Review: Ipswich Town Legends blue us all away with their honesty at Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

Memories of Ipswich Town defenders Terry Butcher, left, and Russell Osman, right, on the attack agai

Memories of Ipswich Town defenders Terry Butcher, left, and Russell Osman, right, on the attack against Manchester City at Portman Road in November 1982 - Credit: Archant

In the Premier League era, the word ‘legend’ is bandied about far too often, but it wasn’t wasted here.

Blue and white heroes. The Town team after winning the FA Cup at Wembley. Included, in a suit, is Ru

Blue and white heroes. The Town team after winning the FA Cup at Wembley. Included, in a suit, is Russell Osman, who was on standby to play if Allan Hunter had failed a fitness test on the morning of the match. - Credit: Archant

Allan Hunter, Terry Butcher and Russell Osman were true Ipswich Town legends as players and tonight they also acquired the tag for another reason - their extraordinary honesty.

Whatever topics were covered, be it Butcher and Osman’s new jobs as coaches at Newport County, the Bobby Robson days with Ipswich and England, Hunter’s ‘eggs and bacon’ partnership with ‘The Beat’ or Russell Osman’s experiences iin Budapest while filming Escape to Victory, nothing was off limits.

Butcher especially was hilarious - he really doesn’t censor himself at all! - and the result is a delightful contrast to the over-mediated soundbites too many in the game seem to favour these days.

Butcher sounds like a fan, and is loved as a fan - his thoughts on Norwich, in particular, brought rapturous applause!


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On a more serious note, it was interesting to contrast the team spirit they described, the jokes they played on Sir Bobby and the beers they enjoyed with the experience of footballers today, where tablets and social media no doubt dominate the time players spend together.

Butcher also described the tough love they were subjected to at times (with emphasis on the tough), which was character building, he said, but would not be tolerated today.

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The players’ appearance was all part of the ourburystedmunds festival of sport which runs from September 12-20. The evening was presented by able hosts Academy sales director Simon Milton and chair of the ex-players’ association, Bryan Hamilton.

Naturally, Butcher’s blood soaked appearance for England was mentioned and again it was noted that ‘it couldn’t happen now’.

Maybe Butcher, Hunter and Osman wouldn’t happen now, but no one left the Theatre Royal without wishing that they would.

Liz Nice

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