My favourite Ipswich Town XI: Rich Woodward
- Credit: Archant
In a continuation of this popular feature, MIKE BACON talks to big Town fan and Blue Monday podcaster, RICH WOODWARD, about his favourite Ipswich Town XI.
Goalkeeper: CRAIG FORREST
My first-ever Ipswich Town autograph and I think the nicest footballer I've ever met.
The Canadian man-mountain. Probably has bad memories of that defence that was ageing a bit in 1993/94 and 1994/95 seasons and definitely couldn't have done much about that 0-9 defeat at Old Trafford. But the last line of defence for so many seasons. He once did a presentation at my primary school and signed my scrap of paper. I said 'thank you' and he replied very politely back.
Right-back: MAURICIO TARICCO
Could play either side and a real fans' favourite.
The reason he's in my team is that my favourite XI is tinged with a bit of sadness, as you always have with your football club. And I remember the entirety of Ipswich, even the county of Suffolk, being in total depression when Taricco was sold to Spurs. I was at school, reading the paper, it was like a lament! You felt he was the player who could have been the catalyst to get us back in the Premier League, but he'd gone!
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Centre-half: JASON DE VOS
It was a shame we got him as his career was tailing off a bit.
Two players I really feel sorry for captaining Ipswich and never getting the credit they deserve, are Luke Chambers and Jason De Vos. Their times with us came at a real low ebb. What a great leader De Vos was. Like John McGreal, knew where to be and could pop up with a header from a free-kick or corner.
Centre-half: JOHN McGREAL
A very underrated footballer.
The memories I have of him are many. He came into the Town team in the 1999/00 season but then blossomed in the Premier League. His great goal at Everton, his face when he scored was brilliant. You got intensity with McGreal, but also calmness and he could read the game so very well. He was never the quickest, but he knew where to be.
Left back: AARON CRESSWELL
I'm a big fan of good set-pieces and dangerous balls into the box.
And Aaron could supply those balls in abundance. Could score a few as well. Not a huge amount was known about him when he signed for us, but he has gone on to have an illustrious career. Part of being an Ipswich fan is perhaps not being the final destination for players. I think what Cresswell has done for West Ham and England, fills me with pride that he achieved so much with us first.
Midfield: MICK STOCKWELL
I had to put him in my team. Mick could play in any position.
My memories of him scoring against Wimbledon where he became George Weah briefly, always remain! Would run his socks off the entire game. Another of my memories was near the end of his long career at Town, when he scored a lovely volley against Charlton and the whole team celebrated with him. He was that popular. Was, like so many, a top pro coming into the game before the big money really kicked in. Today, a Mick Stockwell from the early '90s would be highly sought-after.
Midfield: JIM MAGILTON
Signing Jim was one of the most exciting signings for me as a Town fan.
When his loan became permanent, it was wonderful. There were times he would single-handedly get us over the line, like the Bolton semi-final victory. He just set the bar so high. Probably wound up his team-mates a bit, I'm sure, but because he set such high standards for himself and others around him. Our level elevated with him in the side.
Midfield: MATT HOLLAND
If you wanted someone to set an example in terms of hard work, attitude, leadership and for being a quality footballer, then Matt's your man.
Sometimes we forget he played in a World Cup finals, scored in it and had a really good career after us with Charlton. But he was Mr Ipswich, Captain Fantastic, a really nice guy as well. I'm sure he still calls Ipswich 'his team'. A real big part of Ipswich history and what a great signing he proved to be.
Right-wing: KIERON DYER
Inevitable he was going to leave when he did, another player who tried to drag us over the line single-handedly.
In my favourite XI because he could play anywhere across the front line. He preferred to play centrally, but could play out wide with his tremendous pace. Another Mr Ipswich, and in my opinion the greatest product of our youth academy. Scored a wonderful goal against Stockport, when he ran the whole length of the pitch and dinked the 'keeper. Scored with a broken leg against Watford. Total quality footballer.
Striker: MARCUS STEWART
I was a big fan of Stewart's when he was at Huddersfield.
So, for me, this was a rare instance as an Ipswich fan where we signed a player from one of our rivals who was at the peak of his power. His signing totally shocked everyone, especially Huddersfield, who duly fell down the table. Marcus was the best forward in Division One at the time. Scored at Wembley and then that season in the Premier League we all know about. Totally, set the Premier League alight.
Left-wing: MARTIJN REUSER
A really good impact player.
I always remember the Bradford game where we were one-down and Reuser comes on as a substitute and gets two and the game flips on its head. And that was the type of player he was. I remember him trying to lob the 'keeper against Southampton from a free-kick. That set-piece danger again. Maybe a tad inconsistent, but for entertainment value and that sort of 'I'm going to try that and if it comes off', attitude, he was great.
Substitutes: Jonathan Walters, Darren Bent, Chris Kiwomya, Tommy Miller, John Wark, Titus Bramble, Ian Westlake, Richard Wright.
Manager: GEORGE BURLEY
The three years leading up to, and then including the 2000/01 season, have been the best times for me watching Ipswich Town. And George was the manager.
And the coach who would probably bring the best out of my favourite XI, which is a bit of an attacking team. A no-brainer for me. I did think about Kieran McKenna, but he's got a bit still to do, but I'm really hopeful he will leave a real legacy at this club, as George did.
Also in the series of, My Favourite Ipswich Town XI...