Old favourite now helping Academy
Academy Profile:Trevor WhymarkIpswich Town legend Trevor Whymark has seen tremendous changes in his time in football. The striker became one of the most feared in Europe when Town became one of the most successful teams in English football under Bobby Robson.
Ipswich Town legend Trevor Whymark has seen tremendous changes in his time in football. The striker became one of the most feared in Europe when Town became one of the most successful teams in English football under Bobby Robson.
Whymark was spotted playing for Norfolk schools against Suffolk and invited along to trial for the youth team.
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And Portman Road wasn't the easiest place to get to when you lived at Burston, three miles from Diss.
“I was spotted by the chief scout Reg Tyrrell, who ran the Suffolk team. He brought a lot of good players to the club like Clive Woods and Laurie Sivell.”
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There was no formal coaching scheme for boys within the community at that time.
Instead they were invited along to play for the youth team and assessed in those games and the lucky ones progressed.
“I played for Norfolk schools and Diss Town U16s.
“I used to get up early on Saturdays and hitch down in the morning, play for the youth team, and hitch back to play for Diss Town in the afternoon.
“I took the train when they gave me expenses.
“I was a right winger then but Reg Tyrrell decided I should try as a striker. I was one of many who came through the youth team, all the way to the pro ranks.
“And I think it is happening now. The amount of boys coming through the academy now is tremendous. Kieron Dyer, Titus Bramble, Darren Bent and Darren Ambrose are the example and now half-a-dozen more are knocking on the first-team door.
“Joe Royle knows the potential of these boys and knows they need senior players around them to nurture them. I was playing in the reserves when I would have been 20 in the May, and made by debut in the February. You were lucky to make your debut before the age of 21 then.
“Under Bobby Robson there was always a nucleus of lads who had played together in the reserves and youth-team ranks. We had Clive Woods, Laurie Sivell, Geoff Hammond, Mick Lambert, Roger Osborne and Brian Talbot.
“And the next group that came through had George Burley, Kevin Beattie, Eric Gates and John Wark.
“And having been together over three or four years players had confidence in the other people they played with; they knew their strength and abilities. It was good for team spirit.
“Hopefully it is going to come full circle with the likes of Darren Bent, Dean Bowditch and Matty Richards and other players forming the nucleus of the side.”
Although Whymark played for both East Anglian rivals, Ipswich and Norwich, and for Vancouver Whitecaps in Canada, as a boy his favourite team was Spurs!
“They had great players like Danny Blanchflower, John White and Jimmy Greaves.
“I have been lucky to meet up with two of my heroes from then, Cliff Jones and Terry Medwin. Terry is now an FA assessor.”
There were tremendous times playing for a club at the top of the English First Division, in front of packed crowds, and in Europe too.
One of Whymark's abiding memories is playing Real Madrid in the UEFA Cup. “We were drawn against them and only managed to win 1-0 at Portman Road. No-one gave us a chance in the away leg at the Bernabau but we managed to draw 0-0 with a tremendous defensive performance.
“They were the European kings and they came at us in wave after wave. David Best made some terrific saves in goal and we came more into it in the second half.
“The skill and ability level of the game now is similar but the difference is the pace they play at. It is so much quicker. It makes some of the tackles look worse because they are done at such high speed. It frightens me.
“I can't imagine a Tommy Smith or Chopper Harris surviving in today's game, now the tackle from behind has been banned. They gave you a hard time.”
Whymark, was a target man, and was tall and rangy rather than a traditional bulky English centre-forward. That meant playing with his back to the opposition goal and taking a lot of punishment from defenders, not all of it legal.
This is Whymark's third season back at the club, coaching the Under-12 squad and it is a job he relishes.
“We had a good season last year. Particularly in the early part of the season and then later on we pushed several players on.
“These lads are so hungry for information and skills and just want more. I don't think they realise the game can bring tremendous riches (though their parents do).
“They are dedicated to the game and can't get enough of it.
“The other day I decided we would finish our sesion at 11.30 am, because it was so hot, and they moaned. They couldn't understand it.
“As a coach the aim is to keep it interesting for them so, even if they are doing something similar to the previous week, they don't realise it.”
His route back to Ipswich has been a roundabout one.
“About five years ago Laurie Sivell mentioned that Sammy Morgan at Norwich was looking for experienced players who were coaches and I went there for about three years.
“But I found it difficult giving the commitment with a full-time job as well.
“I came down to Ipswich a couple of years ago, for the EADT top 100 players reception, and I was chatting with Ken Goody who asked me what I was doing and it started from there.
“We train on Saturdays and play games on Sundays. I work four days a week as a driver and have a day off midweek which fits in well.”