Nugent's status plummets to new depths

HE WAS never the most popular man in Ipswich - but David Nugent's status in Suffolk has plummeted to new depths after he shunned Jim Magilton's advances.

HE WAS never the most popular man in Ipswich - but David Nugent's status in Suffolk has plummeted to new depths after he shunned Jim Magilton's advances.

The Portsmouth striker has traditionally enjoyed his visits to Portman Road, finding the back of the net with gay abandon.

However, he would do well to stay out of Ipswich after opting to ignore the Blues' approach in favour of the easy life on the south coast.

But, as JOSH WARWICK reports, Nugent is only the latest name in a line of pantomime villains to earn the wrath of Ipswich Town fans.

MOST of us would give our right leg to play for Ipswich Town - although donating a limb for the privilege of wearing the blue shirt would be a tad counter-productive.

Perhaps that's why David Nugent's decision to ignore - literally - Jim Magilton's offer of first team football at Portman Road is so difficult for Blues fans to digest.

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The 22-year-old striker has been as lethal as a dying grass snake since his big-money move from Preston to Portsmouth, his three goals costing Pompey £2million a piece.

Languishing in the reserves and seemingly unwanted by Harry Redknapp, Nugent could have kick-started his flagging career in Suffolk.

But instead, the goal-shy forward appears content to pick up his handsome wage without the inconvenient weekly challenge of actually playing competitive football.

It's not just his decision which has angered Ipswich fans, but the apparent lack of respect shown to the Blues and Magilton (perhaps he ran out of phone credit?).

Liverpool-born Nugent's relationship with the Town faithful was already more Mills and McCartney than Lennon and Ono, thanks to some overzealous goal celebrations in front of the North Stand a couple of seasons back.

Now, his inability to return a phone call has left him firmly in the Ipswich Town black book - a hell-like place reserved for those few hated souls who treat the club with contempt.

Nugent's actions - or inactions, as the case may be - have ensured that whenever his name is spoken in Suffolk's pubs, playgrounds and workplaces, dark clouds will appear and a crack of thunder will sound overhead.

But who else occupies the list of Ipswich infamy?

CRAIG BELLAMY

Berating Bellamy is a pastime enjoyed by much of the nation, but the whingeing Welshman's links to Norwich City elevate him from simple villain to an anti-Christ in Blues' fans' eyes.

At Carrow Road, Craig was hardly backward in coming forward, modestly declaring himself “the new Juninho” after managing to dislodge 87-year-old Iwan Roberts from City's attack.

His brushes with the law have been fairly frequent, while various misdemeanours - including an alleged incident with a golf club and former “team-mate” John Arne Risse's head - have left him facing a string of club fines.

But perhaps vertically-challenged Bellamy's greatest crime was scoring the winner at Portman Road - before celebrating as if he had discovered a cure for cancer.

IAN CROOK

“Crook by name, crook by nature,” screamed the Ipswich fans after the midfielder sensationally quit the Blues and returned to Norwich City just days after signing on at Portman Road.

Crook was released by Norwich at the end of the 1995/96 season, with City struggling financially and unable to afford the veteran's wages.

In June 1996, he signed for George Burley's Ipswich, but his contract and player registration forms were post-dated, only beginning at the start of July.

Cue an intervention by Mike Walker, who was re-appointed to the Canaries hot-seat on the same day that Crook, grinning widely for the cameras, was paraded as an Ipswich signing.

Within hours, Walker was on the phone offering Crook a new contract and, like a rat up a drainpipe, the aging Budgie was soon after heading back up the A140.

The bitter dispute went to a tribunal and, although Crook was able to rejoin his beloved City, the club was fined for its actions.

A year later, indecisive Crook signed for Japanese outfit Hiroshima - this time managing to stick with his new club.

ROBERT FLECK

IF ever there was a Portman Road pantomime villain, old Flecky was it.

He may have been born in Scotland, but the striker oozed yellow and green - and he just loved to bate Blues fans.

It was during his second spell with City that his infamy grew - at about the same rate as his waistline.

But while Town supporters not-so-politely suggested he had eaten all the pastry and meat-based snacks, Fleck fought back, celebrating in front of the Town following, gesticulating and playing the all-round bad boy.

With Fleck long since retired, a derby without the opportunity of relentlessly mocking the portly goal-getter is slightly less satisfying.

FRANNY JEFFERS

LIKE a bride left waiting at the altar, Ipswich Town felt betrayed, cheated and humiliated by the Scouse pretty-boy.

Franny looked all set to become the darling of the Portman Road terraces after tantalising the faithful during a fruitful loan spell from Blackburn.

But Jeffers shunned the Blues and plumped for Sheffield Wednesday after the Yorkshire club lured him north with the promise of a few more quid a week.

In a delicious twist, Jeffers was back at Portman Road on the opening day of the season - and on the end of merciless barracking from the North Stand as his new side were crushed 4-1.

That he received such stick was a surprise - most people didn't notice he was even playing.

ROBBIE SAVAGE

ROBBIE “Lily” Savage is to football what foot and mouth is to farmers.

His theatrics, reckless tackles and general skulduggery have turned the long-haired blond into the ultimate figure of hate.

Deplored universally, Robbie's cynical stint in the Premier League is coming to a close at lowly Derby.

DANNY MILLS

BEING ex-Norwich and ex- Leeds is reason enough, let alone Mills' penchant for x-rated tackles, which have made his a popular target for the boo boys.

Celebrating in front of the North Stand when Leeds scored in 2001 ensured the defender's card has always been marked at Portman Road.

KEVIN MUSCAT

THE Australian, who makes Vinnie Jones look like Bambi, delivered some truly awful crunches during his career - including a neck-high challenge on Kieron Dyer.

As with Robbie Savage, loathed like the plague.

MANAGER - ALAN PARDEW

HIS wild celebrations during West Ham's victory over Ipswich in the play-offs will always be a sore point in Suffolk.

After all, such behaviour is not the Ipswich way, is it? You'd never have seen Sir Bobby Robson or Sir Alf Ramsey jumping into the stand to celebrate a goal like they were teenage girls at a Boyzone gig.

Ipswich fans will be hoping the Blues can turn over Big Al's new charges, Charlton, when the teams meet at Portman Road later this month.