Hat-trick hero Ted to miss big match

IPSWICH legend Ted Phillips won't be at Layer Road tonight and will instead put his feet up to enjoy the action from the comfort of his armchair.A successful career that took in spells with both Town and Colchester has taken its toll on the 73-year-old former goal machine, to the extent that since a double knee replacement he can no longer squeeze into the modern-day seats.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH legend Ted Phillips won't be at Layer Road tonight and will instead put his feet up to enjoy the action from the comfort of his armchair.

A successful career that took in spells with both Town and Colchester has taken its toll on the 73-year-old former goal machine, to the extent that since a double knee replacement he can no longer squeeze into the modern-day seats.

It is a dilemma that has also stopped him attending games at Portman Road, where he scored a hat-trick against the U's the last time they were there on league business in October 1956.

He said: “I haven't been back in four or five years. I used to love going to the games but I just can't manage it now.

“There's a free ticket for me at Ipswich but there is no way I can bend my legs enough to get into the seats, so I don't have any alternative but to stay away.

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“I still go along every year to the reunion dinners at Ipswich to catch up with a lot of old pals but I accepted some time ago that I wouldn't be going to any more games there.

“I would love to go to the game on Friday but it's just not possible, so I shall be watching on Sky.”

Leiston-born Ted is one of more than 30 players to have represented both clubs and he remembers his last Ipswich-Colchester game for all the wrong reasons.

He recalls: “They haven't met in a league game since the one at Layer Road in February 1957 and I only lasted about ten minutes that day.

“Benny Fenton not only stood on my knee, he also twisted his studs into it and I had to go off. I'm talking about real studs - the players didn't wear the carpet slippers they wear today.

“A lot of the other lads told me it was no accident and that Benny had set out to do me. They felt he had it in for me since I'd scored a hat-trick in the game at Ipswich a few months earlier.”

Ted, who has been based in Colchester ever since signing for them in 1965, recovered to score five goals in Town's next two games and no player contributed more as the club were crowned Third Division (South) champions for the second time in four seasons.

His hat-trick in the 3-1 home defeat of Colchester was particularly significant as Town finished just one point ahead of the U's in the final table.

Ted was the star of the show, netting an amazing 41 goals in 41 league games, with a further five in three FA Cup ties for good measure.

Not only was he out on his own as Ipswich's leading marksman, he was also the top scorer in the entire Football League and equalled the post-war record, held by Sheffield Wednesday centre-forward Derek Dooley, for goals scored in a season.

His Portman Road strike partner, Ray Crawford, also went on to play for Colchester and scored in one of the most famous FA Cup upsets of all time, when Leeds were humbled at Layer Road in 1971.

They were a deadly double act, claiming an incredible 409 goals between them, and remain the best of friends.

While Ted banged in 181 in 295 games, Crawford reaped a rich harvest of 228 in 354 appearances for the Blues.

Ted laughs: “I used to say that a number of Ray's goals were rebounds off my shots that the keepers couldn't hold, but he used to deny it.

“Then last year at the ex-players' reunion dinner, when he brought his new wife along, he finally admitted it. He actually said half of his goals were down to me.”

Ted's tally included eight hat-tricks, the first of them seeing off Colchester almost 50 years ago, and he is still the only Ipswich player to have scored three in a game against their Essex neighbours.

Another, against Shrewsbury at home, took just ten first-half minutes to complete, and he also claimed others on his debuts for both Leyton Orient and Colchester, where he netted with three headers.

But his Layer Road spell, which only spanned the 1965-66 season, turned sour when manager Neil Franklin refused him permission to line up for Suffolk against Kent in cricket's Gillette Cup.

A former fast bowler, Ted says: “I really wanted to play in the game. It was taking place at Ipswich School and Kent had players like Alan Knott and Colin Cowdrey at the time.

“Franklin wasn't having it and we had a row over it. I told him what I thought of him and ended up playing for the reserves.

“Ever since then people have said that if I'd been in the team my goals would have won Colchester the Fourth Division title that year.

“I lost out in a big way because if that had happened I would have been the only player to have won Fourth, Third, Second and First Division winner's medals.”

Ted still managed to find the net 13 times in his 32 league outings for Colchester, to add to eight in 12 for Luton and 17 in 36 for Orient.

He scored a lot of headers but his trademark finish was to ripple the net from distance. “It didn't matter how the ball came to me,” he says. “I would whack it with either foot.

“It was a proper ball in those days, too. Not like the ones they use today - they're more like beach balls than footballs.”

Like a lot of former professionals, the current fare does little to excite him and he recalls bumping into his own favourite player, Jimmy Greaves, just last month.

He says: “I went along to the Essex cricket festival at Castle Park last month and who should I bump into but Jimmy. His son was running the souvenir shop.

“I asked him if he still went to see his old club Tottenham and he said 'What, to watch that rubbish, with players diving about?' He definitely isn't impressed.”

Ted, who has two brothers who also live in Colchester, is tipping tonight's game to end all square.

He adds: “I don't see there being a lot of goals. In fact, it might well be a 0-0 draw - just like the last time.”

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