Town’s best ever players, numbers 60 to 51 – Doug Rees to Steve McCall
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
TERRY HUNT continues his countdown of Ipswich’s greatest-ever players, starting with Doug Rees at number 60.
60: Doug Rees
Doug “Dai’’ Rees spent a decade at Portman Road, playing nearly 400 games for Ipswich. He was captain of the team which, under the management of Alf Ramsey, won promotion from Third Division South in 1957 – the last time Ipswich Town played in the third tier of English football.
59: Ken Hancock
Bill McGarry bought goalkeeper Hancock from Port Vale in 1964, as part of his rebuilding process after Ramsey’s great team broke up. Hancock went on to play a big part in the promotion-winning team of 1968, and was still in goal for the first half of the following season, before being replaced by David Best. Went on to become Pat Jennings’ deputy at Spurs.
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58: David Johnson
Johnson, bought from Bury, had a phenomenal goalscoring record for Town – 62 goals in 158 appearances. He was a key part of George Burley’s promotion-winning team of 2000, but he played virtually no part in the play-off final, coming off injured early in the game. He couldn’t find the net in the top-flight, and lost his place to the prolific Marcus Stewart.
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57: Mark Venus
Venus arrived at Portman Road as part of the deal which saw Steve Sedgley go to Wolves. There’s no doubting that Town got the better of that! Venus was superb at Portman Road, forming defensive partnerships with John McGreal and Tony Mowbray, and weighing in with more than his fair share of bullet-like strikes from free-kicks. Part of the play-off winning line-up.
56: Billy Reed
Right-winger Billy Reed has a place in Ipswich Town history as the first player at the club to win an international cap. Reed was capped twice by Wales in the 1950s. He spent five seasons at Ipswich, under the management of Scott Duncan and then Alf Ramsey. Was a key man in the promotion side of 1957.
55: Alex Mathie
Mention Alex Mathie’s name, and every Ipswich supporter will smile. That’s because the Scottish striker wrote his name large in Ipswich Town folklore with a first-half hat-trick against Norwich at Portman Road in 1998. Town won the match 5-0, and Mathie could do no wrong from that moment on. Now summarises on BBC Radio Suffolk.
54: Dalian Atkinson
Sadly, Dalian’s name has been in the headlines for sad reasons recently – he died after being tasered by police. With Town, he was fast, direct, exciting, and possessed an absolute rocket of a shot. After he left Portman Road, he enjoyed some success with Villa, but his career seemed to drift after that.
53: Aaron Cresswell
A bargain buy from Tranmere in the summer of 2011, left-back Cresswell enjoyed three terrific years at Portman Road. Three years later, he was off to Premier League West Ham for a fee in the region of £3.75m. “Cressy’’ recently made his debut for England, and looks set to be a regular part of the international set-up.
52: Pablo Counago
Ole, ole, ole, ole, Pablo, Pablo! Oh, how we loved the mercurial Spanish striker. When Pablo was on song, he was superb. His hold-up play, his skill, his ability to conjure up amazing goals – remember the back-heel at Crystal Palace? In his two spells with Town, Pablo created so many magic moments.
51: Steve McCall
McCall first sprang to prominence in the legendary 1980-81 season, as a stand-in for George Burley, who had suffered a serious knee injury. The left-back or left-sided midfielder stayed at Portman Road until 1987, before a series of moves which saw his playing career last until he was 40. Now part of the ex-Town contingent at Colchester United.