Gallery: Town's team of the decade

IT'S been a downward spiralling decade for Ipswich Town - coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb.

Elvin King

IT'S been a downward spiralling decade for Ipswich Town - coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb.

From fifth place in the Premier League in 2001 through the fright of administration to the nightmare prospect of relegation to League One this campaign.

The picture has become brighter in recent weeks but the curtain comes down on the 'Noughties' with the Blues having made their worst ever start to a season and having been in their lowest position for over 50 years.

We have witnessed George Burley taking the club into the top flight and back into Europe, Joe Royle doing amazingly well in an increasingly hazardous financial situation to lead the team to two Championship play-offs, Jim Magilton taking time to learn his trade and Roy Keane proving that being a great player is no guarantee of becoming a great manager.

But what of the players who have pulled on a Town shirt over the past 10 years?

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There have been some good, some very good and some not so good.

ELVIN KING looks at the team he would select as the Ipswich side of the decade (in a 4-4-2 formation).


RICHARD WRIGHT: He hasn't fulfilled his potential with far too much time spent on the bench at Arsenal, Everton and West Ham, but in 2000 and 2001 he was the rock on which Town's success was based. He came back in the summer of 2008 and after a sticky start deserved to win the player of the year accolade last season. IN THE RUNNING: Kelvin Davis pushed him somewhat while Neal Alexander enjoyed a near faultless four months and Asmir Begovic a similar one month period.

FABIAN WILNIS: Graced the first team for most of the decade and became a big fans' favourite. Rarely seemed to have a poor game and his obviously enthusiasm shone through after being taken from a minor role in Dutch football to help take the Blues into Europe. Had his problems and spent times out of the side, but generally a reliable and convincing right back. IN THE RUNNING: David Wright and Chris Makin who both generally can/could be relied on for solid performances.

JASON DE VOS: Not everybody's cup of tea as a lack of genuine pace could let him down. But he has been hard to replace and his defensive abilities were matched by his aptitude for leadership on and off the field. Had a side build round him that almost won promotion to the top flight. IN THE RUNNING: Tony Mowbray helped Town reach and initially do well in the Premiership, and John McGreal was outstanding for a few years.

MARK VENUS: Came from Wolverhampton without too much expected of him, but turned into a pivotal member of George Burley's best X1 adding a perfect central defensive balance with Mowbray or McGreal. Scored Town's first goal back in the top level in August 2000. IN THE RUNNING: Titus Bramble, came through the academy to earn himself a regular place and Gareth McAuley is now expanding into a player of substance.

HERMANN HREIDARSSON: The ice-cool Icelandic international never knew when he was beaten and his extravagant devotion to the cause was summed up by his headlong dive into the north stand after he thought he had scored. A strong player who did exceptional well for a while. IN THE RUNNING: Jamie Clapham never let the side down while Matt Richards deserves a mention even though his latter days were spent in obscurity. He held the left back role for over 100 games including helping in winning play-off places.

DARREN AMBROSE: Made a big impact when he came into the side before being sold to help pay off a few debts for �1million to Newcastle United. He would have made a big difference if allowed to stay although his return on loan last season was not the success that had been anticipated. IN THE RUNNING: Jon Walters' consistent form cannot be discounted while Jermaine Wright enjoyed a long period of midfield domination.

MATT HOLLAND: A good bet to be Town player of the decade for his long run of unbroken appearances, his steady form and his overall leadership of the dressing room. One of Burley's best signings Holland went on to earn a regular Republic of Ireland place. IN THE RUNNING: Grant Leadbitter, who has class written all over him and Sixto Peralta who had a brief but impressive time at Portman Road.

JIM MAGILTON: He has to be included having made such a big impression on the field and then taking over the captaincy from Holland. Played his best football with the Blues and was so pleased to get the chance to manage the club. That didn't work out for differing reasons, but he was a magical player. IN THE RUNNING: Owen Garvan; the fact he could link with Magilton as a 17-year-old showed his pedigree while David Norris has done enough to suggest there is plenty left in his tank.


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