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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Ex-Town starlet in cancer battle

PUBLISHED: 20:00 28 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:03 03 March 2010

FORMER Ipswich Town player Jimmy King is fighting cancer.

King, 40, has been diagnosed as suffering from Hodgkin's lymphoma and this week embarked on a course of treatment that is likely to last a year.

FORMER Ipswich Town player Jimmy King is fighting cancer.

King, 40, has been diagnosed as suffering from Hodgkin's lymphoma and this week embarked on a course of treatment that is likely to last a year.

The disease attacks the body's immune system, but doctors have told him he has a good chance of making a full recovery.

Unable to work because the chemotherapy saps his energy, King has instead embarked on a fundraising crusade on behalf of Cancer Research.

He said: "Don't try to make out I'm brave or anything like that. The fact is I've had nothing but positives from the doctors, which explains the way I am.

"Believe me, if they had said they could only keep me alive for a year or two I very much doubt if I would be thinking this way.

"The doctors can offer no guarantees, but from what they have said I am prepared to take my chance.

"I've only had one chemotherapy session so far and they say it will go on for about six months. Then I will receive radiation treatment.

"Obviously, I'll do whatever they say. Anything to make me better. So what if my hair falls out!"

A former Scotland schoolboy star, he arrived at Portman Road in January 1979 and left in 1984 without making a first team appearance.

He continued to live in the town and played non-league football for a host of clubs, most notably Wivenhoe and St Albans.

King and his family – wife Karen and sons Christopher, 17, and nine-year-old Mark – returned north of the border to his home town, Sanquhar, two years ago.

Ipswich had to fight off competition from a number of top clubs to obtain his signature when he left school at Christmas 1978.

Then manager Bobby Robson rated King so highly that he described him as the most promising youngster he had ever seen.

Given Ipswich's reputation for producing top talent during Robson's 13 years at the helm, that was a massive compliment.

In his official testimonial programme – Ipswich played an England X1 in November 1979 – Robson raved about the little-known teenager.

He said his two favourite signings had been Paul Mariner, who shot to international stardom soon after being bought from Plymouth in 1976, and King, about whom, he added, Town fans would hear a lot more.

But King did not make the progress expected of him – Robson's departure to manage England was a contributory factor – and was released in 1984.

Now King wants his former boss, who famously beat cancer himself a few years ago, to help his fundraising efforts.

He said: "I will be contacting Sir Bobby to get the ball rolling. Ideally, I would like to obtain signed shirts from the big clubs and to auction them through the Cancer Research website.

"I also want to organise fundraising events in my area. My cousin is fighting breast cancer, which is very aggressive and we both want to do what we can."

Former Portman Road youth team colleague Mark Lomas was shocked to hear the news of King's illness.

Lomas said: "It's terrible news and my thoughts are with Jimmy.

"He was a very quiet and shy lad but a truly fabulous player. Everybody liked him and he was extremely skillful.

"Staff at the club also thought highly of him. He was tipped for better things and was probably very unlucky not to make the grade and go on further."

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