Legend Ray hoping to bring Blues luck

IPSWICH Town legend Ray Crawford aims to do what he always did best at Portman Road tomorrow - help the Blues to a win.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town legend Ray Crawford aims to do what he always did best at Portman Road tomorrow - help the Blues to a win.

The 72-year-old former striker has seen Town at their best this season when working for the media, and witnessed well deserved victories at Plymouth, Queens Park Rangers and Reading as well as a draw at Southampton.

And the front man, who was the first Ipswich player to win an England cap and was a vital part of the side that won the First Division title in 1961/62 under the management of Alf Ramsey, will be in the stands for the visit of Watford tomorrow.

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“I have yet to see Ipswich beaten this season and from what I have seen they are quite capable of winning promotion,” said Crawford, who is journeying up to Ipswich from his Portsmouth home for tonight's players' reunion night at the Sir Bobby Robson suite.

“It was disappointing to see that they failed to beat Burnley at home on Tuesday to back-up their great display at Reading, and hopefully I will bring them luck tomorrow.”

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After the game, Crawford will be back on the pitch and giving a special speech when former team mate Jimmy Leadbetter's ashes will be scattered over the hallowed turf in a ceremony involving a number of players who won successive Second and First Division championships in 1961 and 1962.

“Jimmy supplied so many goals in the Alf Ramsey era for myself and Ted Phillips,” added Crawford.

“I will be paying tribute to him with his daughter and son-in-law coming down for the day.

“Hopefully having part of Jimmy on the pitch will help the wide players in the Ipswich team supply the ammunition for today's strikers to lift Ipswich into the Premier League.

“Ipswich have a big job to do to go up this season, but there has to be a great deal of hope for 2009/10.”

Four more ex-Town players are expected to be added to the club's hall of fame tonight, and join Crawford, Phillips, Leadbetter, Mick Mills, John Wark, Frans Thijssen, Kevin Beattie and John Elsworthy. A record-breaking 60 ex-players are due to attend including Dalian Atkinson with 175 sitting down to dinner. At tomorrow's game, Crawford and Phillips will have lunch with staunch Town supporters Bernie and Joy Hood with Crawford saying:

“They sponsor Kevin Lisbie and academy player Jamie Griffiths and we shall be going back to their place in Great Waldringfield after the game where we will stay the night.”

This week Crawford opened a community centre in Landport, Portsmouth where he was raised.

“It was an honour,” he said. “And they have a special plaque on the wall with all my clubs and goals.”

And tomorrow he will finally catch up with memories of the 1961/62 campaign with the Evening Star arranging for the striker to have prints of the title win.

I only have newspaper cuttings of the team and some of the action,” added Crawford.

“It will add to my collection to have photographs of the team and celebrations.”

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