Ivan rejects all others to join Town

NO bull, it took Iván Campo just 15 minutes to decide his next club after Real Madrid and Bolton would be Ipswich Town and not join David Beckham in America.

Derek Davis

NO bull, it took Iván Campo just 15 minutes to decide his next club after Real Madrid and Bolton would be Ipswich Town and not join David Beckham in America.

Campo, or Iván Campo Ramos to give him his full name, rejected the opportunity to join a number of other clubs, including MLS club the New York Red Bulls, Real Sociedad, and other sides in England.

The Spanish star had no hesitation in accepting the Blues offer after being shown round Portman Road last Tuesday following the revelation that he was in talks with Town after watching them lose 5-3 against West Ham in friendly on the Monday night.Campo last night told us: “I had the chance to join other clubs in New York, Spain and in England, but I loved this place straight away. It felt right. I looked around and was hugely impressed and knew this was a club that should be in the Premier League. I talked with Jim and within 15 minutes I agreed to come here.

“Jim is a very passionate man and I want the challenge of helping Ipswich Town reach the Premier League. We have a big challenge to get into the Premier League, but I welcome that.”

The 34-year-old completed the move last night following a medical but Blues fans will have to wait until at least Saturday at Burnley, or even Wolves at home the following week before seeing Campo in action.

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Not only is he not fit after going the whole close season with playing, or training that much, the two-year deal was not signed in time to make the lunchtime deadline for him to be eligible to play in tonight's League Cup match against Leyton Orient.

So first, Campo will face the challenge of a fitness regime under coach Simon Thadani who will start putting him through his paces this morning. Campo said: “I will be training for two or three weeks and then hope to play.”

Where he plays is another conundrum for manager Jim Magilton who could use him as a centre half, where he played for real Madrid, or as a defensive holding midfielder where he played 173 games for Bolton in the Premiership.

Campo said: “I don't mind. I play where the manager tells me.”

Magilton was equally enigmatic and said: “He will play where he is most needed. He won a Champions' League medal with Real Madrid playing centre half, so I think he could handle playing there in the Championship.

“We lost vast experience in Jason fan and Sylvain and there is no substitute for experience. If you look around the dressing room we still lack a presence and I'm sure Ivan will provide that. The proof will be in the pudding but I feel we have secured a very good player who will do a good job for us.”

Born in San Sebastian, Campo started his career at Deportiva Alaves, before moving to Valencia in 1995.

After a loan spell with Real Valladolid he joined Real Mallorca in 1997 but the year after went to Real Madrid and helped them to a Champions' League title in 2000.

Sam Allardyce took him to Bolton where he played for six years before new boss Gary Megson decided to release him at the end of last season.

Campo has also made four international appearances for Spain and was a member of the 1998 World Cup squad in France.

The distinctive curly-haired player has also appeared in a soft drink advert, though not one that gives you wings, but for a fruit juice called Trina, in his native Spain.

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