Town’s Marcus’ greatest day in football

IPSWICH TOWN: Ace marksman Marcus Stewart today looked back on the greatest day of his footballing life.

It is 10 years to the day when Town beat Barnsley 4-2 in the First Division play-off final at Wembley Stadium – and the memories are sweet for all Blues followers.

And particularly for Stewart who scored one of the goals and went on to become the darling of Ipswich fans with his scoring feats in the Premier League the following campaign.

“It was the greatest day of my footballing career,” said Stewart, who is set for one more season playing for Exeter City before taking up coaching full time and then going into management.

“To be honest much of the game is a blur and I cannot recall the build-up or going in at the interval.

“But I can clearly remember sitting on the bench after being substituted and watching Martijn Reuser score a 90th minute fourth goal to clinch the win.

“Up to then a Barnsley equaliser was on the cards.

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“The pressure came off after Martijn’s goal and the relief was unbelievable and so were all the cameras and mayhem that followed the final whistle.

“I’d played at Wembley before twice for England at schoolboy level and once on a losing Bristol Rovers play-off final side, but this was different.

“It was special and gave me all that I had always dreamt about – playing in the top flight of English football.”

The 37-year-old netted two goals in the away semi-final 2-2 draw at Bolton before Jim Magilton netted a hat-trick in a dramatic home leg victory that took George Burley’s Town to Wembley to face Dave Bassett’s Barnsley.

Stewart scored 19 goals in 34 league appearances in the top flight in 2000/01, and moved on to Sunderland for over �3million in August 2002 having made 93 Town appearances and scoring 37 goals.

He went on to play in a losing play-off Wembley final for Yeovil, and was last back in Ipswich for Richard Naylor’s testimonial game last July.

But Stewart is now based in the south west and has lost most of his ties with the Blues.

He sees himself becoming a manager after playing one more year for League One Exeter, adding: “I am coaching as well as playing now and in the not too distant future I see myself as a manager.

“And I feel I can be a success at that.

“But as for my greatest day in football – it has to be Wembley Stadium 10 years ago today.”

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