Ray Crawford at 80 – big interview with Ipswich Town’s greatest-ever goalscorer

Some people are on the pitch, they think it's all over... It was just a few minutes later. Ray Crawf

Some people are on the pitch, they think it's all over... It was just a few minutes later. Ray Crawford is mobbed after scoring both goals to beat Aston Villa in the final game of the 1961/62 season. Shortly afterwards, it was confirmed that Ipswich Town were the champions of England. Photo: Dave Kindred. - Credit: Archant

Ray Crawford, Ipswich Town’s leading all-time goalscorer, turned 80 this week and he has spoken to the EADT about the glory days, modern football and the secret to his rude health.

The son of a heavyweight boxer, Crawford served time in the army defending plantations in the jungles of Malaya. “Nothing in football was daunting after that,” he explains.

He only left his beloved hometown club of Portsmouth in 1958 because manager Freddie Cox bluntly told him he’d never play for the club again. Sir Alf Ramsey, whose overtures were initially rejected, finally landed his man and the rest, as they say, is history.

Crawford scored 40 goals when the Blues won the Second Division in 1961 and 33 goals the very next season as the relegation-tipped outfit claimed a fairytale top-flight title.

Controversially, in the days when the England squad was selected by club directors, he was capped only twice.

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Altogether in his two spells at Portman Road, he netted 262 times in 387 appearances. His name will forever be etched in the club’s history books.

This is a man who earned £30-a-week at the peak of his powers and who rode the bus to matches along with fans. When he eventually hung up his boots – after a starring veteran’s role in Colchester United’s famous FA Cup giant-killing of Leeds United in 1971 – he continued working as a merchandising representative before enjoying a well-earned retirement at the age of 70.

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“Football excited me and it still excites me now seeing wingers take people on and strikers scoring great goals,” said Crawford.

Click on the link for full interview.

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