a love for fridge magnets? I once gave him one of Clacton, where I lived. I wonder if he put it on his fridge? Never did find out.

Paul Mariner celebrates scoring for Ipswich away at Everton on February 24 1979 in a 1-0 win

Paul Mariner celebrates scoring for Ipswich away at Everton on February 24 1979 in a 1-0 win - Credit: Archant


I had the pleasure of meeting Paul at his surprise 65th birthday party.

I went along with my friend and darts player, Kevin Painter, who had a invite and asked if I wanted to go. Well, I've been to Wembley 2000, I've been to Helsingborgs in the UEFA Cup and I've led Ipswich out as a Community Champion onto the pitch. But to be at Paul Mariner's surprise 65th birthday party was unbelievable. There were only 16 of us there and yet Paul had so much time chatting to me, yet he didn't know me. But what a gentleman and legend. Also there that night were Terry Butcher and John Wark. My three favourite players all in one room. I'd have paid £150 to be there, but I was there as a guest.

Substitutes: Craig Forrest, Kieron Dyer, Mauricio Taricco, Arnold Muhren and Kevin Wilson.

Sir Bobby Robson unveling Sean's statue of himself in July 2002

Sir Bobby Robson, made Karl Fuller's day by stopping to shake his hand at Portman Road. - Credit: PA


My biggest inspiration as to why I fell in love with Ipswich Town.

Bobby grabs me in the heart. He put us on the European and world map. I only met him once. It was when he was manager of Newcastle and they came to Portman Road. I took my boys round the back to get autographs of the players after the game. They got Alan Shearer and then Bobby came out. I said to my boys, 'look who's coming, Bobby Robson.' They both said 'who?' as they were only six and seven. Bobby was walking towards me with a couple of stewards escorting. I wanted to shake his hand but the stewards sort of said, 'no, sorry, he hasn't got time.' However, Bobby stopped and said he did have time. I shook his hand and said 'thanks for all you have done for our club.' He replied, 'I did it for fans like you and all the fans at this great club, it was my pleasure.' I've never forgotten that.

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