Kieron Dyer interview: Matt Holland on his time at Ipswich Town

Matt Holland was a fans' favourite at Portman Road

Matt Holland was a fans' favourite at Portman Road

He was captain of Ipswich Town during the club’s most recent halcyon times and today he opens his heart about the great days he enjoyed – not just at Portman Road, but on the world stage too.

Matt Holland was the darling of the Ipswich Town faithful for six years.

He made more than 250 appearances for the club, playing 223 of them consecutively under manager George Burley, during which time the Blues gained promotion to the Premier League in 2000.

He played – and scored – for the Republic of Ireland in the World Cup in Japan in 2002.

In the last of a series of interviews conducted by another former Blues favourite, Kieron Dyer, Holland tells of his early days at West Ham, what it was like to play with a young Rio Ferdinand, his move to Bournemouth and linking up with Burley at Portman Road for what was a stellar few years at the club.

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In part two of his interview with Dyer, coming up tomorrow, Holland talks of his relationship with Roy Keane, as well as the time the Ipswich Town job interested him.

But in today’s East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star, he concentrates on his early days in football and pays particular tribute to Burley.

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“When I joined Ipswich, George was just brilliant,” Holland said.

“We used to talk and talk football. I could see his passion about Ipswich and that never changed. He spotted players who could fit his way of playing and he signed some very good players.

“Mark Venus, Jamie Clapham, Tony Mowbray, Jermaine Wright, Marcus Stewart – the list goes on.

“They could all play the game. George got them playing how he wanted them to play, with the ball.”

Famed for always doing a lap of honour around the ground after every Town home game, win, lose or draw, Holland explains the reasoning behind that, as well as his current media work, which he discusses in tomorrow’s second part.

- Buy the paper for the full, exclusive interview!

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