Naylor deserves his big day, says Wilnis

WITH the Blues victory over Queens Park Rangers still fresh in the mind the upbeat players will take time out from their Championship preparations to pay tribute to one of the most popular players - Richard Naylor.

By Derek Davis

WITH the Blues victory over Queens Park Rangers still fresh in the mind the upbeat players will take time out from their Championship preparations to pay tribute to one of the most popular players - Richard Naylor.

Fabian Wilnis is Naylor's longest remaining team-mate and has known the Leeds-born Town star for nearly eight years after signing from De Graafshap in December 1998. He believes the testimonial match against a Wembley 2000 XI on Saturday is well deserved.Wilnis said: “We have known each for a long time now and Bam Bam is a terrific guy.

“In the early part of his career he overcame big problems with his knees and at one stage it looked as if he may not play professional football any more and would not have a career in the game.


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“He worked extremely hard to get where he is today and thoroughly deserves this testimonial match.”

Naylor has been at Portman Road for 15 years since signing as a 14-year-old schoolboy

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“On the pitch he is a loud player who gets stuck in and you can understand why he got the nickname Bam Bam and why the fans call him Psycho. But off the pitch he is a quiet family man.

“He is not one of those that always wants to go out. For him family is the most important thing.

“He is very laid back and has a calm personality so totally opposite to the Pyscho tag the fans give him.”

Naylor and Wilnis have lived through some big highs and very deep lows, with the win over Barnsley a big moment for both, especially Naylor who scored a goal. The duo are now on their third manager.

Wilnis believes there are few better than Naylor to share the good times - and more importantly to be shoulder to shoulder with in the tough times.

He said: “Richard is unrecognisable to the player on the pitch. He is a genuine nice guy but the moment he crosses the white line he is a different person, but again not in a nasty way.

“At the same time you would not want to get into a fight with him, he is certainly one I'm glad is on my side because he is a very fit, strong person.

“Even in training he is very determined with a positive attitude who wants to win.”

n Richard Naylor will also be in Planet Blue in the Buttermarket, Ipswich, to sign autographs for fans between 3.30pm and 4.30pm on Thursday.

Tickets are now on sale for Richard Naylor's Testimonial, which takes place on Saturday (kick-off 1.30pm).

The match, which is also supporting East Anglia's Children's Hospices, will see the return of a number of fans' favourites as the current Ipswich Town squad take on the Wembley winning side from 2000.

Tickets are priced at £15 for adults, £5 concessions and £3 juniors. Tickets can be purchased from the ticket office by calling 0870 111 0 555 and are also available from Planet Blue stores.

To round off the day in style Richard Naylor will be hosting “The Decade Dinner Dance”.

Tickets are still available for the black tie event which will include live music, a four-course meal and disco. It will be held at the Elizabeth Hotel Copdock on September 2.

For further details please contact Wolfe Powell on 07711 512876 or e-mail wolfe.powell@itfc.co.uk.

The Blues have been linked with Coventry City's Dele Adebole and are still hoping to conclude a deal with Fulham midfielder Sylvain Legwinski after he impressed in a trial match.

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