Ranking Ipswich Town's top five wingers of the last 40 years
- Credit: Archant
Looking back over the last 40 years, it becomes apparent that Ipswich Town have had a dearth rather than a wealth of quality wingers.
For most sections in this Series to date, I have found it extremely difficult to slim down a big pool of candidates to just five names, when compiling a top five goalkeepers, right-backs, left-backs or central defenders.
And I will encounter the same headaches, I am sure, when trying to whittle down numbers to just five with regards researching the likes of defensive midfielders, creative midfielders and strikers in the future.
But with regards wingers, I have struggled a little, chiefly because some of Town's best out-and-out wide-men were displaying their skills before the cut-off mark of 1980.
Another dilemma has been deciding what constitutes a 'winger' for this section. Some front-runners played occasionally on the wing, as did some attacking midfielders and wing-backs, which is what I have tried to reflect in this list.
The best Town winger I witnessed was Clive Woods, a dazzling performer of the 1970s. Woods was a magician down the flank, rattling up 338 appearances during the course of 11 years from 1969, and starring in the FA Cup Final victory over Arsenal.
But Woods just misses out on this top five, because he left during the early months of 1980 to sign for rivals Norwich City, his home-town club, to end his professional career.
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Likewise, another Town stalwart who would have made this top-five, but for the constraints of the last 40 years tag, was Mick Lambert.
Winger Lambert made 263 appearances for Town between 1968 and 1979, and came on as a substitute against the Gunners in the Wembley final of 1978.
Not surprisingly, both Woods and Lambert are members of Town's Hall of Fame.
But enough of the those flying wingers who don't quite qualify here, for no fault of their own other than being of a slightly different era.
Instead, here's my top five wide-men of the last 40 seasons, a good blend, a nice mixture, or a strange hotchpotch if you prefer.
1) KEVIN O'CALLAGHAN
The most natural and old-fashioned of wingers on this list, O'Callaghan arrived at Portman Road for a big fee of £250,000 from Millwall in 1980 and proceeded to blossom under Sir Bobby Robson.
The Irishman went on to play 115 league games for Town, and also made five substitute appearances during Town's UEFA Cup winning run of 1980-81.
Hugging the left touchline, and delivering a fine cross, O'Callaghan was also rewarded with 21 caps for Republic of Ireland.
2) BOBBY PETTA
This flying Dutchman features highly on the back of a terrific 1997-98 season, during which he thrilled Town supporters with his swift runs and trickery down the flank.
The ex-Feyenoord wide-man scored six goals in 42 outings that season, including a memorable brace in a 5-0 win over arch rivals Norwich in February, 1998.
But like many wingers, he blew hot-and-cold, and was often unpredictable. He signed for Celtic in the summer of 1999.
3) CARLOS EDWARDS
Although he played many of his 191 Town games as a right-back, the superb Edwards was also renowned as a right winger. And he deserves to get in one of these top-fives!
Arriving from Sunderland in September, 2009, Edwards operated as a winger under manager Roy Keane during the early days, and went on to score some wonderful goals.
The most memorable for me was a fantastic strike in a 1-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday in February, 2010, the ball zooming past keeper Lee Grant into the top corner. It was a great way to celebrate his return to Keane's starting line-up, and helped Town to escape the Championship relegation zone in the process.
4) JAMIE CLAPHAM
This is a second appearance in these lists for Clapham. I had no hesitation in selecting him in the left-back quintet, but he also enjoyed success in a more attacking role.
Ex-Tottenham man Clapham created many a goal in a more advanced role down the left flank, during his 200-plus games for Town between 1998 and 2003, often forming a good relationship with Hermann Hreidarsson on this side of the pitch.
5) MARTIJN REUSER
Not a natural wide-man, but Reuser could play anywhere along the midfield, or up top. The Dutchman was an entertainer who scored a cracker in the play-off final victory over Barnsley in 2000.
But to be honest, I could so easily have opted for several other versatile players, who could operate on the wing, like the dependable Jonathan Walters, who also played on the flank as well as top, or the injury-plagued Dean Bowditch.
More natural wingers like Gus Uhlenbeek and Stuart Slater were also considered, but just missed out.