Legend Beattie’s latest injury paves way to Ipswich weekend win

KEVIN Beattie’s bad back paved the way for Ipswich Town to beat Crystal Palace in the Championship fixture at Portman Road on Saturday.

The Blues injury prone legend had to call off his planned summarising job for BBC Radio Suffolk, and the station was smart enough to call up Ray Crawford as his replacement.

Portsmouth-based Crawford was in town having attended a players’ reunion the previous night and was happy to take over the role next to commentator Brenner Woolley.

And the man who netted countless goals for the Blues in the Sixties winning two promotions to the top flight and winning the Football League championship in 1961/62 came up trumps again.

He has never seen a Town defeat while working for Radio Suffolk, and as hard as Palace tried and as much as they impressed at times they were facing a hopeless task.

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“It was nice to work on an Ipswich win again,“ said Crawford, who was delighted that the 1961/62 team received a special merit award at the Town Hall of Fame presentations on Friday night.

Along with former team mate Ted Phillips and Mick Mills and John Wark, Crawford was the first to be inducted in 2007.

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Doug Moran, John Compton and Andy Nelson were inducted on Friday, and Crawford added: “Ted and myself may have received much of the credit over the years for the club’s success under Sir Alf Ramsey, but it was the whole team that contributed.

“It was not just two players, and it’s wonderful that all the other members of the regular side have been rewarded.

“And it was a great night on Friday - one of the best reunions we have had.“

And former Town star striker is in the news with Marcus Stewart playing the last game of his illustrious career for Exeter at Bristol Rovers at the weekend.

Stewart netted 19 league goals in 2000/01 when Ipswich finished fifth in the Premiership and qualified for the UEFA Cup.

His manager then George Burley said: “Marcus was great to work with. He wanted to train and was a quality team player. He was good in the dressing room, very chirpy and bubbly – a big character.

“He was a natural goalscorer – not exceptionally quick, but he had great movement. He was a gifted finisher with either foot, good in the air and a very intelligent player.

“He was also very much a team player, both in possession of the ball and without it. It was great as a manager to have someone like that.”

Burley continued: “He was the type of player you need in the Premiership – always liable to pinch a goal. Marcus played a big part in those two seasons, with promotion (from the First Division) and then finishing fifth in the Premiership – which is still the highest finish for a promoted team.

“We found it hard in the second season, but the whole team did. He was still a tremendous acquisition.”

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