Office boy makes Blues debut

SIXTEEN years after he was rejected by Ipswich Town, Jon Bickers made his debut yesterday.

Elvin King

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SIXTEEN years after he was rejected by Ipswich Town, Jon Bickers made his debut yesterday.

It climaxed a remarkable, fairytale story for the 30-year-old who now works in the Portman Road office.

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He came on for the last 12 minutes of yesterday's Combination fixture against Northampton reserves at Town's Playford Road training ground.

Bickers works for the club as a performance analyst spending his working day in front of a computer studying recordings of Coca-Cola Championship matches and giving manager Jim Magilton and his coaches a detailed report of how every player spent the 90 minutes.

He thought his dream of playing for his home town club had disappeared when told as a schoolboy that he would not be taken on the playing staff.

He had joined the school of excellence as a 10-year-old and was in the same year as Kieron Dyer progressing through the years at Portman Road while playing for St Johns Youths on Sundays.

After leaving school, Bickers found himself working for the club as an analyst and playing Ridgeons League football whenever his Ipswich duties allowed.

He is a qualified coach and helps run one of the Town academy sides, and has taken part in a few charity games with the Blues.

But his big chance came when Ipswich arranged a reserve and youth team game on the same day.

“Playing-wise reserve coach Chris Kiwomya was down to the bare bones and I was drafted in as a substitute,“ said Bickers, who was given permission by his current club Woodbridge Town to face the Cobblers.

“It was a fantastic experience, to play for Ipswich Town.

“This has always been my dream.

“Just five minutes would have been enough, but I had a quarter of an hour with stoppage time.

“I thought my chance had long gone, but it shows you must never say never.”

Bickers will be back to the day job on Saturday when he will be monitoring the many cameras used in his operation for the FA Cup game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

And while Town will never forget their big day against one of the world's top sides, Bickers will never forget his 15 minutes of fame against the Cobblers second string.

The other substitute was schoolboy Josh Capocci, who did not come on, and spare a thought for Ed Upson.

The lad who scored the goal that won the FA Youth Cup for Ipswich in the 2005 final against Southampton was taken off to be replaced by the club's performance analyst!

One man's dream can be another's heartbreak.

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