Beattie, Mills, Wark, Crawford - This all-time Town XI would be a match for any team in history
- Credit: Archant
Terry Hunt, the former editor of the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star, and an Ipswich fan for more than 50 years, picks his all-time Town XI. Agree with this?
Name your all-time best Ipswich Town team was the challenge - and it gave me hours of fun, and loads of dilemmas! It would have been easy to pick all 11 players from Bobby Robson’s unforgettable era, but that would have been rather predictable.
So I’ve gone for the odd wild card to create some discussion points.
Town have had so many great players over the years, so I apologise to some huge names who don’t appear - either in the starting line-up or on the bench. Here’s my greatest Town team...
?Paul Cooper (goalkeeper)
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After an unheralded arrival from Birmingham, Cooper displaced Laurie Sivell and became a stalwart of Robson’s great teams of the 1970s and early 1980s.
Not the tallest, but he was supremely agile and, of course, built a reputation as a fantastic saver of penalties.
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Mick Mills (right back and captain)
Town’s skipper supreme, Mills was club captain for more than a decade. Our record appearance-maker led Town to their FA Cup and UEFA Cup triumphs, and also skippered England in the 1982 World Cup Finals.
Mills was a massive influence on the pitch. Performed equally well in both full-back positions.
Allan Hunter (centre-half)
An iconic figure in Town’s history, Hunter’s signing was a hugely important moment. The Irishman formed an extraordinarily powerful partnership with the great Kevin Beattie, culminating in the 1978 FA Cup victory.
In the mid-1970s, Hunter was the best centre-half in Britain.
Kevin Beattie (centre-half)
The Beat would be in every Town fan’s all-time greatest team. Without a doubt Beattie was Ipswich’s greatest player. Pace, power, courage, incredible strength in the air - Beattie was the complete package.
He should have won 100 England caps, but knee injuries curtailed his career. RIP Beat.
Terry Butcher (left-back)
A bit of an odd choice, I accept, but I wanted Butcher in the side for his motivational personality, and couldn’t split the Hunter-Beattie combination, so Butcher has to slot in at left-back.
He did play some games there for Town. he was an immensely powerful influence for a Ipswich and England. Useful from set-pieces, too!
John Wark (midfield)
Ah, the incomparable Warky. Can anyone explain how he scored that absolute mountain of goals? He just turned up in the right place at the right time to score all kinds of goals - 36 of them in 1980-81.
Started and finished his marathon career at centre-half. I’ll never forget the images of him hitting the same post twice in the FA Cup Final. Handy from the spot, too!
Frans Thijssen (midfield)
Half of the glorious Dutch pairing who Robson brought to Portman Road. Thijssen was extraordinary when running with the ball. It literally seemed to be attached to his feet.
He played such a big part in the glorious 1980-81 season, including scoring in the final against, ironically enough, Dutch side AZ Alkmaar.
Arnold Muhren (midfield)
When Muhren arrived at Ipswich in 1978, he spent his debut getting a crick in his neck as the ball kept sailing over his head. Town soon adapted to his skills, though. I’ve never seen such a sublime passer of the ball.
Muhren was still in the Dutch team at 37 to supply the cross for Marco van Basten’s iconic volley in the 1988 European Championship final.
Giovani dos Santos (midfield)
Here’s my wild card. I know, I know...he only played eight games on loan in 2009, and he’s taking the place of much bigger Town names like Colin Viljoen, or Brian Talbot.
But, boy, was he superb. Just remind yourself of the first-time pass which played Alan Quinn in to score against Norwich in Magilton’s last game. He was some player, as his later career proved, including winning an Olympic gold medal in 2012.
Paul Mariner (striker)
Thank goodness we won a three-way tug of war with West Ham and WBA to sign Mariner from Plymouth. He really was the complete modern-day centre-forward - mobile, skilful, good in the air, with a clinical finish.
35 caps for England, including the 1982 World Cup Finals, tell you just how good he was.
Ray Crawford (striker)
I can’t leave out Town’s all-time top scorer. Crawford and his striking partner Ted Phillips terrorised defences as Ipswich amazed the footballing world by winning the First Division Championship at the first attempt under Alf Ramsey in 1962.
How did he win only two England caps?
Subs: I’ve given myself the luxury of seven substitutes, as per the modern game. Here they are...
Richard Wright (goalkeeper): Superb with Town first-time round. George Burley (full-back): I feel so guilty leaving him out of the starting line-up! Colin Viljoen (midfield): Such a classy operator, deserved his England caps. Jim Magilton (midfield): A huge character to have in any squad. Ted Phillips (striker): Hardest shot in football. Certain to come on for penalty shoot-outs! Alan Brazil: The best one-in-one finisher I’ve ever seen. Clive Woods (left-wing): Mercurial, old-fashioned dribbler. FA Cup final Man of the Match.