Fab's sure to enjoy bumper testimonial

FANS' favourite Fabian Wilnis is certain to enjoy a bumper testimonial after Ipswich Town granted permission for the 37-year-old Dutch defender to organise his big day at Portman Road.

Elvin King

FANS' favourite Fabian Wilnis is certain to enjoy a bumper testimonial after Ipswich Town granted permission for the 37-year-old Dutch defender to organise his big day at Portman Road.

And supporters should not write off the player who has served the Blues so well since signing from De Graafschap in January 1999 making a total of 325 appearances.

Wilnis is taking UEFA coaching courses later this summer and could well still figure at the club in a coaching capacity at Town's famed academy.

He is to have talks with Ipswich manager Jim Magilton to decide his future, although he has not ruled out continuing his playing career lower down the leagues.

Wilnis' big game - probably against top Dutch opposition - will not be played pre-season, and could well be pencilled in for a blank international week during the season or at the end of the 2008/09 campaign.

Most Read

Wilnis' young family has been brought up in Ipswich and he said: “My priority is to stay in Ipswich now that my playing career is coming to an end.

“I had planned to move into other fields, but having helped coach at the academy I am now keen on staying in the game.”

Wilnis, who made 14 appearances last season, will be remembered as one of the heroes of Town's fifth place Premiership season in 2000-01 when they stunned the football world.

He has had his downs as well as well as ups and the following campaign was in the reserve side that won the Premiership Reserve League. He has always shown character to fight and win back his place.

“Fabian has been a fantastic servant to this football club and has to be one of the best signings Ipswich has made,” said Magilton.

“Not only has he been a team-mate and player of mine, he's been a friend as well and has been a tremendous ambassador for the club. He fully deserves his testimonial and I'm sure it will be a success.”

There are reports that Wilnis could be replaced on the Ipswich books by another Dutch defender with 21-year-old Heerenveen centre back Pim Balkestein linked with the Blues.

But if it does happen it would be a move for the future with the youngster making just one first team appearance in the top Dutch league last season.

N (SQUARE) OWEN Garvan, the Ipswich Town midfielder, will have to wait and see if he wins his first Republic or Ireland full cap tonight.

Like his Blues team mate Alex Bruce he has not been named in the starting line-up for the friendly against Colombia at Craven Cottage, Fulham.

Irish starting XI: Kiely; O'Shea, Dunne, McShane, Delaney; Duff, Miller, Whelan, McGeady; Doyle, Keane.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter