‘Not many of the old ‘crash, bang, wallop’, centre forwards wanted to get too involved with him!’
- Credit: Archant
DAVE ASHFORD has been following Ipswich Town for 73 years. He knows who he considers one of the club’s best-ever signings – we welcome your posts
I agree with Mike Bacon’s piece in the EADT and Ipswich Star recently on Frans Thijssen and Arnold Muhren, wonderful footballers.
Although I spent my schooldays in London, I was in Ipswich during the War years, with my mother, staying with my Dad’s parents in Prospect Road.
After the War I spent all my six weeks summer holiday, and any other time I could, in Ipswich with my grandparents.
Thus, I first went to Portman Road in 1947 and have followed Town ever since and have seen many players during those 73 years.
I have many autographs collected during daily visits to the ITFC training sessions in the 1950s and a few stories to tell, including collecting the training kit basket from Alderman Road laundry one morning, so that training could commence!
I agree that Kevin Beattie was the best Town player, but I sincerely believe the player who made all the difference to ITFC when he signed in 1971 from Blackburn Rovers was Allan Hunter, who spent 11 years here, and who assisted some younger centre halves to master their trade.
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Along with Mick Mills, he was a leader and not many of the old ‘crash, bang, wallop’ centre forwards wanted to get too involved with him!
He protected the goalkeepers (who were not that tall then) with his aerial power. And he earned 53 caps for Northern Ireland. Later, when Ron Gray joined the Club, and due to our friendship he introduced me to Sir Bobby Robson, and I formed an excellent relationship with him which benefited Felixstowe Town, when I was then manager, and occasionally ITFC who brought their youth team down regularly and utilised our Dellwood Avenue facilities when the pitches were not usable for training, due to weather conditions, at Portman Road.
Sir Bobby also was of great assistance when I was Chairman at Felixstowe when we were attempting to obtain floodlights.
I still have correspondence he sent to The Planning Inspector, who eventually granted permission after six years of my time spent on the mission.
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