It's farewell to Cap'n Jim tomorrow

FAREWELL Cap'n Jim. Blues fans will tomorrow say goodbye to skipper Jim Magilton when he plays his last game as an Ipswich Town player at Portman Road.

By Derek Davis

FAREWELL Cap'n Jim. Blues fans will tomorrow say goodbye to skipper Jim Magilton when he plays his last game as an Ipswich Town player at Portman Road.

After more than 300 matches for the Blues, Magilton bows out in readiness for a move back to the north-west with his family.

While a number of clubs have shown an interest in the former Northern Ireland captain, who won 52 caps for his country, Magilton is seeking a player-coach role.

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Oldham Athletic have made no secret of their desire to take him to work alongside Ronnie Moore, while Macclesfield, with former Oxford boss Brian Horton in charge, are a strong candidate for Magilton's signature.

Even though the Magilton family will be based in the north-west, that doesn't mean he won't play elsewhere.

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Magilton said: “Have boots will travel - that's me.

“Nothing has been sorted. I'm going away to enjoy the summer and be with my family.

“We have a move to make and, as much as we love it here in Ipswich, we are looking long-term so we are moving north.

“I feel okay to carry on playing after speaking to so many ex-players and managers and they have all encouraged me to carry on playing.”

Although he intends to carry on playing, Magilton ruled out any possibility of him staying at Portman Road for even one more year and is ready to pass the baton on to another Irishman, Owen Garvan.

The Ulsterman, who will be 37 in early May, said: “It is the right time to leave Ipswich because I don't want to stand in the way of progress. I don't want to stand in the way of the Owen Garvans of this world. Had I stayed, it may have stunted his progress and I want him to go on and be the best player he can be.

“I felt the same at Northern Ireland, with a lot of young players coming through. I feel the same way now and want them to be the best they can.

“Owen can go on to be anything he wants to be. He has the determination and ability to be a top, top player. People will make comparisons but that is not fair on Owen, or me. He has more natural attributes than me and, at 18, he is already dictating games and that is not easy in a tough division like this.

“He is running out of steam right now but that is inevitable because people are man-marking him, so he needs to combat that and come back a better player.”

More than 20,000 Blues' fans are expected to say their farewells to Magilton against Derby tomorrow and, while it promises to be emotional, Magilton is pragmatic about the parting of the ways.

He said: “I thought I would feel worse than I do but there is a certain inevitability about the whole thing.

“To be honest I'm looking forward to a new start. I feel in a similar way as I did when I left Liverpool. I knew then it was a fresh start and the education I got at Anfield would help me in my new beginning.

“It is the same here. I have had a marvellous seven years here and loved every second.”

Magilton will be replaced as skipper by Canadian centre-half Jason De Vos next season.

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